BA COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
ARAB 101 – Elementary Arabic I — 4 credits
This course is an introduction to the phonology and writing system of Arabic, its basic vocabulary and structure. Students will acquire the foundations of Arabic grammar and build their vocabulary directed to reading and simple conversation, such as greetings and simple expressions of needs.
ARAB 102 – Elementary Arabic II — 4 credits
This course is a continuation of the mastery of Arabic phonology, basic vocabulary and structure. Students will build their vocabulary and grammatical structures; emphasis will be placed on basic reading comprehension and sentence construction. Prerequisite: Arabic 101, or equivalent.
ARAB 201 – Intermediate Arabic I — 4 credits
This course serves as an expansion and solidification of the student’s understanding of the classical Arabic language, including its verbal system. Building upon the students’ active vocabulary and structural understanding, this course equips students with the basic tools to read, grammatically analyze, and translate selected classical and contemporary texts, which will be taken from various genres of Arabic prose literature.
Prerequisite: Arabic 102, or equivalent course.
ARAB 202 – Intermediate Arabic II — 4 credits
This course aims to develop a more fluent command of classical Arabic structure by guiding students in the careful reading, analysis, and translation of a wide selection of classical and contemporary texts. By the end of this course, students are expected to be able to read and translate selections of classical as well as contemporary texts in literary Arabic.
Prerequisite: Arabic 201, or equivalent.
REL 100 – Religions of the World — 3 credits
This course introduces students to the academic study of religion and the major religions of the world—including Hinduism,
Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others–by examining their history and exploring their beliefs, moral teachings, rituals, and practices. Combines lecture and discussion.
IS 130 Islamic Origins, History and Civilization to 1100 CE — 3 credits
This course traces the rise and development of the Islamic religious tradition from its formal beginnings in the 7th century to the middle of the thirteenth century, CE. Special attention is given to the pre-Islamic culture and economy of Arabia, the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the gradual revelation (nuzūl) of the Qur’ān, major themes of the Qur’ān, the early Muslim community (umma), the basic “pillars” of the Islamic religion (al-islām), the basic beliefs shared by all Muslims (al-īmān), Islamic piety, ethics, and spirituality (al-ihsān), the social and theological developments following the death of the Prophet in 632 CE, the emergence of the Sunnī-Shī‘ī divide and other sectarian developments, the development and codification of the Islamic religious sciences, incl. Jurisprudence (al-fiqh), theology (al-kalām), and mystical spirituality (al-taṣawwuf), the educational and social institutions of classical Islam, the scientific and philosophical achievements of classical Islamic civilization, and the major Muslim dynasties up to end of the Abbasids.
IS 131 – History and Civilization 1100 CE to 1800 — 3 credits
This course continues our undergraduate survey of the historical, political, religious, and intellectual developments in Islamic Civilization up to 1800.
Prerequisite: IS 130, or equivalent.
IS 132 – History and Civilization 1800 to Present — 3 credits
This course will examine the phenomenon of modernity and explore the varied contexts and ideas of Muslim thinkers who have responded to the ideals and realities of Modernity over the past two centuries.
Prerequisite: IS 130, or equivalent.
IS 201 – Introduction to Qur’anic Studies — 3 credits
In this course, we read and analyze the Qur’an (in English translation), with attention to the following topics: the revelation and its original contexts, the collection of the canonical text; Qur’an recitation; structural, linguistic and literary features of the text; occasions of revelation and abrogation; major themes; law in the Qur’an; and introduction to modes of interpretation. Knowledge of Arabic is not required.
IS 202 – Introduction to Prophetic Biography (sīrah) and Ḥadīth — 3 credits
This course explores the life of the Prophet through biographical and historical works as well as selected traditions taken from the canonical collections of oral reports (Ḥadīth) concerning his words and deeds. Special attention will also be paid to the political and cultural contexts of the biographers, historians, and Hadith narrators and collectors.
IS 301 – The Sciences of Ḥadīth — 3 credits
This course introduces students to the history and methodology of the collection of the canonical collections of oral reports (Ḥadīth narrations) concerning the Prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds. Topics include the historical evolution of the collection and study of the Ḥadīth, technical terms of Ḥadīth sciences, the categories of Ḥadīth reports, the technical structure of Ḥadīth reports, the science of men, the relationship between the Ḥadīth and the Qur’an, the problem of contradiction within Ḥadīth literature, and contemporary controversies within both traditionalist and academic discussions of Ḥadīth.
