MA Course Descriptions

MA COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

ARAB 301 –  Advanced Arabic I     3 Credits     (Required)
This course stands on the shoulders of the Introductory and Intermediate Arabic curricula (ARAB 101, 102, 201, 202) and so will move graduate and advanced undergraduate students to the level of independent proficiency in reading, grammatically analyzing, and translating classical Arabic texts.  ARAB 301 is the minimum Arabic standard for completion of the MA at AIC, for it marks the student’s graduation to a level of independent textual study.
Prerequisite: Arabic 202, or equivalent course.

IS 501 – The Academic Study of Islam  3 Credits     (Required)
This course introduces advanced level students to major topics, resources, and figures in the academic study of Islam as a foundation for graduate study. It therefore engages both traditional Muslim and critical historical approaches to major sources and developments in the field.
Prerequisite: IS130/IS131, and graduate standing.

IS 503 –  Reading and Interpreting the Qur’an   3 Credits     (Required)
In this course, we read and analyze the Qur’an (in English translation), with attention to the following topics: the revelation and its original context, the collection and standardization of the canonical text; structural, linguistic and literary features of the text; the occasions of revelation; the principle of abrogation; major themes of both the Meccan and Medinan recitations; law in the Qur’an; and an introduction to the various hermeneutical approaches or modes of interpretation within Muslim exegesis traditions. Knowledge of Arabic is not required.
Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

IS 504- Prophetic Biography and Hadith Literature        3 credits  (Required)
This course explores the life of the Prophet Muhammad and examines the histories and methodologies involved in the collection of the prophetic traditions (Hadith); the verification and compilation of Hadith literature; the sciences of Hadith criticism and its terminology. Students are introduced to the major Hadith compilations and their compilers. Students will acquire the tools necessary to engage in analysis of the soundness of scriptural reports according to traditional Islamic methodology. Select Hadith will be examined.
Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 511 – Islamic Ethics and Spirituality       3 credits  (Required)
This course introduces students to the study of ethics within a classical Islamic textual framework, which includes the Qur’an, Prophetic (adīth) traditions, early spiritual classics, Muslim philosophical writings, and other great works that approach the subject from a range of disciplines and perspectives.
Prerequisites:  Graduate Standing

IS 515 –Islam and Gender Studies       3 credits  (Required)
This course explores the construction of normative gender roles in classical Muslim sources as well as gendered practices in diverse Muslim societies. Muslim perspectives as interacting with the emerging field of Gender Studies and a wide array of feminist approaches, from secular feminists to Muslim feminist authors and activists, will also be considered. Students will learn about normative Islamic values and legal rulings on gender and sexuality and come to understand and appreciate the historical development of social and cultural practices within Muslim societies with regard to gender roles.
Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 516 –  Great Debates within Muslim Theology      3 credits     (Required)
This course examines some of the greatest theological debates in the history of Muslim theological reflection and interpretation. Key topics will include the relation between belief and action, free will versus Divine determinism, the createdness or eternality of the Qur’an, Divine justice, the cessation or continuation of prophecy, and the doctrinal and historical complexities involved in the competing notions of Caliphate and Imamate.
Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

            

 

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS: M.A. AREA CONCENTRATION – ISLAMIC THEOLOGY 

(Students Must Select Any Four Courses + IS 559 Masters Thesis)

 

 

ARAB 302 – Advanced Arabic II     3 Credits    

Students with advanced standing in Arabic or the equivalent will read (in Arabic) selected texts based on themes determined by instructor interest or student need.

Prerequisite: Arabic 301 or equivalent.

IS 531 – Islamic Mysticism (Sufism)           3 credits    

This course examines interrelated topics in Muslim mystical traditions and other forms of spirituality, such as asceticism (zuhd) and supererogatory devotion. Specific attention will be given to the lives and teachings of major Muslim mystics in the Arabic and Persian traditions, their writings, and their impact on religion and society. Topics may include: mystical experience as a path to knowledge, remembrance (dhikr), the beautiful names of Allah, and the rise and respective methodologies of the Sufi orders.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 532 – Islamic Philosophy and Theology   3 credits

This course explores issues and sources in early Islamic thought that pertain to human reason and the rational engagement with revelation.  Topics thus include the Qur’an, the intellectual encounter with Hellenistic (Greek) thought in early Islam, the rise of the “scholastic” or dogmatic theologians (al-mutakallimūn), such as the Mu‘tazilites and the Ash‘arites, and the Muslim philosophers (al-falāsifa) and their critics.

