Islamic Law Courses

Harvard Law School, Fall 2019
Course Number: HLS 2538
Course Title: Introduction to Islamic Law
Instructor: Intisar Rabb 
This course will survey core concepts of Islamic law (sharia) in historical and comparative modern contexts. Popular perceptions of this legal system imagine it to be a static code from 7th-century Arabia. Islamic law is in fact a dynamic legal tradition, with a rich history that reveals processes of “legislation” and interpretation analogous to our own. It also developed substantive rulings and out of institutional structures quite different from our own. Those laws and structures evolved over time, with notable changes accompanying the breakup of the Islamic empire in the 10th and 12th centuries, colonial interventions in the 18th and 19th centuries, and independence movements in the 20th and 21st centuries. How and why did Muslim jurists, judges, and political leaders define or operate within the grammar of Islamic law? Did the law impose religious-moral values or reflect cultural and socially constructed ones? What explains the recent appeal of sharia in the last few decades and how might we understand Islamic law in our times? This course will equip students with tools to examine these questions in the course of conversations about five core subjects: Islamic legal theory, family law, criminal law, property and contract law, and constitutional law. We will relate each to the central-most question in law of any system today, through focus on Islamic law as a compelling subject of legal history and comparative law with a widespread contemporary reach: how and why do shifts in institutional structures, moral values, and the legal process affect law? Students may opt for a long paper or four short papers for an additional credit.* Students need not have prior knowledge of Islamic law.
Course Number: HLS 2688
Course Title: Digital Islamic Law Lab: Online Analysis of Islamic Legislation and Interpretation
Instructor: Intisar Rabb 
This course provides an opportunity for students interested in assessing the way Islamic law functions in contemporary and historical contexts to work on discrete research projects in a collaborative, interactive setting. Students will select one or more topics in legislation and interpretation in a Muslim-majority or Muslim-minority country to explore during the semester. Typical research areas may include (but are not limited to) issues of Islamic criminal law, family law, and comparative constitutional law. We will meet six times over the course of the semester, and will schedule tailored library-research sessions and a short tutorial for uploading materials onto an online blog. Students will be evaluated on the basis of four short papers (500-1000 words), to be published as individual posts with accompanying primary sources used on the online portal or blog for – a portal for content and context on Islamic law. The sources and analysis for the site are modeled on an Islamic-law version of WestLaw and SCOTUSblog. Students will have the opportunities to track online debates, engage with leading scholars in the field, and identify new developments and sources for Islamic law related to their chosen research projects.

Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Fall 2019
Course Number: HIST 1700
Course Title:The History of Sub-Saharan Africa to 1860
Instructor: Emmanuel Akyeampong
Survey of sub-Saharan Africa to 1860, with attention to the range of methodologies used in writing early African history, including oral history, archaeology, and anthropology. Will address themes of the impact of climate change on migration and settlement, trade and commerce, state formation, slavery, and the impact of Islam and Christianity on the continent. Will provide a methodological and historiographical framework in which more specific historical processes and events may be placed and understood.
Course Number: General Education 1088
Course Title: The Crusades and the Making of East and West
Instructor: Dimiter Angelov
The Crusades transformed relations between East and West and left an imprint on the world that endures to this day. A series of wars in the later Middle Ages, the Crusades are one of the most significant and deeply symbolic events in human history. Marked by warfare and intense cross-cultural encounter, the era of the Crusades saw the solidification of religious identities across the Mediterranean, the rise of the economic power of the West, and the first mass migration and colonization by Europeans before the Age of Discovery. In this class, we will trace the origins of the crusading movement, the course of the most important crusades, the interactions among different cultures, and the expansion of the Crusades toward new regions and targets before the onset of their long decline in the sixteenth century. The course explores the Crusades both in history and in memory. Special attention is paid to non-Western (Byzantine and Islamic) perspectives and the role of the Crusades for the historical formation of the present-day Middle East. Readings will include primary sources written by Byzantines, westerners, and Arabic speakers, and assignments will culminate in in-class presentations and a research project.