IS 305 – Islamic Legal Reasoning (al-fiqh) — 3 credits
This course studies the historical development of the various methodologies for deriving juridical rulings from the revealed sources. Attention will be given to the principles of jurisprudence (uṣūl al-fiqh), the fiqh of religious observance, and the major theorists who shaped the Muslim legal tradition.
Prerequisite: IS 130, or equivalent.
IS 320 – Muslim Spirituality — 3 credits
Following an overall historical approach, this course traces the origins and development of the mystical or experiential dimensions of Islamic spirituality, often collectively referred to as “Sufism,” from the prophetic period (7th century, CE) to the medieval Arabic and Persian traditions. Students will experience a first-hand encounter with the writings of many of the most noteworthy and seminal sages of the “Sufi” tradition and, through this experience, will grapple with many of the core ideas, practices, institutions, and social manifestations of the Muslim spiritual tradition.
Prerequisites: IS 130 or an equivalent.
IS 328 – History of Islamic Art and Architecture — 3 credits
This course introduces students to the rich heritage of Islamic art and architecture. Students will examine a number of examples of works of art and buildings from different periods and regions and discuss their artistic and architectural characteristics in conjunction with their historical and political background.
Prerequisite: sophomore status or consent of instructor.
IS 329 – Islam and World Cinema — 3 credits
This course will examine the various portrayals of Islam and Muslims in World Cinema (both in Muslim and non-Muslim societies) over recent decades. Students will have the opportunity to watch segments from several feature films, study the socio-political environment surrounding the period of each film, and draw conclusions on how the environment might have impacted the messaging of the film, and vice versa. Students will also discuss the impact World Cinema has had on Islam, Muslims and the world.
IS 333 – Islam in America — 3 credits
This course traces the history of Islam in America, beginning with the historical records of African Muslims who were forcibly taken to the Americas as slaves and their enduring efforts to retain their culture, faith, language, and identity as Muslims. This course then explores the complex unfolding of African American Islam in its unique and varied manifestations, including the Moorish Science Temple and the Nation of Islam. We also study the waves of Muslim immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and the impacts they have had upon the shaping of American Muslim communities since the 1960s. Expanding our scope even further, we will explore American Muslim convert narratives, the rise of Islam within America’s Hispanic, indigenous, and other ethnic populations, and the evolving adventure of what it means to be an American Muslim within the mosaic of the American Muslim community and the greater mosaic of the United States. Questions of religious pluralism, Islamophobia, portrayals of Islam in the mainstream American media, and future trajectories for American Muslims will also be considered.
IS 410 – Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy — 3 credits
This course introduces the thought and context of the most influential philosophers known to medieval Islam and Judaism, including al-Kindī, al-Rāzī (Razes) al-Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Saadia Gaon (al-Fayyumi), Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Bahyā bn Paqudah, Abraham ibn Daud, Moses Maimonides, and Levi ben Gershom (Gersonides). Special attention will be given to philosophical understandings of religion and prophecy, the soul (psychology), the state (political philosophy), metaphysics, and religious critiques of Aristotelean rationalism within these sister traditions (esp. by Abū Hāmid al-Ghazālī and Judah Halevi). Prerequisites: IS 130, PHIL 101, junior or senior standing
IS 428 – Muslim Great Books and Thinkers Seminar — 3 credits
This seminar explores some of the most important books and thinkers throughout Islamic History. Specific titles and figures are determined by the supervising faculty member convening the seminar. Through the careful reading, analysis, and discussion of the text (or texts) at hand, students are given a first-hand encounter with the greatest minds and insights of Muslim heritage, be it in the specific field of philosophy, science, politics, literature, theology, law, art, music, mathematics, or history.
Prerequisite: senior standing or consent of instructor.
IS 495 – Special Topics — 3 credits
Undergraduate students with advanced (junior) status or above may petition their academic advisor to enroll in no more than 3 graduate level courses compatible with their program.
IS 497 – Independent Study — 3 credits
Qualified students may arrange with specific instructions to undertake significant independent study on a topic not offered in the regular curriculum.
