Islamic Law Courses

Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Spring 2020
Course Number: ISLAMCIV 218
Course Title: Islamic Institutions: Middle East & Beyond: Modern Transformations &Debates (19th-21st Centuries)
Instructor: Malika Zeghal
This graduate seminar explores the transformation of Islamic institutions in the modern period, such as religious endowments (Awqaf), sharia courts, and Islamic education. We will engage with the historiography of these institutions and with primary sources in Arabic that will help us open new paths for research.
Course Number: ISLAMCIV 110
Course Title: Major Works of Islamic Civilizations
Instructor: Khaled El-Rouayheb
This course offers a reading of a number of major works of Islamic Civilization, for example from the universal chronicle of al-Tabari (d. 923), the forty hadith of al-Nawawi (d. 1277), a work on the lives of the Shi’i Imams by al-Shaykh al-Mufid (d. 1044), the autobiography of al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the Gulistan by Sa’di (d. 1291), the famous Introduction to History by Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), a manual on Sufism by Aisha al-Ba’uniyya (d. 1516), and the description of Paris by al-Tahtawi (d. 1873). The course aims to give students an exposure to different, co-existing cultural traditions within Islamic civilization, including chronicles and hagiographies, Islamic creeds, Sufism, belles-lettres, popular folktales and travelogues. Jointly Offered with: Harvard Divinity School as HDS 3064
Course Number: ISLAMCIV 300
Course Title: Reading and Research in Islamic Civilizations
Instructor: Khaled El-Rouayheb
 
Course Number: ISLAMCIV 146
Course Title: Al-Ghazali’s Thought and Legacy
Instructor: Mariam Sheibani
Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111) is known as “The Proof of Islam” and is widely considered to be the most influential philosopher, theologian, and mystic in Sunni Islam. This course will serve as an inquiry into al-Ghazālī’s synthetic understanding and approach to Islam and its legal, theological, cosmological, ethical, spiritual, political, sociological, and metaphysical dimensions. To this end, we will study al-Ghazālī’s writings focusing on the following areas: epistemology, scriptural hermeneutics, classification of knowledge, the Divine names and attributes, prophetology, the Qurʾān, religious psychology, political and social dimensions of religion and religious practice, and heresiography. The course teaches a method of close textual reading, and proposes an interpretation of al-Ghazālī’s methods that spans his corpus and his diverse writings across disciplines. Additionally, the course will study the reception al-Ghazālī and his works in the later Islamic tradition. Jointly offered with: Harvard Divinity School as HDS 3169.
Course Number: HAA 228N
Course Title: Islamic Ornament: Aesthetics of Abstraction and Theories of Perception
Instructor: Gulru Necipoglu-Kafadar
Critically explores the historiography and interpretations of Islamic ornament. Themes include ornamentality and abstraction, theories of perception, orientalist discourses on the so-called “arabesque,” resonances of non-figural abstraction with modernism and postmodern aesthetics.
Course Number: RELIGION 1290
Course Title: Archaeology and History of Israel/Palestine from the Second Temple to the Early Islamic Period
Instructor: Giovanni Bazzana
The course will focus on the history of Israel/Palestine in the span of time of almost a millennium that witnessed the emergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Specific attention will be devoted to the changing landscape of the region and, by way of case studies, to archaeological excavations as evidence for cultural, religious, and socio-economic trajectories. The study of history and archaeology will be connected with the current religious and political situation of the region in order to highlight the ways in which the memory of the past shapes the present and is in turn shaped by present ideological concerns. Jointly Offered with: Harvard Divinity School as HDS 1834
Course Number: ARABIC 300
Course Title: Reading and Research in Arabic Language and Civilization
Instructor: Khaled El-Rouayheb
 
Course Number: ARABIC 249R
Course Title: Arabic Philosophical Texts: Seminar
Instructor: Khaled El-Rouayheb
Readings on selected topics in Islamic philosophy.
