Religion, Politics & Society
The course begins with a theoretical study of social and economic changes occasioned by emerging global networks and the advent of modernity, and their influences on the shaping of Islamic political culture. By the 19th century, a new religious landscape had already taken shape: Iran had become Shi'i, and religious and ethnic identities were conflated with political and national identities. Against this backdrop, Western encroachment, the genesis of resistance to the colonial order, and the primacy of sovereign states, began to subsume Islamic politics. The end of this period was marked by the domination of consciously constructed governance by the early 1900s, and an increasingly prominent role for merchants and professional classes in the political arena. The paradigm of "decline" has often been used to explain why modern nation states as in Europe did not appear in similar forms in the Islamic world (defined here as nations under Muslim rule). Rather than focusing on decline, this course pays close attention to the way Islamic societies changed in the temporal context of modernity, and how those transformations influenced their responses to Western encroachment, secularism, and nationalism. Authors include Amanat, Daniel, Mitchell, Quataert, Schulze, and Wickham.