Sophomore status or consent of instructor.
IS 498 – Civic Engagement Internship — 3 credits
Students will engage in a social service organization where they can receive hands on training in a service field of their interest. All students must complete 120 hours of service at their field placement. Students will attend a 1-hour seminar each week to discuss their experience and draw upon the experiences of their classmates.
IS 499 – Study Abroad — 3 – 9 credit hours
In consultation with an academic advisor, qualified advanced students may be allowed the option to register for study abroad credit during the semester, semester breaks, and/or summer sessions
ARTS 160 – Arabic Calligraphy I — 3 credits
This course will introduce students to the different styles of Arabic Calligraphy while focusing on Thuluth, a style that emerged in
the 11th century CE. By the end of the course, students should be able to produce a composition of their own and utilize the rules of measurement to check their work for mistakes. They will also be able to distinguish between various styles and judge the authenticity of each style relying on the rules they have learned in class.
ARTS 161 – Arabic Calligraphy II — 3 credits
The course will continue to develop skills acquired in Calligraphy 101. Students will learn the use of the traditional reed pen (Qalam) for writing letters in the Thuluth style. They will also be introduced to connecting the letters to construct words in this style. By the end of the class students will be able to produce a piece of their own calligraphic art.
Prerequisite: Calligraphy 101, or equivalent.
ARTS 170 – Ebru I — 3 credits
Ebru, often referred to as the “dance of color on water”, is an authentic Turkish art that has been considered a spiritual art for centuries. This unique art form is produced by sprinkling color pigments into a trough of oily water and utilizes special brushes to create various designs that are then transferred onto a sheet of paper or other surface. This class will cover a variety of techniques that participants will use to create their own masterpieces.
ARTS 180 – Stained Glass I — 3 credits
This course will demonstrate how colored glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures, held together (traditionally) by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame. Students will learn how to paint details and stain their designs.
ANTH 101 – Introduction to Cultural Anthropology — 3 credits
This course is designed to introduce students to the methods, theories, and concepts of cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology is a social science that provides a comprehensive understanding of human diversity. In this course we will focus on the basic concepts used by anthropologists in order to compare and contrast how living people with different cultural traditions conduct their everyday life through language, economy, family life and kinship, religion, and other institutions.
BIO 101 – Introduction to the Biological Sciences — 4 credits
This course will cover the fundamental concepts in biology including the scientific method, cell structure and function, cell physiology, cell reproduction and development, Mendelian and population genetics, natural selection, evolution and ecology. Includes a laboratory hour each week.
ECON 101 – Introduction to Economics — 3 credits
This course is an introduction to micro- and macroeconomics. Students will learn how to utilize these economic concepts to understand the impact of finance on the world, particularly on public policy issues. This course will focus on the principles of supply and demand, fiscal and monetary policy, and governmental roles.
ENG 180 – Expository Writing — 3 credits
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to produce clear expository prose. The course will focus on audience analysis, topic selection, thesis support and development, editing and revision.
ENG 181 – Critical Writing Methods — 3 credits
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to read academic texts critically by differentiating between claims, assumptions and evidence-based arguments. Students will examine the nature of deduction, induction and informal Fallacies, thus critiquing the author’s reasoning in clear and concise language. Students will study several texts and write critical analysis papers in response to them.
ENG 201 – Communications — 3 credits
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to apply the various principles of oral communication. Students will learn how to communicate effectively in small group, public speaking and interpersonal communication contexts.
ENG 250 – American Literature — 3 credits
This is an introductory survey of major works and authors representative of the development and current state of American literature. Prerequisite: ENG 180, or equivalent or consent of instructor.
ENG 251 – Muslim American Literature — 3 credits
This class will introduce writings by American Muslim novelists and poets from diverse backgrounds. These writings will be discussed in the context of American literary forms and themes as well as explored for their content and relationship to the Islamic heritage and Muslim concerns.
Prerequisite: ENG 180, or equivalent or consent of instructor.
MUS 160 – Oud I — 3 credits
This class will introduce the students to the art of playing the Oud. The students will be coached on the proper way to hold the instrument and the Plectrum. We will study the Arabic style tuning and western style notation system. The students will learn simple melodies from various parts of the Middle East and by the end of the course they will be able to perform these pieces in a group setting.