Course Number: RELIGION 2549
Course Title: Women, Religion, and the Problem of Historical Agency
Instructor: Catherine Brekus
This course examines recent scholarship on women in American religious history, focusing particularly on questions of narration, agency and power. We will ask several interrelated questions: How have historians integrated women into narratives of American religious history? Whose stories have they highlighted, and why? How have they conceptualized women as historical agents? We will read major interpretive works as well as theoretical accounts of gender, social structure, and power. Readings will explore the diversity of religious traditions in America, including Puritanism, Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, African-American Christianity, evangelicalism, and Islam. Jointly Offered with: Harvard Divinity School as HDS 2186
Course Number: MUSIC 194R
Course Title: Special Topics: Proseminar
Instructor: Richard Wolf
Music, Mobility and Religious Experience in Central Asia. In this course we ask how music in Central Asia shapes and is shaped by the movement of people, objects and ideas across political, geographic and cultural boundaries.  Populations in Central Asia have been variously described as nomadic or sedentary and their religion, art, and lifeways explained in terms of these categories.  How are the the definitions of nomadism and sedentarism reinforced or challenged by the musical traditions that have emerged in the region?  What is the status of musical experience in relation to (“nomadic”) shamanism and (“sedentary”) Islam given that experiences of music are often cast in religious or spiritual terms?  Geographically the course will focus on parts of what was the Soviet Union (Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), bordering parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as Xinjiang, China.  This year course will feature an international range of visiting scholars from Central Asia and Europe, representing the fields of music, anthropology and international relations.  A seminar in format, the course will involve reading, listening to recordings, writing, and active discussion.  Ability to read music is helpful but not required.  Undergraduates and graduate students from all fields are welcome.
Course Number: EXPOS 20 202 & 203
Course Title: Expository Writing 20
Instructor: Jacob Betz
The United States is arguably the most religiously diverse nation in the world. Americans possess a dizzying array of religious beliefs and behavior. And despite predictions to the contrary, levels of devout religious belief remain high, evidenced by recent controversies over a proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, as well as Supreme Court rulings on female access to contraception and same-sex marriage. How do people—including nonbelievers—experience this religious multiplicity? How are these vast religious differences negotiated socially, culturally, politically, and legally? Moving beyond theology, this course will explore the broad concept of lived religion in the United States. Through readings in fiction, law, history, and sociology, we’ll tackle these fundamental issues.
Course Number: MODMDEST 100
Course Title: The Modern Middle East, Real and Imagined: An Introduction
Instructor: Malika Zeghal
An introduction to Middle Eastern Studies focusing on the modern period (19th and 20th centuries). Lectures will be broadly sequenced according to historical chronology but will be thematically organized. They will provide some historical context for each topic examined, as well as present specific examples through primary sources, visual sources, and numerical data when relevant. This course is designed to give students an overall good grasp of the history of the modern Middle East and of some of the major themes in modern Middle Eastern Studies. Students will critically engage with some of the most important topics that resonate in that area of the world. We will cover topics such as reformism, economic development, colonialism and nationalism, authoritarianism and democratization, sectarianism, culture, gender, literature and the arts, as well as the role of religion in politics. Most of these topics, in one way or another, will speak to the construction of nation-states in the Middle East and to the challenges they have been confronting. This is not a survey course. In particular, it will not be exhaustive in its coverage of the region in space or time, and in its coverage of topics. Students in search of a specific topic, country, or period are strongly encouraged to take a look at the syllabus prior to enrolling to make sure their specific interests will be covered. Assigned readings will consist of primary and secondary sources. Students will be exposed to first-hand accounts by protagonists in the history of the Middle East (primary sources) as well as to the diversity of approaches that the scholarly literature (secondary sources) has taken across disciplines, e.g. anthropological studies, quantitative analysis, philology and textual studies. The larger aim of the course is to develop students’ critical thinking in dealing with the history, cultures, politics, and political economies of the contemporary Middle East.
