Universität Wien FIND
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010071 SE Modern Islam: Religious Reformism on Society and Politics (2020S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 1 - Katholische Theologie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 06.03. 16:45 - 20:00 Seminarraum 5 (Kath) Schenkenstraße 1.OG
Friday 13.03. 16:45 - 20:00 Seminarraum 5 (Kath) Schenkenstraße 1.OG
Friday 20.03. 16:45 - 20:00 Seminarraum 5 (Kath) Schenkenstraße 1.OG
Friday 27.03. 16:45 - 20:00 Seminarraum 5 (Kath) Schenkenstraße 1.OG
Friday 03.04. 16:45 - 20:00 Seminarraum 5 (Kath) Schenkenstraße 1.OG
Friday 24.04. 16:45 - 20:00 Seminarraum 5 (Kath) Schenkenstraße 1.OG
Friday 08.05. 16:45 - 20:00 Seminarraum 5 (Kath) Schenkenstraße 1.OG


Aims, contents and method of the course

Aims, contents and method of the course
This course will introduce students to the study of contemporary Islamic thinking by analysing the most salient lines of Islamic thought in modern times. We will explore key areas of debate and discussion related to Islam and the religious reform it has undergone when confronted with modernity.

In covering pivotal aspects of contemporary Islamic thought, the course scrutinises, values and discourses regarding the role of Islam in society, with the aim of giving students the academic tools needed to understand how Muslims have related to Islam when facing modern dilemmas. Of particular interest to this course is Muslims’ relationship to Islam’s scriptures and issues of Quranic interpretation. We will also discuss the political and social implications of understanding Islam from a wide variety of viewpoints (from the more liberal to the socially conservative).

Modern religious ways of understanding sharia, jihad, democracy, and state-citizens relations will be assessed, as well as religious conceptualisations on the role and status of women and non-Muslims in society. Students will be introduced to key Muslim thinkers and to the most influential ideological trends.

A selection of the topics covered in the course:

Reformism in Islam – what is it, how and why it happened?
The origins of reform, colonialism and the first anti-Western movements
Postcolonial Muslim identities
Political Islam
Islam and Democracy
Islam and Human Rights
The status of religious minorities in Islam
Islamic Feminism
Islam and Science

Assessment and permitted materials

Assessment and permitted materials

One written exam (50%); (oral) presentation (30%); interaction (20%). The language of the course is English.

Students will be provided with supporting materials for writing the essays during the course. Part of the research, however, will have to be independently conducted.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Minimum requirements

No prior knowledge of Islam or of Muslim politics and societies is required.

Examination topics

Examination topics

The topics of the exams will be covered during the lectures and presentations.

Reading list

Reading list

The following list is an orientation of the type of materials we will employ in the course. Precise reading materials will be provided on a weekly basis.

Abu-Rabi, Ibrahim, ed. The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Brown, L. Carl. Religion and state: The Muslim approach to politics. Columbia University Press, 2001.

Cesari, Jocelyne. The awakening of Muslim democracy: Religion, modernity, and the state. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Esposito, John L., and Emad El-Din Shahin, eds. The Oxford handbook of Islam and politics. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Zaman, Muhammad Qasim. Modern Islamic thought in a radical age: Religious authority and internal criticism. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Association in the course directory

066 800 M2, M15, M18; A 033 195 (BRP 17rwb), A 033 195 BRP 14rwb (b)

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:19