- Code MEAS8117
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
- Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies
This course explores the historical, political, social and cultural aspects of the evolution of Islam in Central Asia from the 8th century CE to the present. It investigates the reasons and mechanisms of Islam's expansion in the region as well as its dynamic interactions with local religious traditions and ways of life. Rather than reducing Islam to a homogenous, static, and dogmatic creed, the course analyses diverse Muslim identities and practices across time and space, and how different communities of believers have adapted Islam's common patterns and denominators to survive in the frequently challenging environment.
The course applies historical, anthropological, and political science perspectives to provide insights into Islam's common framework, and the complexity and fluidity of Central Asian religious identities within this framework. By the end of the semester, students should be able to appreciate how sixty million Muslims in Central Asia follow their faith in terms of ritual, intellectual discourse, politics, and daily life.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- acquire expertise in the doctrines, rituals, customs, and artistic representations of diverse Muslim communities in Central Asia;
- discern common patterns and localised variants within the political, social, and legal framework of Islam;
- develop a critical and nuanced view of religion at loggerheads with the Orientalist and essentialist portrayal of Islam as a homogenous, stagnant, and universally threatening entity; and
- present analytical findings on a topic related to Islam in Central Asia in a cogent manner.
- 5,000-word essay (60) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- 3-hour examination (40) [LO 1,2,4]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 24 hours of seminars; and b) 106 hours of online activities, practice exercises, readings and assessment, over 12 weeks.
Requisite and Incompatibility
The course uses an electronic reading brick.
Lyudmila Polonskaya and Alexei Malashenko, Islam in Central Asia. Reading: Ithaca Press, 1994.
Maria Elisabeth Louw, Everyday Islam in post-Soviet Central Asia. London; New York: Routledge, 2007.
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- 6 units
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