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NEAR E 229 A: Introduction to Islamic Civilization

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
FSH 102
Joint Sections: 
JSIS A 210 A
Hamza Zafer
Hamza M. Zafer

Syllabus Description:


Prof. Hamza M. Zafer
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
Stroum Center for Jewish Studies // Denny Hall 211

T.A. Solmaz Shakerifard
Near and Middle Eastern Studies PhD Program // Denny Hall 4th Floor, TA Loft



Tues & Thurs, 1:30—3:20pm
Fishery Sciences Building 102

This course comprises thirteen lectures on aspects of Islamic Civilization from 7th century Arabia to the contemporary Muslim world. Exams will be based entirely on these lectures. 



Available in UW Bookstore and online through UW Library

(1) A New Introduction to Islam by Daniel W. Brown (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017)

(2) The Emergence of Islam by Gabriel S. Reynolds (Fortress, 2012)



1/7: Introduction to Major Themes and Concepts

1/9: Lecture 1: Arabia in 570 CE

Brown, Ch. 2: “Arabia”
Brown, Ch. 3: “The Pre-Islamic Near East”
Reynolds, Ch. 7: “The Historical Context of the Qur’an”

1/14: Lecture 2: Muhammad at Mecca (570 – 622 CE)

Reynolds, Ch. 1: “Muhammad in Mecca”
Brown, Ch. 4: “The Life of Muhammad”

1/16: Documentary 1: “The Life of Muhammad” (BBC, 2011 - Parts 1-3) 

1/21: Lecture 3: Muhammad at Medina (622 – 632 CE)

Reynolds, Ch. 2: “Muhammad in Medina”
Reynolds, Ch. 6: “Rethinking the Biography of the Prophet”
Brown, Ch. 6: “The Traditional Literature”

1/23: Lecture 4: The Qur’an in 632 CE

Reynolds, Ch. 4: “The Qur’an and its Message”
Reynolds, Ch. 5: “The Qur’an and the Bible”
Brown, Ch. 5: “The Qur’an”

1/28: Lecture 5: The Arab Expansions (622 – 750 CE)

Reynolds, Ch. 3: “The Birth of an Empire” 
Brown, Ch. 7: “The Conquests”
Brown, Ch. 8: “Religion of Empire”

1/30: Lecture 6: The Caliphate (750-950 CE)

Brown, Ch. 9: The Caliphate, 129-145

2/4: Lecture 7: Early Muslim Thought I – Law and Legitimacy 

Brown, Ch. 10: “Islamic Law”

2/6: Lecture 8: Early Muslim Thought II – Reason and Revelation

Brown, Ch. 11: “Islamic Theology and Philosophy”
Brown, Ch. 12: “Sufism”

2/11: Conclusions and Revisions

2/13: First Exam, based on Lectures 1 - 8

2/18: Documentary 2: “The Caliph” (Aljazeera, 2016 - Parts 1-3)

2/20: Lecture 9: The Sultanates and Classical Islam (1000-1500)

Brown, Ch. 13: “Turks, Crusaders, and Mongols”

2/25: Lecture 10: The Islamicate Empires (1500-1700)

Brown, Ch. 14: “Revival and Reform”

2/27: Lecture 11: Islam in Early Modernity (1700-1900)

Brown, Ch. 15: “Islam and the West”

3/3 Lecture 12: Islam in Modernity (1900-2000)

Brown, Ch. 16: “The Turbulent Twentieth Century”
Brown, Ch. 17: “Islam in the 21st Century”

3/5: Lecture 13: Islam in America (2020)

3/10: Conclusions and Revisions

3/12: Second Exam, based on Lectures 9 -13


(Primary Source Readings available on Canvas)

1/10: Studying “Islamic Civilization” 
Hussain, “Teaching Inside-Out: Teaching Islam”
Nongbri, “What do we mean by ‘Religion’?”

1/17: Representing Islam
Brown, Ch. 1: “Islam in Global Perspective”
Omid Safi, “The Muhammad Problem” 

1/24: Islamic Politics and Statecraft 
Muhammad’s Ordinance for Medina
Alfararbi, “The Political Regime”

1/31: Islamic Law and Jurisprudence
The Pact of Umar (Stillman)
Avicenna, “Healing: Metaphysics 10”

2/7: Islamic Metaphysics: Theology and Philosophy
Ibn Tufayl, “Hayy Son of Yaqzan”
Alghazali, “Delivery from Error”

2/14: No Section

2/21: Islam and Music
(Readings to be decided)

2/28: Muslims and Colonialism
Edward Said, Orientalism

3/6: American Islam
Alex Haley, Autobiography of Malcolm X



First Exam: 30 %
2 Map Quizzes (2): 20 %
2 Documentary Critiques: 30 %
Lecture Responses: 10%
Section Responses: 10%

Catalog Description: 
Covers major developments in the formative, classical, and modern periods of Islamic civilization from seventh century Arabia to the contemporary Muslim world. Looks at the development of Islamic religious thought and legal practice as well as the Muslim polities, cultures, and intellectual traditions of Asia, Africa, Europe, and America. May not be taken for credit if credit earned in NEAR E 210. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 210.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
May 7, 2020 - 9:21pm