Post 9/11 Immigration Policies
Elizabeth OuYang
Call Number: 18284
Since September 11, 2001, there has been an avalanche of immigration enforcement policies and initiatives proposed or implemented under the guise of national security. This course will analyze the domino effect of the Patriot Act, the Absconder Initiative, Special Registration, the Real I.D. Act, border security including the building of the 700 mile fence along the U.S./Mexico border, Secured Communities Act-that requires the cooperation of state and local authorities in immigration enforcement, the challenge to birthright citizenship, and now the congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization. Have these policies been effective in combating the war on terrorism and promoting national security? Who stands to benefit from these enforcement strategies? Do immigrant communities feel safer in the U.S.? How have states joined the federal bandwagon of immigration enforcement or created solutions to an inflexible, broken immigration system?
Central Questions in Islamic Law
Wael Hallaq
Call Number: 18523
Through detailed discussions of certain landmarks in Islamic legal history (e.g., origins; early formation; sources of law; intellectual make-up; the workings of court; legal change; women in the law; legal effects of colonialism; modernity and legal reform, etc.), the course aims at providing an introductory but integrated view of Islamic law, a definition, so to speak, of what it was/is.
Intro to Islamic Civilization
George Saliba
Call Number: 71784
Islamic civilization and its characteristic political, social, and religious institutions and intellectual traditions from its pre-Islamic Arabian setting to the present. Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic political, social, and religious institutions and intellectual traditions.
Science Across Cultures
George Saliba
Call Number: 68809
Prerequisites: Enrollment limited. Open to seniors and some qualified juniors. Priority given to seniors. Development of scientific thought from various cultures and from antiquity till the time of the European Renaissance. Provides examples of the process by which scientific thinking has developed and illustrates that although science may not have always developed in a linear fashion, the problems science was called upon to solve exhibited a continuity that crossed cultural, linguistic, and religious borders.
Contemporary Islamic Civilization
George Saliba
Call Number: 25407
Lecture and recitation. No previous study of Islam is required. The contemporary Islamic world studied through freshly translated texts; recorded interviews with religious, political, and intellectual leaders; and films highlighting the main artistic and cultural currents. Topics include religion and society, religion and politics, issues of development, theories of government, gender issues, East-West confrontation, theatre, arts, films, poetry, music, and the short novel.
Shi’ism
Najam Haider
Call Number: 04812
This course offer a survy of Shīism with a particular focus on the “Twelvers” or “Imāmīs.” It begins by examining the interplay between theology and the core historical narratives of Shīi identity and culminates with an assessment of the jarring impact of modernity on religious institutions/beliefs.
Postcolonial Theory
Hamid Dabashi
Call Number: 67548
This course will go over some philosophical and interpretative problems raised by recent works in a field described as “postcolonial theory”. It will start with the original debates about “Orientalism” – particularly its critical arguments about the question of representation of the Orient in art and literature, the question of the writing of history, and the logic of basic concepts in the social sciences. The course will analyse some “Orientalist” texts in detail, assess the criticisms offered by postcolonial writers, and take up these three problems – of representation, history and conceptualization for detailed, rigorous critical discussion.
Arabia Imagined
Brinkley Messick
Call Number: 89694
This course explores Arabia as a global phenomenon. It is organized around primary texts read in English translation. The site of the revelation of the Quran and the location of the sacred precincts of Islam, Arabia is the destination of pilgrimage and the direction of prayer for Muslims worldwide. It also is the locus of cultural expression ranging from the literature of the 1001 Nights to the broadcasts of Al Jazeera. We begin with themes of contemporary youth culture and political movements associated with the Arab Spring. Seminar paper.
The Ethnographic Imagination
Lila Abu-Lughod
Call Number: 17647
Introduction to the theory and practice of ethnography the intensive study of peoples lives as shaped by social relations, cultural images, and historical forces. Considers through critical reading of various kinds of texts (classic ethnographies, histories, journalism, novels, films) the ways in which understanding, interpreting, and representing the lived words of people at home or abroad, in one place or transnationally, in the past or the present can be accomplished.
Rethinking Middle Eastern Politics
Timothy Mitchell
Call Number: 15016
This course examines a set of questions that have shaped the study of the politics of the modern Middle East. It looks at the main ways those questions have been answered, exploring debates both in Western academic scholarship and among scholars and intellectuals in the region itself. For each question, the course offers new ways of thinking about the issue or ways of framing it in different terms. The topics covered in the course include: the kinds of modern state that emerged in the Middle East and the ways its forms of power and authority were shaped; the birth of economic development as a way of describing the function and measuring the success of the state, and the changing metrics of this success; the influence of oil on the politics of the region; the nature and role of Islamic political movements; the transformation of the countryside and the city and the role of rural populations and of urban protest in modern politics; and the politics of armed force and political violence in the region, and the ways in which this has been understood. The focus of the course will be on the politics of the twentieth century, but many topics will be traced back into developments that occurred in earlier periods, and several will be explored up to the present. The course is divided into four parts, each ending with a paper or exam in which participants are asked to analyze the material covered. Each part of the course has a geographical focus on a country or group of countries and a thematic focus on a particular set of questions of historical and political analysis.
Major Texts: Middle East/India
Hossein Kamaly
Call Number: 05239
AHUM V3399 and V3400 form a sequence, but either may be taken separately. V3399 may also be taken as part of a sequence with AHUM V3830. Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern and Indian origin. Readings include the Qur’an, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, Indian epics and drama, and Gandhi’s Autobiography.
Discovering Existence
Souleymane Diagne
Call Number: 61636
A study of the theme of human existence confronted with the infinite universe of modern science (Descartes, Pascal), with the proliferation of existence (Sartre), with the absurd (Camus), with the other (Levinas).

Departmental Resources for Islamic Studies

Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Barnard Courses for Race & Ethnic Studies
Liberal Studies Program in Islamic Studies
Islamic Law Research Guide
The Middle East Institute
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York