Course Number: Religion 1802
Course Title: Introduction to Islamic Mystical Traditions
Instructor: Ali Asani
This course offers an introductory survey of mystical traditions of Islam, popularly labelled as “Sufism.” It explores the fundamental concepts, practices, and institutions associated with these traditions, their historical development and their influence on the devotional, cultural and social lives of Muslim communities through the centuries. Through case studies drawn from the Middle East, South Asia, West Africa and North America, the course examines ways in which these traditions have developed and promoted alternative perspectives on what it means to be Muslim, challenging in recent times sectarian, legalistic and politicized understandings of Islam such as Wahhabi, Islamism and jihadism. The course assumes no prior knowledge of Islam. Offered jointly with the Divinity School as 3620
Course Number: General Education 1087
Course Title: Multisensory Religion: Rethinking Islam Through the Arts
Instructor: Ali Asani
The course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Islam and the role that religious ideas and institutions play in Muslim communities around the world. Its main concern is to develop an understanding of the manner in which diverse notions of religious and political authority have influenced Muslim societies politically, socially and culturally. Through specific case studies of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, the course considers the role played by ideologies such as jihad, colonialism, nationalism, secularism, and globalization in shaping the ways in which Muslims interpret and practice their faith today. The course briefly considers the contemporary situation of Muslim minorities in Europe and the United States.
Course Number: Religion 1814
Course Title: Muslim Devotional Literatures in South Asia: Qawwalis, Sufiana Kalam (Sufi Poetry) and the Ginans
Instructor: Ali Asani
This course explores traditions of Islamic spirituality in South Asia through the lens of three genres: the qawwali, concerts of mystical poetry; sufiana kalam, Sufi romantic epics and folk poems; and the ginans, hymns of esoteric wisdom recited by the Satpanthi Ismailis. Since these genres represent examples of language, symbols and styles of worship shared across Islamic and non-Islamic denominational boundaries, we will also examine their relationships with other Indic traditions of devotion, particularly those associated with the so-called sant and Hindu bhakti movements. Special emphasis will be given to the impact of contemporary political ideologies, globalization and the revolution in media technology on the form and function of these genres and their relationship with contemporary communities of faith in South Asia and beyond. Offered jointly with the Divinity School as 3375.
Course Number: ISLAMCIV 178
Course Title: Muslim Societies in South Asia: Religion, Culture, and Identity
Instructor: Ali Asani
South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) is home to the largest concentration of Muslims in the world. This course introduces students to a variety of issues that have characterized the development and evolution of South Asian Muslim communities. While the course will briefly survey the historical development of Islamic and Muslim institutions in the region, its central focus will be the formation of identity – as expressed through language, literature, and the arts – among South Asian Muslim communities. The issues that influence these identities will be considered with regard to the constantly evolving religious and political contexts of South Asia. Special attention will be given to recent attempts to redefine Muslim religious identities through reform and revivalist movements as well as state policies of Islamization. We will look at the impact of these policies on issues such as the status of Muslim women, relations between Muslim and non-Muslims and the growth of sectarian tensions between Muslim groups. The course is appropriate for those who wish to acquire a bird’s-eye view of the Islamic tradition in South Asia, as well as those interested in exploring some of the issues confronting Muslim populations in contemporary times. Offered jointly with Divinity School as 3625.
Course Number: Freshman Seminar 37Y
Course Title: Muslim Voices in Contemporary World Literatures
Instructor: Ali Asani
What do Muslims think of acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam, the mixing of religion with politics, the rights of women, the “West”? This seminar investigates the viewpoints of prominent Muslim writers on these and other “hot button” issues as reflected in novels, short stories and poetry from different parts of the world. Explores a range of issues facing Muslim communities in various parts of the world by examining the impact of colonialism, nationalism, globalization and politicization of Islam on the search for a modern Islamic identity. Readings of Muslim authors from the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Europe and America.