Course Number: GENED 1008
Course Title: Power and Identity in the Middle East
Instructor: Melani Cammett
Why are some countries governed democratically while dictators seem to have a firm grasp on power in others? Why do people threaten and even kill each other in the name of ethnicity or religion in some places and times but not others? This course will give you a chance to explore these questions in the context of the Middle East, a region that has been widely perceived as a bastion of authoritarianism and a hotbed of ethnic and religious politics and political violence. In considering key questions and debates about politics, governance, and identity in the Middle East, you will develop a critical understanding of politics in the region, while simultaneously gaining the social-scientific vocabularies necessary to question the assumptions that are often made about Middle Eastern politics and people and, more generally, about politics in other contexts. In asking why and how the Arab Spring was possible, and how authoritarian governance has managed to persist following those uprisings, you will have an opportunity to engage some of the most urgent social-political questions of our time. You will leave this course with a clearer understanding of how dictators and militaries maintain their hold on power and how identity politics and conflict are constructed and change over time.
Course Number: MODMDEST 310
Course Title: Reading and Research in the Modern Middle East
Instructor: Malika Zeghal
 
Course Number: NEC 101
Course Title: Historical Background to the Contemporary Middle East: Religion, Literature, and Politics
Instructor: Gojko Barjamovic
What defines the Middle East? What long-term historical and cultural developments can we trace in the region? How do these affect contemporary global order and policy? This team-taught course in the NELCdepartment will address these three fundamental questions of great present relevance by introducing students to the ancient and modern peoples, languages, cultures, and societies of Western Asia and North Africa. The study of this diverse region is uniquely aided by a deep-time perspective afforded by thousands of years of vibrant art, writing and cultural artefacts. Relying on the classic expertise integral to area studies, the course brings together faculty from a variety of disciplines – from history and archaeology to literature and philology, and from sociology and economy to the political sciences – in a common endeavour to explore the rich cultural complex of the region through four key topics: history, religion, literature and politics.
Course Number: MES 299B
Course Title: Master’s Thesis- Middle Eastern Studies
Instructor: Cemal Kafadar
Supervised reading, research and writing of master’s thesis. Generally taken by master’s students in the final semester of the AM program in Regional Studies – Middle East.
Course Number: MUSIC 190R
Course Title: Topics in World Music: Proseminar
Instructor: Richard Wolf
Music in the Middle East. Music in the Middle East offers an introduction to the genres, contexts, and principles of musical creativity predominant in the Arab world. Focus will settle on Egypt and the Levant as well as the Arabian Gulf and Peninsula, but other regions will be explored as well. Key social issues will include gender, heritage, nationalism and modernity, devotional expression, and the role of dance.
Course Number: GOV 94CT
Course Title: The Governance and International Politics of World Regions
Instructor: Timothy Colton
This class investigates patterns of interaction, integration, and identity construction in contemporary world regions; political, economic, and cultural explanations for why outcomes vary across regions; and regions as competitive arenas and proving grounds for established and rising powers. In addition to general and theoretical questions, the course will consider the experience of specific regions, including Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, South America, the Caribbean, and post-Soviet Eurasia
Course Number: COMPLIT 277
Course Title: Literature, Diaspora, and Global Trauma
Instructor: Karen Thornber
This course examines a diverse range of creative and critical discourses on trauma and the global African; East, South, Southeast, and West Asian (Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese); and Middle Eastern (Jewish, Palestinian, Lebanese); as well as Latin American diasporas. We focus on the connections among diasporas, displacement, migration, and trauma, and on the relationships of these phenomena and constructions and understandings of artistic and cultural identities, ethnicity/race, gender/sexuality, inequality, disease/illness/health/disability, religion, postcolonialism, transculturation (including translation), multilingualism, globalization and global history, world literature, and global literatures.
Course Number: MODMDEST 315
Course Title: Reading al-Manar in the Interwar Period
Instructor: Malika Zeghal
Meeting approximately every other week, students will establish digital maps and databases based on al-Manar and other periodicals in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt in the Inter War Period. Enrollment only by instructor’s permission.
Course Number: HIST 2009
Course Title: Oil and the Arabian Peninsula: Culture, Power, History: Seminar
Instructor: Rosie Bsheer
The principal analytical focus in this seminar will be the role of oil in shaping the cultural, social, political, and economic relations of the Arabian Peninsula. This region has long been at the center of global circulations of commodities, capital, military power, and cultural knowledge. Popular and academic representations, however, tend to render the Arabian Peninsula as insular, homogenous, and historically static. Rather than isolate the Arabian Peninsula from these broader connections, this course uses its focus on oil to examine the complex global linkages – through financial and resource flows, regulatory bodies, political institutions, labor markets, kinship networks, and religious circuits – that shape the region.
