Spring 2016 - HIST 469 E100

Islamic Social and Intellectual History (4)

Class Number: 4210

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 200, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: one of HIST 249 or 352.



Advanced analysis of specific problems in Islamic social and intellectual history, with an emphasis on traditional patterns and on their transformation in the modern world.


A Martian visitor in the 16th century “might well have supposed that the human world was on the verge of becoming Muslim,” observed the historian Marshall Hodgson in surveying the civilizational thriving of the Ottomans, Mughals and Safavids. What drove this rise, and the very different modernity that came to pass? We will explore cultural, political, economic, spiritual and scientific themes in the making of Muslim societies and civilizations — beyond the traditional focus on the Arab Middle East, and including the Euro-North American diaspora. How have communities of women and men shaped, and been shaped by, ideas which lie at the heart of “Islamic” dispositions? Is the secular-religious divide a useful tool of understanding? What do we learn from the multitude of historical encounters with other faith traditions, including the Judeo-Christian and Hindu-Buddhist, into modernity? Our survey will draw on multimedia resources in covering such features of the landscapes of Muslim history as the umma (community), the city, gender, ethics and justice, learning, art, charity, and jihad (striving). These have been invoked and transformed by Muslim communities — Shi’a and Sunni alike — amidst the interplay of colonialism, technology, nationalism, globalization, and identity politics into the post-9/11 era.


  • Readings Reports 40%
  • Presentations 20%
  • Participation 10%
  • Final Paper 30%


Active participation in class is expected, with attendance in all sessions. Weekly readings for class discussion/presentation will be assigned on the basis of working groups formed at  the outset.  Three short reports that provide an analysis of selected readings are required.  The final essay (3000 words) will be based on a selection of topics from the course.



Ira Lapidus. A History of Islamic Societies. 3rd ed (pbk). Cambridge University Press, 2014 (ISBN 0521732972).                                                     

Further readings will be posted on the Canvas site.

Library Reserves: J. Esposito, ed. The Oxford History of Islam (1999, e-book); A. Sajoo, ed. A Companion to the Muslim World (2009); J. Kenney & E. Moosa, eds. Islam in the Modern World (2014); A. Rippin, ed. The Islamic World (2011); A. Singer, Charity in Islamic Societies (2008).                    

Registrar Notes:

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Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html