Course Number: Islamic Civilizations 300
Course Title: Reading and Research in Islamic Civilizations
Instructor: Ali Asani/ William A. Graham/ Khaled El-Rouayheb/ Baber Johansen/ Ousmane Oumar Kane/ Malika Zeghal
Course Number: Islamic Civilizations 100
Course Title: Supervised Reading and Research in Islamic Studies
Instructor: Ali Asani
A course of supervised research in subjects related to the study of Islam and Muslim societies not treated in regular courses.
Course Number: History of Art & Architecture 292N
Course Title: Christian & Islamic Art
Instructor: Suzanne Blier
Course Number: Religion 1812
Course Title: Islam and Religious Diversity
Instructor: Nicholas Boylston
The problem of religious diversity recurs in all of the major branches of Islamic thought and appears in complex permutations in diverse cultural contexts. Focusing primarily on pre-modern Islam, this course invites students to investigate perspectives on the religious other in the Quran, Islamic law, theology, philosophy and Sufism. In the final portion of the course we will look at Muslim Spain, Mughal India, and the Muslim-Confucians of late imperial China as examples of how these complex dynamics played out on the ground. The larger aim of this course is for students to develop interpretive skill in dealing with the internal complexity of a number of Islamic discourses and contexts by pursuing a single problematic across them. To this end the course will be taught in seminar format and participants will be encouraged to engage creatively with primary and secondary sources to develop their own scholarly points of view.
Course Number: Religion 1838
Course Title: What is Good in Islam? Ethics in the Islamic Tradition
Instructor: Nicholas Boylston
Can values be judged by reason or are they dependent on revelation? What is the goal of human existence and how is it to be attained? What is the relationship between the Sharia and ethics? What are a human’s responsibilities towards fellow humans? How is the human self to be cultivated? In this class we will explore the diverse approaches to these questions in the Islamic tradition, with a focus on the pre-modern. Beginning with the Quran and Hadith, we will discuss a wide range of discourses in which questions of the good, the right, and the cultivation of virtue have been addressed, including theology, law, philosophy, literary ethics (adab), and various strands of the Sufi tradition. Throughout the course we will pay close attention to ways in which conceptions of what is good are connected to accounts of the nature of reality and the sources of human knowledge, noting how ethical questions pervade Islamic systems of knowledge and practice. Jointly offered with the Divinity School as HDS 3042.
Course Number: HIST 1009
Course Title: The Making of the Modern Middle East
Instructor: Rosie Bsheer
How was the region of North Africa and West Asia between the Atlantic and Central Asia constructed, physically and discursively, as “the Middle East”? What were the major local, regional, and global events that have most profoundly affected the political, social, cultural, and intellectual realities of the region since the mid-eighteenth century? Throughout the semester, we will draw on interdisciplinary readings to think critically about these and related questions about the challenges of studying the modern Middle East, the politics of modernity, Ottoman reform, the formation of modern nation states, colonialism and imperialism, social and intellectual movements, petro-states in global perspective, and Islam and politics.
Course Number: Arabic 249R
Course Title: Arabic Philosophical Texts: Seminar
Instructor: Khaled El-Rouayheb
Readings on selected topics in Islamic philosophy.
Course Number: Islamic Civilization 145B
Course Title: Introduction to Islamic Philosophy and Theology: The Modern Period (19th and 20th centuries)
Instructor: Khaled El-Rouayheb
The course is a continuation of Islamic Civilizations 145a but may be taken independently. It explores the thought of some of the major Islamic philosophers and theologians in the 19th and 20th centuries: Muhammad Abduh, Muhammad Iqbal, Said Nursi, Abu l-Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Ali Shariati, Murtaza Mutahheri and AbdolKarim Soroush.
