Islam and Questioning of Modernity

Subject ISLM90005 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: 2 contact hours/week , 6 additional hours/week. Total of 10 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Admission into the fourth-year honours program or Postgraduate programs in the Arts Faculty. Admission into the Master of Islamic Studies.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


A/Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh
Subject Overview:

This subject is a study of Islam's historical experience as a major world religion and a politically dominant force that, with the onslaught of the modern European colonial power, had to come to grips with being vanquished and subdued. This colonial experience brought with it an ambivalent attitude towards modernity within Islam. As a result two major forms of reaction developed: to adopt modernity as the very reason behind the West's conquering power. or to resent and reject modernity as a part of the West which had to be fought. These positions are represented by the Modernist and Neo-Modernist trends, and the Revivalist and Neo-Revivalist trends. This subject explains the background and the substance of these trends, as they revolve around Muslims" questioning of modernity on the one hand, and rediscovering Islam aas both an intrinsically modern culture in itself, and as an alternative to a westernising model of modernity.

Learning Outcomes:
  • critically evaluate conteporary political and social phenomena from a cross-cultural perspective.
  • develop concern for issues of cultural and political diversity.
  • examine conflicts of understanding and present these in a scholarly fashion.
  • have an understanding of the major challenges facing Islam and Muslims in the modern period.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the key issues related to the concept of modernity.
  • gain an overview of the historical circumstances behind much of the debate on Islam and modernity.
  • be familiar with the major philosophical and theological trends in Islamic thought.
Assessment: An essay of 2000 words 35% (due during the examination period) and a 3-hour written exam 65% (at the end of semester).
Prescribed Texts:

Materials prepared by the Institute.

Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • develop understanding of social, political, historical and cultural contexts and international awareness/openness to the world.
  • develop thinking in theoretical and analytical terms through lectures, tutorial discussions and essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences.
  • develop written communication through essay and assignment preparation and writing.
Notes: None.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Islamic Studies
150 Point Master of Islamic Studies
200 Point Master of Islamic Studies

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