Islam today, Muslims and Modernity
This is an introductory course on Islam and its modern social manifestations. The content of the course provides a foundational knowledge on Islam approached both from its historical and contemporary perspectives. An understanding of the origins and early development of Islam is followed by an exploration of selected issues that are relevant to Islam and Muslims in the Modern World. Modern Islamic religiosities and a variety of Islamic political currents, issues related to Human rights such as the role of women and of non-Muslims in Islamic Law, Islamic economics and religiously inspired banking systems and last but not least, the relationship with ‘the West.’
North African Societies and Politics
This course develops an in-depth overview of some of the most salient issues defining the study of North Africa in the Modern Period. It develops a comparative perspective between Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya and explores the social, economic and political developments they have undergone during the colonial and postcolonial period and up until today. Presented in an accessible manner, students will be able to have a first contact with the modern development of a fascinating region. The course proposes a historical detour that begins with France’s seizing of Algiers in 1830 and culminates today, with the Aftermath of the Arab Spring of 2010-11 and today's Libyan conflict.
Islam in Europe
The course is an introduction to the most salient features, analytical tools and debates on the presence of Islam in Europe. It critically assesses the processes of social accommodation and religious transformation resulting from the dynamics of consolidating a more significant presence of Islam in Western European countries over the last three decades. Key aspects for a nuanced understanding of this dynamics are explored, such as the transformation undergone by ritual praxis, religious institutionalisation and authority, as well as the creation of new religious identities. It also discusses the variegated and complex relationship between the diverse religious and ethnic groups that constitute the Muslim presence of Europe with the specific approaches that different Western European states have adopted in relation to Islam and to Muslims. It also introduces students into the most significant public debates that have resulted from the growing presence of Muslim populations in European lands and the questioning and re-thinking of notions related to citizenship and individual rights and duties.
This is an introductory course to some of the most salient political groups and developments that consider Islam is the main source of inspiration for their political agendas, groups that have been popularly described under the umbrella term ‘political Islam.’ It explores the emergence and consolidation of key ideological trends that define political Islam today, Islamist political parties and organisations, religious ideologies such as Salafism and religiously motivated violence, Jihadism.
Islam, Gender and sexuality
The course addresses the variegated ways of conceptualising gender issues and roles as well as bodily identities and sexualities in a variety of cultural areas of the Muslim world. It is an approximation to gender dynamics from various angles: intellectual cum religious discourses, legal dimensions, venues for political participation and a scrutiny of sexualities, sexual rights and sexual practices.
Religious Conflict in the Middle East (co-taught with Monika Bolliger)
The course explores how religious identity manifests socially, influencing political and economic relations between the diverse populations of the region. We will critically explore relations between diverse Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, the ongoing dynamics between shi’ite and sunni Muslims, and the situation of minority religions such as the Druze or the Alevis. The course analyses the political dimensions affecting religious groups and critically assesses a wide array of topics related to the interplay of religion, politics and society in the region. The course will include both a theoretical perspective and ethnographic cases and will give students a comprehensive understanding of the reasons, development and outcomes of religious conflict in the region. The course is designed for students interested in acquiring an overarching and critical perspective on how religious conflict has unfolded in the modern Middle East and on the ways in which it has influenced the social and political life of the region.