Course Number: History of Art & Architecture 138M
Course Title: From Byzantium to the British Isles: The Materiality of Late Antiquity
Instructor: Evridiki Georganteli
This course explores the extraordinary cultural transformation Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East underwent from Diocletian’s reorganization of the Roman Empire in the late third century to the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth century. Monuments and sites, sculpture, mosaics, frescoes and ceramics, icons and relics, textiles, coins and seals chart the movement of people, commodities and ideas along routes of warfare, pilgrimage, trade and diplomacy. Was the world of late antiquity still bearing the hallmarks of Roman connectivity, administration and culture? Were Ireland and Anglo-Saxon Englans really the edge of the known world? What was the extent of the Eastern Roman Empire’s cultural power in late antique Europe, Africa and the Middle East? How did religious changes influence urban topographies, geographies of power and artistic choices?
Course Number: COMPLIT 252
Course Title: The Literatures of Medieval Iberia
Instructor: Luis Giron Negron
The cultural interactions in premodern Spain between Muslims, Christians and Jews shaped the literary history of Arabic, Hebrew and the Ibero-Romance vernaculars. Our seminar examines selected scholarly debates on the comparative study of these literatures. Offered jointly with the Divinity School as 3726.
Course Number: History of Art & Architecture 124E
Course Title: Architectural Icons and Landscapes of Early Modern Islamic Empires: Between Transregional & Local
Instructor: Gulru Necipoglu-Kafadar
Between the 16th and 18th centuries, three empires – the Mediterranean-based Ottomans, Safavids in Iran, and Mughals in the Indian subcontinent – developed interconnected yet distinctive architectural, material and visual cultures with individualized ornamental idioms by fusing their common transregional Timurid heritage with local traditions. The course explores connections between empire building, iconic monuments, and garden landscapes with respect to design, materiality, aesthetics, religion, imperial identity, and theories of dynastic legitimacy. Interactions with neighboring regions will be considered (Europe, Uzbek Central Asia, the Deccan and Gujarat Sultanates).
Course Number: HIST 1878A
Course Title: Ottoman State and Society I (1300 – 1550)
Instructor: Cemal Kafadar
Surveys the emergence of the Ottoman state from a frontier principality into a world empire in its social, political and cultural dimensions. Topics include pre-Ottoman Anatolia; frontier society; methods of conquest; centralization and institutionalization of power; land regime and peasantry; urbanization; intercommunal relations; religion and learning; architecture and literature. Relations with Byzantium as well as Islamic and European states are examined.
Course Number: Anthropology 1661
Course Title: (Mis)Understanding Islam Today
Instructor: Bilal Malik
This course grapples with key controversies – suicide bombings, blasphemy, gender, Muslim minorities, Islamism – as a point of entry into understanding Muslim cultures and societies. Drawing on insights from Cultural Anthropology and related fields (Religious Studies, History, Government, Philosophy, Law), the course also encourages self-reflection on our own assumptions regarding religion, secularism, freedom, tolerance and violence. Finally, by dwelling on the case of cross-cultural (mis)understandings related to Islam, the course underscores that no matter what our personal objectives – social theorizing, developing policy, or being an engaged global citizen – there is value in understanding how historical and cultural contexts shape us all. No prior familiarity with Islam is required or assumed.
Course Number: GOV 94PY
Course Title: Revolution and Politics in Contemporary Iran
Instructor: Payam Mohseni
Iran is increasingly a significant power in the Middle East and a salient country to global affairs. Accordingly, this course examines the intricacies of Iranian politics since the 1979 revolution. It explores a broad range of topics including the causes of the Iranian revolution; the political implications of the Islamic regime’s institutional architecture; the competitive factional dynamics within the ruling elite; Iranian foreign policy, Iran-US relations, and nuclear negotiations; and Shia political ideology.
Course Number: ISLAMCIV 158X
Course Title: Introduction to the Qur’an
Instructor: Shady Nasser
A critical introduction to the Qur’an as text and as scripture, focusing on its origins, form, and content, with attention to its ongoing life in the Arab-Islamic society. As we examine traditional scholarship, contemporary views on the Qur’an (mainly through YouTube videos, lectures, interviews) will be presented and discussed in comparison with the classical-traditional views on various themes of the Qurānic text. No previous study of Arabic or Islam is required. Mainly for undergraduate students. Topics include: Prophetic traditions, Oral and written transmissions, schools of Qurānic Exegesis (Commentaries), women and family in Islam, Qurān and science, animals in the Qurān, the supernatural, tradition and reform in Arab-Islamic societies. Students will read weekly selections from the Qurān, watch lengthy videos and interviews, and write response papers on the secondary literature. Offered jointly with the Divinity School as 3376.