MUS 161 – Oud II — 3 credits
Continues to build on the techniques introduced in Oud I.
Prerequisite: MUS 160, or equivalent.
PHIL 101 – Introduction to Philosophy — 3 credits
Through class discussion and student papers this course focuses on the nature of careful inquiry and some of the enduring philosophical questions of the ages. It examines the reasoning process and classical and contemporary problems in philosophy.
PHY 101 – Introduction to the Physical Sciences — 4 credits
This course serves as an introduction to physical science for non-science majors. Selected topics in astronomy, chemistry, geology and physics are included. Emphasis is placed on understanding the fundamental principles of the physical sciences. It will also include a discussion of the limitations and potential applications of the physical sciences. This course requires laboratory work.
POLS 101 – Introduction to American Government — 3 credits
This course is concerned with government and politics in the United States, primarily at the national level, but some attention will be given to state and local government, particularly the nature of Illinois’ Constitution. Students will examine the institutional rules and human behaviors that shape government, the operation of elections, the development of parties and interest groups, public opinion, and the functioning of Congress, the presidency, and the courts. An historic `overview of the topics will shed light on how the current system has evolved.
POLS 201- Comparative Political Systems — 3 credits
This course will introduce students to the major theoretical approaches in the comparative study of politics. The student will learn to apply these approaches to better understand the development and operation of government institutions, the policy-making process, political participation, economic structures and social change for both state and non-state actors. A comparative analysis of approaches to government in Muslim and non-Muslim societies will be explored.
PSYC 101 – Introduction to Psychology — 3 credits
This course will discuss the scientific method, fundamental principles of sensory processes, learning and language, development, human development, adjustment, emotions and motivations and individual and group behavior.
QUANT 101 – Quantitative Literacy — 3 credits
Quantitative Literacy focuses on the mathematical and algebraic methods needed to describe, analyze, and then respond to our world. Students will work with concept models including percents, ratios, formulas, variables, linear equations, and graphs set within the context of contemporary issues. The course will strengthen students’ ability to read about, write about, and question health, societal, and economic issues. They will do this through solving application based problems, understanding the use of symbols, and applying various mathematical techniques needed to effectively use and manipulate quantitative information.
RM 200 – Social Research Methods — 3 credits
This course is designed to offer a comprehensive and systematic treatment of the scientific method as it especially applies to the social sciences. Students will learn the relationship between theory, research and practice, and integrate research activity in an orderly framework. The varied stages of research will be explored, including the definition of the research problem, statement of the hypothesis, research design, measurement, data collection, data analysis and generalization. Students will be required to design, administer and analyze the results of a modest social questionnaire/survey or research project.
MA COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
ARAB 301 – Advanced Arabic I — 3 credits
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.
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 501 – The Academic Study of Islam — 3 credits
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.
IS 503 – Reading and Interpreting the Qur’an — 3 credits
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.
IS 504 – Prophetic Biography and Hadith Literature — 3 credits
Drawing upon the earliest biographical and historical sources, as well as passages from the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions (Ḥadīth), this course explores the life and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad.
IS 505 – Ḥadīth Sciences — 3 credits
This graduate course introduces students to the history and methodology of the collection of the canonical collections of oral reports (Ḥadīth narrations) concerning the Prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds. Topics include the historical evolution of the collection and study of the Ḥadīth, technical terms of Ḥadīth sciences, the categories of Ḥadīth reports, the technical structure of Ḥadīth reports, the science of men, the relationship between the Ḥadīth and the Qur’an, and traditional approaches to resolving the problem of contradiction within Ḥadīth literature.
IS 511 – Islamic Ethics and Spirituality — 3 credits
This course introduces students to the study of ethics within a classical Islamic textual framework, which includes the Qur’an, Prophetic (ḥadīth) traditions, early spiritual classics, Muslim philosophical writings, and other great works that approach the subject from a range of disciplines and perspectives.
IS 515 – Islam and Gender — 3 credits
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.
IS 516 – Great Debates within Muslim Theology — 3 credits
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.
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.
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.
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 and 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 juridical reasoning and rulings. A wide array of contemporary Muslim and non-Muslim scholarship on hadith will be reviewed, evaluated, and critiqued.
