Module Leader Dr Larbi Sadiki
Module Code: 1LIB421
In recent years the Islamic world has emerged from the shadows of historical obscurity to present a major economic, political, religious and cultural challenge to the west. The supposed conflict between the western world and Islam dominates the headlines, and yet 'political Islam' remains an enigma to many people, who prefer the stereotypes of terrorism and fanaticism, to knowledge and understanding.
This module aims to equip students to re-read the existing scholarship, which on the whole oversimplifies a very complex reality. It introduces the student to a number of tools of analysis and interpretation, obliging them to engage with the topic at a deeper level. Another aim is to study the phenomenon of 'political Islam' through relevant cases studies. Examples for empirical analysis include the following: the de-territorialised use of violence in the name of 'Jihad' by Al-Qaida; Hizbullah's involvement in both legal and organised political activity as well as the violent engagement of Israel; Hamas's quest for statehood and its brand of political activism, ideology, and violence and the Muslim Brotherhood movement's aspiration to wed Islam to polity, society, economy
By the end of the module, students are expected to be able to:
· demonstrate knowledge and understanding of ‘Political Islam’ and of ‘Muslim Politics’;
· show evidence of relevant reading and evaluation of contemporary ‘Islamist Politics’ in
relation to contradictory processes of ‘integration’ and ‘fragamentation’, and of
‘democratisation’ and ‘radicalisation’;
· demonstrate awareness of the variety of ‘Political ‘islams’, with an understanding of the
phenomenon through an ability to evaluate the range of alternative interpretations and
· recognise and explain the complexity of contexts, political dynamics and relationships at
work that give rise to ‘extremists’ and to ‘moderates’;
· begin to develop analytical and interpretative skills on issues related to ‘Political Islam’,
equipping learners to communicate findings in written and oral form.
The module will address, inter alia: the de-territorialised use of violence in the name of 'Jihad' by Al- Qaida; Hizbullah's involvement in both legal and organised political activity as well as the violent engagement of Israel; Hamas's quest for statehood and its brand of political activism, ideology, and violence and the Muslim Brotherhood movement's aspiration to wed Islam to polity, society, economy and modernity.
Teaching and Learning Methods
The module is delivered via lectures and seminars. Lectures last for approximately one hour, and provide key knowledge and interpretations upon which students will build with their own reading. Seminars are based on group presentations, encouraging teamwork. They allow student-led discussion of set questions, thus providing opportunities for supervised group work, problem-solving, application of concepts and theories and other forms of student interaction.
The module is assessed via coursework. Coursework consists of an essay (2,500 words) and a group presentation (25 minutes).
Assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and
understanding of ‘Political Islam’. In addition, it is intended to allow students to demonstrate the key skills of literacy and ability to argue a case, of interpretation and analysis, of synthesis and evaluation of evidence. Students will also demonstrate the ability to work together, and to communicate knowledge and understanding in oral and written form.
Assessment Methods and Weightings
The module is assessed via coursework:
· A 2,500-word essay: 70%
· A group presentation (25 minutes): 30%
For the group presentation, students are expected to demonstrate that they can:
· work effectively as part of a group, which includes the allocation of individual
· research an assignment set by the class tutor
· construct and conduct an effective oral presentation as a group, using PowerPoint;
· stimulate class discussion and respond to queries.
For the essay, students are expected to demonstrate that they can:
· attempt a question on a variety of key issues related to ‘Political Islam’ and define key
· formulate and structure an argument which directly addresses and answers the question set and which is based upon knowledge imparted in class and through readings;
· draw on the relevant scholarship, showing more than one perspective;
· have a voice and demonstrate ability for independent thinking, instead of relying on quotes and borrowed ideas; and
· communicate effectively in good written English, producing an essay that is readable,
coherent and well-researched.
Dale Eickelman &
The Search for Arab Democracy (New York: Columbia University Press,
2004). Also published in the UK by Hurst Publishers.
Muslim Politics (Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 2004).
Moderate and Radical Islamic Fundamentalism (Gainsville: University
Press of Florida, 1999).
Bassam Tibi The challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World
Disorder (California: California University Press, 2002).
Richard Bonney &
Jihad: From Qur’an to Bin Laden (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan,
John L. Esposito
Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama Bin Laden (London:
Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2001).
The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality (New York: Oxford University
Islam and the Myth of Confrontation: Religion and Politics in the
Middle East (London: I.B.Tauris, 1995).
Hizbullah: Politics & Religion (London: Pluto Press, 2002).
Shaul Mishal The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence and Co-Existence (New York:
Columbia University Press, 2000).
From Secularism to Jihad: Sayyid Qutb and the Foundations of Radical
Islamism (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2005).
Globalised Islam: The Search for a new Umma (London: Hurst
Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978).
Middle East Journal
Middle Eastern Politics
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Journal of Palestine Studies
Middle East Policy
Arab Studies Quarterly
Date of Initial Validation: April 2007
Date of CASG Approved Modifications:
Date of Revalidation/Review April 2014