Course Number: General Education 1071
Course Title: Wakanda Revisited: African Spirituality in Ancient and Modern Times
Instructor: Jacob Olupona
Taking the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” as a starting point, the course will explore the African spiritual heritage both on the continent and the diaspora communities (Black Atlantic diasporas). We will begin by spelling out the features of African indigenous religious traditions: cosmology, cosmogony, mythology, ritual practices, divination, healing ceremonies, sacred kingship, etc. We will then explore how these traditions have travelled across the oceans to the new world and how they have contributed to the emergence of new forms of black identities in Brazil, the Caribbean, the USA, etc. This class will equally look at African religious encounters with Islam and Christianity on the continent, resulting in what we often call “Africa’s Triple Heritage”. It then considers African religious sensibilities in the contemporary period, as they relate to the issues of modernity, economic and social development, ethnic and cultural identities, class, and community relations. Finally, we will look at the status of African religion as a global tradition, not necessarily in competition with other religious traditions, but in its relationship to other world religions.
Course Number: HISTSCI 108
Course Title: Bodies, Sexualities, and Medicine in the Medieval Middle East
Instructor: Ahmed Ragab
This course will examine the ways in which medical, religious, cultural, and political discourses and practices interacted in the medieval and early modern Middle East to create and reflect multiple understandings of human bodies and sexualities. Special attention to debates on health, sexuality, and gender and racial identities.
Course Number: General Education 1123
Course Title: Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East
Instructor: Malika Zeghal
The course critically examines the ideologies and political strategies of twentieth century Islamist movements, as well as their origins and evolution. It will relate the emergence of organized Islamist movements in the first part of the twentieth century to earlier Islamic reformist narratives, and explore the political and social contexts in which these movements emerged and evolved. Particular attention will be given to the ideas these movements developed and to the texts they published and disseminated. One component of the course is historical and seeks to cover the evolution of Islamist movements over the course of the twentieth century, from the Muslim Brothers’ emergence, to the development of radical Islam, and the “mainstreaming” of Islamist movements searching for avenues of legal participation. Another component will be issue-based and will examine questions such as: why did political movements based in Islam become so important in the twentieth century? How can we account for their polarization into what are usually described as “moderate” and “radical” trends? How is their existence and history related to the formation of modern states in the Middle East and to their authoritarianism? What are the reasons behind and the consequences of some of these movements’ electoral successes, after the Arab Spring in particular? Egypt will be the central focus due to its crucial role in the genealogy of Islamism as a political movement. Although examples from North Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Middle East will also be covered, the course is not a survey of the history of Islamist movements throughout the entire region.
Course Number: Modern Middle East 200A
Course Title: Approaches to Middle Eastern Studies
Instructor: N/A
Interdisciplinary seminar serves as an introduction to the major disciplines constituting Middle Eastern Studies, including history, political science, anthropology, literature and Islamic Studies. Faculty affiliated with Center for Middle Eastern Studies serve as guest lecturers.
Course Number: History of Art & Architecture 12Y
Course Title: Introduction to Islamic Art: Visual and Portable Arts in Context
Instructor: N/A
Introduces key examples of the arts of the book, calligraphy, and portable arts between 650 and 1650 in the Islamic world, from the rise of Islam through to the pre-modern “Gunpowder Empires.” Objects are examined in light of their aesthetic, cultural, and political contexts. Themes include production and patronage; systems of object content and use; correspondences across media; and cross-cultural relationships of content and form. The selected materials are studied through a range of methodologies.