Prerequisite: IS202, or 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
IS 559 – Thesis — 3 credits
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 Academic Advisor
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Jamaat-i Islami, Muslim modernism/ liberalism, and the Turkish Nur communities may be among the movements discussed.
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.
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.
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.
IS 589 – Thesis — 3 credits
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 Academic Advisor
MDIS COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
IS 600 – Intro to Clinical Pastoral Education — 3 credits
This course serves as a theoretical and experiential introduction to Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) – an experience-based approach to learning practical skills and developing competencies for spiritual care. It thus combines academic study with qualified supervision, group reflection, and experiential / “hands on” exposure to a variety of spiritual and pastoral care settings. Students will be challenged to develop a practice of self-reflection and empathic dialogue as they encounter patients, staff, and fellow students. Students will be challenged to work sensitively within the world view of the patient/client and assist her/him to express and interpret the experience of illness or trauma or loss in accordance with the patient’s own religious beliefs and spiritual values.
IS 601 – Spiritual Care/Leadership/Chaplaincy Training Practicum — 3 credits
This course marks a more sustained exposure to theories or core environments introduced in the IS 600. Students will be placed in a supervised field placement (or series of placements) and work under the direct supervision of an experienced imam, counsellor, social worker, chaplain, or spiritual caregiver. Placements are determined in consultation with the student, the advisor, and the supervising practitioner in the field. (400 hour internship)
IS 602 – Islamic Pastoral & Moral Theology — 3 credits
This course opens new theological horizons for the MDIS student as it explores theologies of service, suffering, healing, forgiveness, liberation, reconciliation, transcendence, and transformation within the Qur’anic, prophetic, and spiritual traditions of Islam.
IS 603 – Counseling Theory, Methodology, Assessment — 3 credits
Embracing an active and participatory approach, this course is designed to help MDIS students cultivate basic knowledge and skills in the areas of counseling, psychological assessment, and psychotherapeutic theory and practice. The major modalities covered will include the Psychoanalytic, Neo-analytic, Person-centered, Humanistic and Affective, Behavioral, Cognitive, and Family Systems therapies. Students will be taught culturally and religiously sensitive approaches to intervention strategies for dealing with psychological, emotional, relationship, and adjustment problems.
IS 604 – Intercultural Communication & Competence — 3 credits
This course explores an array of communication systems and formations from different cultures and provides an introduction to the major principles and theories of interpersonal, intercultural, and international communication, from one on one encounters to the macro-level of mass media. Students are exposed to various ways culture, gender, religion, socio-economic background, and nationality influence the way individuals and communities communicate and so are challenged to apply this to their work in pastoral, spiritual care and religious leadership. The goal of this required core class is to help students examine their own communication styles and assumptions while developing the sensitivity, cultural dexterity, and practiced techniques they will need to be effective communicators and care givers within a multicultural and multi-religious world.
IS 605 – Marriage & Family Counseling — 3 credits
This course aims at equipping MDIS students with the most essential therapeutic tools and techniques for helping families in such areas as parent-child and family dynamics, mental and nervous disorders within the family, marital and family education, coping with divorce and loss, domestic violence (DV), and sexual dysfunction. Adolescent psychology, counseling theories and strategies (including one-on-one cognitive therapy and group therapy), human growth and development, diverse marriage and family systems, gender identity, sexual orientation, family violence, critical interventions, divorce, and many other topics will be touched on in this course: all infused with and informed by foundational Islamic principles relating to human dignity, mercy, justice, balance, and social responsibility. Students will also become familiar with psychological, religious, community-based, and legal tools for providing first-tier assistance for victims of domestic violence as well as for addressing and treating the causes of DV within the home and/or community. To this end, we will explore the nature and definition of domestic violence, the challenge of identifying the victims of DV, the signs of DV within individuals and family dynamics, psychological and religious strategies for intervention and working with victims and perpetrators of DV, how to find professional help and resources for victims of DV, and strategies for breaking the cycle of violence within the home and the community.