Course Number: ARABIC 243DR
Course Title: Advanced Readings in Classical Arabic Bridge IV: Religious Sciences
Instructor: Shady Nasser
Harvard Divinity School, Spring 2020
Course Number: HDS 3169
Course Title: Al-Ghazali’s Thought and Legacy
Instructor:Mariam Sheibani
Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111) is known as “The Proof of Islam” and is widely considered to be the most influential philosopher, theologian, and mystic in Sunni Islam. This course will serve as an inquiry into al-Ghazālī’s synthetic understanding and approach to Islam and its legal, theological, cosmological, ethical, spiritual, political, sociological, and metaphysical dimensions. To this end, we will study al-Ghazālī’s writings focusing on the following areas: epistemology, scriptural hermeneutics, classification of knowledge, the Divine names and attributes, prophetology, the Qurʾān, religious psychology, political and social dimensions of religion and religious practice, and heresiography. The course teaches a method of close textual reading, and proposes an interpretation of al-Ghazālī’s methods that spans his corpus and his diverse writings across disciplines. Additionally, the course will study the reception al-Ghazālī and his works in the later Islamic tradition. Jointly offered with: Faculty of Arts & Sciences as ISLAMCIV 110.
Course Number: HDS 3064
Course Title: Major Works of Islamic Civilizations
Instructor: Khaled El-Rouayheb
This course offers a reading of a number of major works of Islamic Civilization, for example from the universal chronicle of al-Tabari (d. 923), the forty hadith of al-Nawawi (d. 1277), a work on the lives of the Shi’i Imams by al-Shaykh al-Mufid (d. 1044), the autobiography of al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the Gulistan by Sa’di (d. 1291), the famous Introduction to History by Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), a manual on Sufism by Aisha al-Ba’uniyya (d. 1516), and the description of Paris by al-Tahtawi (d. 1873). The course aims to give students an exposure to different, co-existing cultural traditions within Islamic civilization, including chronicles and hagiographies, Islamic creeds, Sufism, belles-lettres, popular folktales and travelogues. 
Course Number: HDS 3172
Course Title: Spiritual Cultivation in Islam Part II: The Modern Era
Instructor: Khalil Abdur-Rashid
This course, as part of the new HDS Initiative on Islamic Spiritual Life and Service, is intended for students preparing for vocation in a variety of settings in which they will provide Islamically-inspired service and support. The course will acquaint students with Islamic pedagogy and practice on spiritual cultivation, highlighting the foundational importance of spiritual-ethical virtues in Islamic piety and the lifelong quest for nearness to and knowledge of God.
Course Number: HDS 1834
Course Title: Archaeology and History of Israel/Palestine from the Second Temple to the Early Islamic Period
Instructor:Giovanni Bazzana
The course will focus on the history of Israel/Palestine in the span of time of almost a millennium that witnessed the emergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Specific attention will be devoted to the changing landscape of the region and, by way of case studies, to archaeological excavations as evidence for cultural, religious, and socio-economic trajectories. The study of history and archaeology will be connected with the current religious and political situation of the region in order to highlight the ways in which the memory of the past shapes the present and is in turn shaped by present ideological concerns. Jointly Offered with: Faculty of Arts & Sciences as RELIGION 1290
Course Number: HDS 2186
Course Title: Women, Religion, and the Problem of Historical Agency
Instructor: Catherine Brekus
This course examines recent scholarship on women in American religious history, focusing particularly on questions of narration, agency and power. We will ask several interrelated questions: How have historians integrated women into narratives of American religious history? Whose stories have they highlighted, and why? How have they conceptualized women as historical agents? We will read major interpretive works as well as theoretical accounts of gender, social structure, and power. Readings will explore the diversity of religious traditions in America, including Puritanism, Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, African-American Christianity, evangelicalism, and Islam. Jointly Offered with: Faculty of Arts & Sciences as RELIGION 2549
Course Number: HIST-LIT 90 EB
Course Title: Gender and Empire in the Modern Mediterranean
Instructor: John Boonstra
Questions of empire are fundamentally intertwined with questions of gender. This course will focus on the imperial and intercultural contact zones of the Mediterranean—at once connecting and dividing Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa—from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. With an interest both in men’s and women’s experiences and in representations of masculinity and femininity, our inquiry will also straddle the divide between colonizer and colonized. Readings will include both primary and secondary sources, ranging from images, novels, and films to memoirs, testimonials, and government documents, and from Edward Said and Frantz Fanon to Assia Djebar and Tahar Ben Jelloun. Students will learn to assess how modern imperial encounters were mediated by gendered logics of power; how these overlapped with dynamics of race, class, and nation; and how the Mediterranean region itself gave rise to different understandings of gender and empire.
