This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to Islam as lived experiences with a focus on the everyday lives of Muslims in contemporary China from the perspective of how Islam informs culture and creates social and spiritual meaning for individual Muslims and Muslim communities. We will examine Muslims’ understanding of their faith; the relationship of Islam to the political, economic and social lives of individual Muslims and how Islam shapes people’s sense of culture and identity; as well as the unity and diversity of Muslim communities in different parts of China from anthropological, historical and sociological perspectives. No prior knowledge of or exposure to Islam on the part of students is presumed. However, some background in China studies or the Eurasian Muslim world would be helpful, but not essential. The course will consist of lectures, reading assignments, and class discussions and will make extensive use of films and other visual media materials. Graduate students should enroll in NEAR E 559/ANTH 569 and are expected to complete a longer term paper in addition to completing the usual assignments.
- To define key concepts and features of Islam
- To gain an understanding of anthropological approaches to the study of Islam
- To explore major domains of Islamic religious and social life
- To expose students to the cultural and ethnic diversity of Muslims in China
- To develop critical reading, discussion, and thinking skills that will contribute to the analysis of the complex challenges facing Muslim communities from historical, social and cultural perspectives
- To examine the structural inequalities and the relationship between the Chinese State, Islam, and Secularism