IS 606 – Youth and Young Adult Mentoring, Coaching & Counseling — 3 credits
This course seeks to equip AIC MDIS students with a basic understanding of the unique struggles adolescents face and to help students develop a spiritually informed approach to mentoring, counseling, and coaching youth within a caring, non-judgmental, and positive context. Students can expect to develop competencies in the following areas: understanding the major relational, emotional, and behavioral issues faced by adolescents today within an American context; helping adolescents acquire the tools for working with the challenges they face; identifying the critical signs that signal the need for intervention and/or professional referrals; identifying and building up the core qualities and gifts of young people; educating and, if necessary, mediating with parents so that they can better understand the world in which their children are living.
IS 608 – Correctional Counseling: Working with Offenders — 3 credits
This course helps prepare MDIS students for working with convicted/incarcerated individuals within a religious context of healing and restoration. Special attention is given to techniques for building rapport and opening a sustained conversation that gradually moves toward the core issues a client faces. Thus, the underlying causes of addiction, violence, and other destructive and delinquent behavioral patterns are explored, and religious resources for forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration (individual and community) are studied. Additional topics include working within a correctional environment, understanding the criminal justice system within the US, strategies for coping in stress and crisis situations, unique challenges for female and male clients within a correctional setting, and strategies for living a restored life beyond incarceration.
IS 609 – Psychology of Trauma — 3 credits
This course introduces MDIS students to the psychology of trauma, explored in several varieties and from a range of psychotherapeutic approaches. Topics considered include the types of trauma, including sexual trauma, PTSD, and disaster trauma, the identification of trauma symptoms, trauma-related defenses and dissociative states, personality disorders, individual and group approaches to trauma therapy, such as interventional debriefing, and community resources for referral. Students will be challenged to develop an Islamic pastoral theology of trauma in conversation with the knowledge and psycho-therapeutic approaches learned in this course.
IS 611 – Islamic Bioethics, End of Life Decisions & Hospital/Hospice Care — 3 credits
This course explores the emerging field of Islamic bioethics, along with the legal, ethical, and pastoral dimensions of caring for individuals and families facing end-of-life decisions. Topics addressed include the range of Muslim attitudes toward health care in America, Muslim health care needs and accommodations, major topics in bioethics, the goals of hospice care, counseling techniques and strategies for the critically ill, the dying, and their loved ones, helping individuals and families come to a religiously-informed understanding of suffering, death, and the afterlife, the ethics of the caregiver relationship, psychological and spiritual practices that help individuals and families cope with serious illness and help prepare the individual for death, the legal dimensions of Muslim funerary practices (wills, funerals, burials), comparative death rituals, and understanding the stages of grief, bereavement, and healing.
IS 615 – The Fiqh of Islamic Retual Practices — 3 credits
This course explores the fiqh (legal dimensions) of Muslim religious practices (al-‘ibādāt) and so prepares students to teach, advise, coach, and, if necessary, lead others in the obligatory practices of prayer, fasting, calculating and giving zakat, and performing pilgrimage. Our approach is denominationally inclusive, and so differences between the various legal schools will be noted and discussed in a respectful manner that promotes tolerance and focuses upon “best practices” within each tradition.
IS 616 – The Fiqh of The Muslim Life Cycle — 3 credits
This course examines the major milestones of the Muslim life-cycle and prepares the student to care for individuals and families as well as preside over appropriate rituals from birth to death. Our approach is denominationally inclusive, and so differences between the various legal schools will be noted and discussed in a respectful manner that focuses upon “best practices” within each tradition.
IS 619 – Interfaith Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care — 3 credits
Chaplains, spiritual caregivers, and pastoral human beings are often faced with the challenge of caring for individuals of other faith traditions, and so this course helps MDIS students develop strategies and competencies for offering empathic and spiritually-infused care to clients who inhabit other belief systems or no belief system. Interfaith chaplaincy or counseling is thus understood to be a kind of companioning that helps individuals find transcendence and illumination within their particular situation and name that transcendence or illumination in their own language. As part of this course, then, we will explore spiritual experience from interreligious and cross-cultural perspectives, and we will study and practice contemplative listening, formless prayer, and the ministry of presence.
IS 620 – Mosque / Muslim Non-Profit Organization & Management — 3 credits
Students aspiring to lead Muslim congregations or run non profits learn to create and manage a budget, develop business plans, create marketing and public relations strategies, institute responsible human resources/personnel policies, and build effective teams across the lay – leadership divide. Other topics touched upon include nonprofit law, governance and accountability.