Harvard Kennedy School, Spring 2020
Course Number: DPI 397
Course Title: Islam in the American Public Sphere: A Case Study for Strategic Diversity Leadership
Instructor:Khalil Abdur-Rashid
This course will examine Islam and the American Muslim community as a case study which reveals the challenges and perspectives emerging from the encounter of a global faith community in America with the intersection of race, religion, and politics in America. Islam and being Muslim has been treated in America in religious, racial and political tones. However, because the nature of race has been and continues to be central to the American political project, the religious impact of racial identities is too often overlooked.
Course Number:IGA 224 
Course Title: Decision Making in Recent Crises
Instructor:Meghan O’Sullivan
This course uses some of the greatest contemporary challenges in American foreign policy to explore the broader issue of how and why important foreign policy decisions are made. Employing a decision making framework developed in class, students will examine more than a dozen specific, historic decisions made in regard to the Middle East over the last fifteen years. There is a special emphasis on Iraq, given the centrality of that case to shaping policymakers thinking about intervention in the Middle East more broadly. This case format allows students not only to gain knowledge about the recent past, but also to gain insight – through positive and negative examples – into how policymakers can make the best decisions in the face of imperfect information and various constraints. The course enables students to extract lessons from recent experiences which are relevant for current and future interventions and nation-building efforts by the United States or other powers. Students will emerge from the course not only with substantive knowledge about the Middle East, but equipped with analytical tools to understand and evaluate foreign policy decision making more generally.
Course Number: DPI 442M
Course Title: Classroom-in-the-Field: Leadership and Social Transformation in the Arab World
Instructor: Tarek Masoud
How can societies move from poverty to prosperity? How can weak, stagnant, and dependent countries become strong, innovative, and influential? Is it simply a matter of adopting institutions and practices employed by developed societies? Or is a deeper transformation of social, cultural, and even religious norms required? What is the role of leadership in effecting (or inhibiting) what needs to be done for states and their peoples to maximize their potentials? This for-credit module explores these questions in one of the world’s most dynamic regions: the Arab Middle East.
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Spring 2020
Course Number: EDU T017
Course Title: Alternative Modes of Education: Non-European, Radical and Utopian
Instructor: Houman Harouni
The purpose of this course is to question prevailing, relatively uniform and quite limiting forms of education in light of approaches that escape or overcome these forms. A mode of education is more than mere content and pedagogy. It refers to ways of knowing, forms of life, conceptions of power, value systems, and structuring goals that ultimately underlie a people’s understanding of what education is and does. Therefore, this course concerns more than a simple familiarity with alternative models of learning—rather, the participants will engage in an exploration of their current attitudes toward education and work to create alternate visions that challenge existing assumptions. In this process we will draw on a wide variety of sources, including, but not limited to, Native American ways of knowing, the African and African American traditions, Indian and Chinese philosophies, the Sufi tradition in Islam and, last but not least, those radical and critical visions of education that have come to existence in various corners of the modern world. The question of what is or is not European, radical or utopian is central to this work. Course pedagogy reflects the questions and approaches that we engage: it places the participants within, rather than beside, the modes we are to study, and it provides an experiential context for rigorous critique of these modes. The ultimate aim of the course is to enable participants to create alternative approaches to those aspects of education that most concern them.