Course Number: Arabic 130A
Course Title: Upper-Level Classical Arabic I
Instructor: N/A
Introduction to Classical Arabic grammar and styles, with readings from classical Islamic texts, with emphasis on Qur’an, hadîth, sîra, and tafsîr literature. Offered jointly with the Divinity School as 4353.

Harvard Divinity School, Fall 2019
Course Number: HDS 3601
Course Title: Contemporary Voices in American Islam
Instructor: Leila Ahmed
The twenty-first century has produced a vibrant literature by American Muslims offering re-readings of key moments and texts in Islamic history as well as reflecting on core topics in Islam-among them race, gender, sexuality and tolerance and pluralism-in new, distinctively western ways. We will read works by noted western Muslim contemporary intellectuals, among them Asma Afsarruddin, Sherman Jackson, Ingrid Mattson, Kecia Ali, Omid Safi, Jamila Karim, Reza Aslan, Amina Wadud, Scott Siraj Kugle and Suad Abdul Khabeer. Jointly offered with FAS as Religion 1834.
Course Number: HDS 3233
Course Title: Religion, Gender, and Politics in Transnational Perspective
Instructor: Leila Ahmed & Ann Braude
The course follows key themes in religion and gender as these were shaped and reshaped through the colonial and post-colonial eras. In particular, the religious history of American women and the history of women in Islam primarily in relation to the Middle East (professors Braude’s and Ahmed’s fields respectively) are intertwined and brought into conversation. The interaction of religion, gender and sexuality and the turns and complexities imparted to these by the politics of imperialism, race, resistance, and the politics of class, are examined in the context of the emergence of modernity, nationalism, feminism and the globalization of religions in the wake of empire and Christian mission. Jointly offered with FAS as Religion 1009.
Course Number: HDS 3042
Course Title: What is Good in Islam? Ethics in the Islamic Tradition
Instructor: Nicholas Boylston
Can values be judged by reason or are they dependent on revelation? What is the goal of human existence and how is it to be attained? What is the relationship between the Sharia and ethics? What are a human’s responsibilities towards fellow humans? How is the human self to be cultivated? In this class we will explore the diverse approaches to these questions in the Islamic tradition, with a focus on the pre-modern. Beginning with the Quran and Hadith, we will discuss a wide range of discourses in which questions of the good, the right, and the cultivation of virtue have been addressed, including theology, law, philosophy, literary ethics (adab), and various strands of the Sufi tradition. Throughout the course we will pay close attention to ways in which conceptions of what is good are connected to accounts of the nature of reality and the sources of human knowledge, noting how ethical questions pervade Islamic systems of knowledge and practice. Jointly offered with FAS as Religion 1838.

MIT, Fall 2019
Course Number: 21H.160
Course Title: Islam, the Middle East, and the West
Instructor: Pouya Alimagham
Provides students with an overview of basic themes and issues in Middle Eastern history from the rise of Islam to the present, with an emphasis on exchanges and encounters between the Middle East and Europe/North America. Examines the history of the notion of “East” and “West;” the emergence of Islam and the Christianization of Europe; Ottoman and Safavid expansion; the flourishing of European powers; European competition with and colonization of Middle Eastern societies, and Middle Eastern responses, including Arab and Iranian nationalisms as well as the rise of Political Islam.
Course Number: 21H.261
Course Title: Modern Iran: A Century of Revolution
Instructor: Pouya Alimagham
Provides an overview of Iran’s modern history from a social, cultural, and political perspective while also considering factors as they relate to gender and race. Covers the country’s long and complicated interaction with the “West.” Situates Iran in the wider region, thereby delineating how political trends in the Middle East influenced the country and how its history of revolution has in turn impacted the region. Unpacks the Sunni-Shi’ite divide as a modern phenomenon rooted more in inter-state rivalry than in a theological dispute, Western perceptions of the Iranian and the Middle Eastern “Other,” the Iranian Diaspora, political Islam, and post-Islamism.
