In this seminar, we will review Islam overall as a culture — a way of life, not simply a religion. The approach to such a culture, in all its variations, will be not only historical but also comparative: how does Islam as a way of life compare with other cultures, whether they be western or eastern.
Each week’s seminar will begin with a relevant reading of primary or secondary sources, circulated via e-mail prior to class and never more than two pages in length. Topics include:
- Islamic history, including a timeline and geography
- Convergences and divergences, with a focus on the Sunni/Shi‘ite split
- Islamic law
- Islamic art, both verbal (literary) and visual
- Islamic politics, from the beginnings to the present
- Humor in the world of Islam