Prerequisite: graduate standing

IS 535 –  Advanced Qur’anic Studies           3 credits

This graduate level course assumes significant background in Qur’anic Studies. In addition to providing an overview of the Qur’anic sciences and the spectrum of hermeneutical approaches within the exegetical (tafsīr) tradition, this course will take up both classical and contemporary Muslim works in the field of Qur’anic Studies and will also probe the implications of Qur’anic interpretation.

Prerequisite: IS201 & IS 416 (equivalent or Consent of Instructor).

IS 536 –  Advanced Hadith Studies               3 credits

This graduate level course assumes the foundation of IS202 or its equivalent. Students will delve more deeply into the sciences of hadith evaluation, the ways of resolving conflict or
contradiction between hadith traditions (ikhtilāf al-hadīth), and the use of hadith in juristic
reasoning and rulings. Contemporary Muslim and non-Muslim scholarship on hadith will be reviewed, evaluated, and critiqued.

Prerequisite: IS202, or equivalent (equivalent or Consent of Instructor).

IS 540 –  Islamic Jurisprudence (al-fiqh): Theory and Application            3 credits

This course focuses on Islamic juridical reasoning and rulings in the areas of both religious devotion and social transactions as interpreted by the canonical schools of Islamic law. Students learn how human actions are legally considered and classified. Topics to be examined include the five pillars (obligatory religious practices) of Islam, Islamic finance and business law, inheritance law, and legal approaches specific to Muslim communities when they are religious minorities. The role of context and underlying intent of the law will also be covered.  This area of study will provide students with a knowledge base to consider more complicated legal questions.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 545 –  Intra-Muslim Diversity and Dialogue                     3 credits

This course considers the diversity of interpretations and the emergence and character of various sectarian divisions within Islam. Early theological debates and the classics of Islamic heresiography will be explored, as will contemporary polemics and more ecumenical theological approaches.  The importance of intra-Muslim cooperation and dialogue in a pluralistic world will also be discussed.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 550 –  Comparative Religion                                               3 credits

This course introduces graduate students to the academic study of world religions – including Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, indigenous religions of North America, or other traditions – with an emphasis upon the comparative study of belief, ritual, ethics, religious experience, social constructions (incl. gender), contemporary challenges, and the ways in which history and culture play formative roles in shaping traditions.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 555 –   Special Topics                                                             3 credits

This course allows AIC graduate students to take courses offered in variable special topics: for example, courses offered by visiting faculty (if and when these are suitable electives for the Islamic Theology track in the MA program).  Alternatively, this course heading might also be used to accommodate study abroad options and/or academic internship opportunities within approved cultural, governmental or non-governmental organizations.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of Program Director.

IS 557 –   Religious Studies: Theory and Method                     3 credits

This advanced graduate course focuses on a variety of methodological approaches to the study of religion; students explore forms of religious expression, issues within religious worldviews, and challenges facing religion in the modern world.  Major theories and theorists of religion since the 19th century will be introduced as well as the approaches of various disciplines—psychology, sociology, theology, cultural anthropology, etc. – within the contemporary academic study of religion.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 559 –  Thesis                                                                            3 credits      (Required)

The MA thesis should be a MLA or an APA-formatted paper summarizing the research the student has done under the supervision of a full-time faculty member of the Islamic Studies Program. This research should encompass subject matter related to the student’s declared area of concentration in Islamic Theology. The faculty-mentor and student must agree on a research topic and thesis committee of three persons: the faculty research-mentor, and two additional faculty readers from the Islamic Studies Program. Enrollment is restricted to students who have completed all core requirement courses and who have completed two or more classes in the specialized area of Islamic Theology. Registration may be extended for students who receive a grade report of In Progress (IP) at the end of a traditional semester.

Prerequisite:  Consent of Program Director

 

                       

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS: M.A. AREA CONCENTRATION – ISLAM AND GLOBAL STUDIES

(Students Must Select Any Four Courses + IS 589 Masters Thesis)

 

ARAB 302 – Advanced Arabic II     3 Credits    

Students with advanced standing in Arabic or the equivalent will read (in Arabic) selected texts based on themes determined by instructor interest or student need.

Prerequisite: Arabic 301 or equivalent.