Course Number: 21H.133
Course Title: The Medieval World
Instructor: Eric Goldberg
Investigates the dynamic history of Europe and the wider world between the late Roman empire and voyages of discovery. Examines the rise of Christianity, the cult of the saints, and monasticism; the decline of the Roman empire, the barbarian invasions, and the foundation of post-Roman kingdoms; the meteoric rise of Islam; the formation of the Carolingian, Byzantine, and Islamic empires; the Vikings and Mongols; castles, knights, and crusades; religious thinkers, reformers, and heretics; changes in art, architecture, and literature; the Black Death and the fall of Constantinople; the Italian Renaissance and the voyages of discovery.
Course Number: 4.614
Course Title: Building Islam
Instructor: Nasser Rabbat
A review of Islamic history through architecture, this course spans fifteen centuries and three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. From the House of the Prophet in Medina in the 7th century to the high-rises of Dubai today, the course casts architecture as the most expressive embodiment of the historical conditions within which Islam was formed and acquired meaning, and to which it in turn gave form and context. Discussions of building techniques, decoration, religion, society, polity, culture, patronage, and learning are framed by a series of paradigmatic architectural and urban moments that span the foundational examples of Islamic architecture in Arabia and the territories of the major cultures of Antiquity with which Islam came early in contact all the way to the interaction with the West in the age of colonialism, independence, development, and the consequent revival of Islamic architecture today. Each class covers a specific time/place but keeps the thread of the entire story active and moving while emphasizing the interconnectivity of cultures in shaping architecture.
Course Number: 4.621
Course Title: Orientalism, Colonialism, and Representation
Instructor: Nasser Rabbat
This is a seminar on the politics of representation. It examines how political, historical, ideological, and religious views inform¬ — and sometimes dictate— the representation and codification of knowledge. The seminar focuses on Orientalism, a discursive category that has been constructed over the long history of encounter between the “West” and the Islamic “Orient” from Antiquity to the present. It explores selected instances of exchange and reviews the associated texts, art, architecture, and institutions, which have influenced the shaping of Western knowledge about the Islamic world as well as informing modern Islamic self-representations. The seminar ends with a consideration of phenomena that impact how the Islamic world is viewed today. The aim is to gain a historically grounded awareness of the complexities of cultural identities, which always defy and sometimes subvert the representations that purport to depict and define them.
Course Number: 4.612
Course Title: Islamic Architecture and the Environment
Instructor: James Wescoat
Studies how Islamic architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning reflect and transform environmental processes in various regions and climates of the Islamic world, from Andalusia to Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Using systematic approaches to environmental data collection and analysis, examines strategies behind the design of selected architectural elements and landscape design types, ranging in scale from the fountain to the garden, courtyard, city, and agrarian region. Critically explores cultural interpretations of Islamic environmental design (e.g., paradise gardens), as they developed over time in ways that enrich, modify, or obscure their historical significance.

Tufts University – Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Fall 2019
Course Number: DHP H261
Course Title: War and Society in the Middle East in Historical Perspective
Instructor: Leila Fawaz
A century ago, World War I and its settlement shaped the modern Middle East. The end of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of successor states in search of internal ideology and regional influence have characterized the region today. This course addresses the broader topic of struggle and survival during cataclysmic events, such as a world war, with reference to the history of the student’s region of interest. It is a research–based class in which students will learn how to better research conflict and how to develop an approach to the study of conflict given the many perspectives of those affected by it. The course will also discuss the ways in which conflict can transform a region.
Course Number: DHP P260
Course Title: Islam and the West
Instructor: Ayesha Jalal
Going beyond the simplistic notion of a great civilization divide, this course puts the categories ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’ under the spotlight of historical and comparative analysis. After providing some essential background, the course concentrates on the colonial and postcolonial encounter between Muslim and Western societies and polities with special, but not exclusive reference to the South Asian subcontinent. Organized along historical and thematic lines, the course focuses on the overlapping domains of culture and politics, thought and practice, to elucidate aspects of dialogue, tension, and confrontation between the worlds of Islam and the West.