MIT, spring 2020
Course Number: MIT 4 .617
Course Title: Topics in Islamic Urban History: What is an Islamic City? The Case of Cairo
Instructor: Nasser O. Rabbat
Seminar on selected topics from the history of Islamic urbanism. Examines patterns of settlement, urbanization, development, and architectural production in various places and periods, ranging from the formative period in the 7th century to the new cities emerging today. Discusses the leading factors in shaping and transforming urban forms, design imperatives, cultural and economic structures, and social and civic attitudes. Critically analyzes the body of literature on Islamic urbanism. Research paper required.
Course Number: MIT 21H.134 & 14.7
Course Title: Modern Iran: Medieval Economic History in Comparative Perspective
Instructor: Anne E.C. McCants
Surveys the conditions of material life and changing social and economic relations in medieval Europe using the comparative context of contemporary Islamic, Chinese, and Japanese experiences. Covers the emergence and decline of feudal institutions, the transformation of peasant agriculture, living standards and the course of epidemic disease, and the ebb and flow of long-distance trade across the Eurasian system. Particular emphasis placed on the study of those factors, both institutional and technological, which contributed to the emergence of capitalist organization and economic growth in western Europe in contrast to the trajectories followed by the other major medieval economies.
Course Number: MIT 3.993
Course Title: Archaeology of the Middle East
Instructor: Max D. Price
Explores the long history of the Middle East and its role as an enduring center of civilization and human thought. Beginning over 100,000 years ago and ending up in the present day, tackles major issues in the human career through examination of archaeological and written materials. Students track the course of human development in the Middle East, from hunting and gathering to cities and empires.
Course Number: MIT 21H.161
Course Title: The Modern Middle East
Instructor:Pouya Alimagham
Surveys the history of the Middle East, from the end of the 19th century to the present. Examines major political, social, intellectual and cultural issues and practices. Focuses on important events, movements, and ideas that prevailed during the last century and affect its current realities.
Course Number: MIT 17.565
Course Title: Israel: History, Politics, Culture, and Identity
Instructor: Nahum Karlinsky
Examines Israeli identity using a broad array of materials, including popular music, film, documentaries and art, in addition to academic historical writings. Topics include Israel’s political system and society, ethnic relations, settlement projects, and the Arab minorities in the Jewish state. Students also discuss whether there is a unique Israeli culture and the struggle for Israel’s identity.
Tufts University – Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Spring 2020
Course Number:DHP P261
Course Title: Democratization in the Middle East: Theory and Practice
Instructor: Elizabeth H. Prodromou
This course explores foundational theoretical, methodological, and operational questions relevant to understanding democratization in the Middle East. How do we specify regime types; how do we explain the pervasiveness of authoritarian resilience and hybrid regimes, versus democratic, regimes, in the region? How do historical conditions of state-formation and patterns of secular and religious nation-building shape democratization trajectories in the region? How does geopolitics affect democratization in the Middle East? Using comparative cases of Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey, and combining seminar-style presentations with visits by democratization policymakers from inside/outside the region, the course gives students a robust introduction to scholar-practitioner issues at the cutting edge of democratization in the Middle East.
Course Number: DHP P266M
Course Title: The Islamic World: Political Economy and Business Context
Instructor: Ibrahim Warde
This course aims to explain those aspects of the Islamic world—history, politics, economics, society, legal systems, business practices—that are necessary to conduct business or political negotiations in a number of countries. The course will discuss issues of political economy and business of the Islamic world, with a special focus on Islamic networks, business culture, oil, and issues of globalization and governance. Case studies will focus on specific companies and institutions. From a geographic standpoint, the course will focus primarily on Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf countries, although it will also include countries such as Malaysia and Pakistan. For MIB students, this course is one of the regional course options.
Course Number: EIB B227
Course Title: Islamic Banking and Finance
Instructor: Ibrahim Warde
The course is a comprehensive introduction to Islamic banking and finance. In addition to providing religious and historical background, the course discusses the political and economic context of the creation and evolution of Islamic institutions. The course will explain how Islamic products (murabaha, mudaraba, musharaka, ijara, sukuk, takaful, Islamic mutual funds and derivatives, etc.) work. The final part of the course will discuss Islamic finance in the context of the “war on terror” and the recent global financial meltdown.