IS 560 – History of  Muslim-Christian Relations        3 credits

This course is an introduction to the long and interactive history of  Muslim-Christian relations, which will be traced from the Prophetic period until contemporary times.  Representations of the other will be examined, as will related issues of violence, subjugation, and oppression; historical moments and contexts of collaboration, reconciliation, and positive inter-religious engagement will also be explored..

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 561 –  History of  Muslim-Jewish Relations          3 credits 

Similar in theme and method to IS 560, this course traces Muslim-Jewish relations from the Prophetic period to the present day.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 565 –   Islamic Political Thought                     3 credits

This course attempts to trace, examine, and discuss the ways in which Muslims have perceived the political life, beginning with the establishment of the first Islamic society or Ummah in Medina (622 CE) and culminating with contemporary movements and societies based on Islamic ideals and Muslim political philosophies (for example Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Taleban state in Afghanistan, and Islamist movements).  Theories and debates about the nature of the Islamic State, Islam and democracy and cognate socio-political themes and philosophies will be explored.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 566 ––Islam and the Media                 3 credits 

Students will study the representation of Islam in various media starting with a historical sense of anti-Muslim medieval polemic, Orientalism, and other sources of stereotyping and misconceptions. Students may also be trained in how to establish media relations, compose press releases, and conduct interviews with the media.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 570 – Islam and the African-American Experience             3 credits

This course is designed to introduce students to major figures, movements and developments in African American Muslim history. It will explore the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the various ways African American Muslims have negotiated their identities and religious practices.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 573 – Islam in Local Contexts: (Variable Regions)               3 credits

This course heading offers opportunities to explore the ways in which the religion of Islam becomes manifest within particular historical, geographical, and cultural contexts.   The region under study will vary each time this course is offered. For example, students may have the opportunity to study Islam and Muslim cultures in Africa, Central Asia, Iran, Turkey or South and Southeast Asia.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 575 –  Contemporary Muslim Movements                             3 credits

This course examines the contexts and ideas of Muslim thinkers and reformers since the late 19th century as well as their impact upon Muslim societies and Muslim minority communities  in the fields of religion, politics, social theory, and economics.   Students will learn about the dynamics of Muslim social movements, specific Islamization movements (both national and transnational), and examples of the transformation of Muslim societies occurring through individual acts of self-discipline and piety rather than engaging state power.  Movements such as Wahhabism, Salafism, the Muslim Brotherhood, the jamā‘at-i-islami,  Muslim modernism/liberalism, and the Turkish Nur communities may be among the movements discussed.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 576 –  Islam and Religious Diversity                                        3 credits

This graduate seminar will explore key thinkers and historical moments that offer insights into the special question of what it means to live in a world of many faiths. Foundational texts, such as the Qur’an, Tafsir literature, and Hadith traditions, will be explored as essential elements of Islamic theologies of religious diversity, which will then move into the study of specific historical and/or contemporary thinkers and contexts.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 580 – Literature from the Muslim World                              3 credits

This course may cover varying content supporting the study (in English translation or in original languages) of literatures from specific languages such as Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or Urdu. It may also be taught thematically or as a survey covering themes in classical or contemporary literature produced by Muslims.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

IS 585 –  Special Topics                                                                 3 credits

This course topic allows students to take courses offered in variable special topics, for example, courses offered by visiting faculty (if and when these are suitable electives for the Global Studies track in the MA program).  Alternatively, this course heading might also be used to accommodate study abroad options and/or academic internship opportunities within approved cultural, governmental or non-governmental organizations.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of Program Director.

IS 585 –  Special Topics: Case Studies of Islamic Education          3 credits

This course examines the foundations, modes, and politics of religious learning in a variety of Muslim settings globally. 

IS 589 –  Thesis                                                                             3 credits          (Required)

The MA thesis should be a MLA or an APA-formatted paper summarizing the research the student has done under the supervision of a full-time faculty member of the Islamic Studies Program. This research should encompass subject matter related to the student’s declared area of concentration in Global Studies. The faculty-mentor and student must agree on a research topic and thesis committee of three persons: the faculty research-mentor, and two additional faculty readers from the Islamic Studies Program. Enrollment is restricted to students who have completed all core requirement courses and who have completed two or more classes in the specialized area of Global Studies . Registration may be extended for students who receive a grade of report of In Progress (IP) at the end of a traditional semester.

Prerequisite: Consent of Program Director

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