A. Required Texts:
(1) McNeill and Waldman, ed., The Islamic World. University of Chicago Press, 1973.
(2) M.A.R. Habib, trans. and ed., An Anthology of Modern Urdu Poetry. MLA, 2003. ISBN: 9780873527972
(3) Packet of photocopied materials, available from Secretary of English Department.
(4) Additional online materials which students will be required to read, as instructed.
B. Aims of Course:
(1) to promote the student’s knowledge of major tendencies in the history of Islamic literature and thought;
(2) to develop the student’s abilities to engage in close, careful and critical reading of literary texts;
(3) to deepen the student’s awareness of the issues confronting the Islamic world in the present day.
C. Course Requirements:
(1) A journal [3 units] in which students will be asked to write entries on every text studied. It must be submitted twice, on Tuesday, Oct 21 and Thursday, Dec 4. Each entry must be written neatly and dated. The journal will be graded on: (a) thoroughness: each entry must show that you have read the text in question; (b) quality of thought and critical engagement with the text; (c) neatness of presentation; (d) promptness: you may be asked to read aloud from your journal in any given class. An incomplete journal will result in failure of the entire course.
(2) Two class presentations (1 unit each);
(3) A final examination [3 units]: Monday, December 15, 2:00-5:00.
(4) Class participation counts for 2 units. If you do not contribute to class discussion your grade will not be higher than a C. If you disrupt the class by talking or arriving late, you risk failing the entire course.
(5) Attendance: any unexcused absence will lower the student’s grade by one point, e.g. from D to D-.
Anyone missing an assignment, for whatever reason, should see me as soon as possible.
Weekly Class Schedule:
INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM:
Tue Sept 2-Thurs Sept 4: The first class will address in brief the following themes, which will receive fuller treatment during the semester: the historical background of the society in which Islam emerged; Islamic beliefs and practices; the historical development of Islamic thought and literature, emphasising the role of the Qur’an, Hadith(traditions or sayings of the prophet) and sunnah (the practice of the prophet); Islam’s broad connections with Judaism and Christianity; its economic, legal and political orientation; its attitude toward social issues, and the status of women.
UNIT I: ARABIC TEXTS:
Tue Sept 9: Selections from the Qur’an, Islamic World (IW), pp. 29-67; we will discuss the themes, tone and literary style of these passages.
Thu Sept 11: (1) Biography of the Messenger of God, IW, pp. 14-27; (2) The Hadith (the “Traditions” or “Sayings” of the prophet Muhammad): Extract from Mishkat-Ul-Masabih, Vol. I (an authentic collection): Ch. 7, “The Book of Knowledge,” pp. 133-143, Handout.
Tue Sept 16: (1) Selections from poets of the Abbasid Caliphate (749-1258), Abu Nuwas (c. 756-810), the greatest Arab poet of his time, whose verse defied religious orthodoxy, Abu al-Atahiyah (d. 828) and Dibil (d. 872), Handout; (2) Poems of al-Mutanabbi (915-955), IW, pp. 172-77.
Thu Sept 18: Modern poets: (1) Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998), Handout; (2) Adunis (b. 1930), Handout.
Tue Sept 23: Arab Women Writers: Hanan al-Shaykh (b. 1935), “A Season of Madness,” Handout.
Thu Sept 25: Arab Women Writers: Fatima Mernissi (b. 1940), “The Harem Within,” Handout.
B: PHILOSOPHY AND LAW:
Tue Sept 30: (1) al-Farabi (870-950), The Attainment of Happiness, IW, pp. 167-71; (2) selections from the Spanish Islamic thinker Ibn Hazm (994-1064): “The Dove’s Necklace” (a treatise on love) and “Philosophy of Character and Conduct” (passages entitled AFalling in Love@ and Anxiety@), Handout.
Thu Oct 2: (1) Shafi’i (767-820), Treatise, IW, pp. 136-42; (2) al-Ash’ari (875-935), The Elucidation of Islams Foundation, IW, pp. 152-66.
Tue Oct 7: (1) Texts of Sufism (Islamic mysticism): Selections from al-Hallaj (d. 922, crucified for his mystical claims); (2) extract from al-Kalabadhi, Sufi Sayings, Handout.
Thu Oct 9: (1) Poems and letters of al-Maa’rri (973-1057), expressing doubt and critique of formal religion, Handout; (2) The greatest Islamic theologian Al-Ghazzali (1058-1111), That Which Delivers from Error, IW, pp. 207-39.
(1) Ibn Tufayl, AAlone on a Desert Island,@ Handout; (2) Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), AGroup Solidarity,@ Handout.
UNIT II: PERSIAN LITERATURE:
Tue Oct 14: (1) Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, (d. 1123), Handout; (2) the greatest Persian Sufi poet Rumi (1207-1273), Mathnavi, Handout.
Thu Oct 16: (1) The theologically unorthodox poet Sa’di (c. 1184-1291), The Rose Garden, Handout; Ghazals of the mystic poet Hafez (c. 1320-1389), Handout.
Tue Oct 21: Modern Persian Poets: Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-1967), Handout; Reza Baraheni (b. 1935), Handout.
UNIT III: URDU LITERATURE:
Thu Oct 23: Selections from Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869), generally acknowledged as the greatest Urdu poet, Handout.
Tue Oct 28: Extracts from the greatest twentieth-century Urdu poet and thinker, Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1873-1938), The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam: Ch. VII: “Is Religion Possible?”, Handout.
Thu Oct 30: Selections from An Anthology of Modern Urdu Poetry.
UNIT IV: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES:
This section will attempt to provide a selection of various critical, textual, and historical perspectives toward Islam. The selections from each work will be about ten pages.
Tue Nov 4 – Thu Nov 6: (A) Orientalism and Western Approaches to Islam: (1) G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History (1899): Section on Islam, Handout. (2) Albert Hourani, Islam in European Thought (1991): Extract from Ch. I: “Islam in European Thought,” Handout.
Tue Nov 11: (B) Feminist Perspectives: (1) Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam (1992): Extract from Ch. 3: “Women and the Rise of Islam,” Handout.
Thu Nov 13: (C) Islam’s Relation to Western Ideas, Culture, and Institutions: (1) Aziz al-Azmeh, Islams and Modernities (1993): Ch. 7: “Islamic Studies and the European Imagination,” Handout.
Tue Nov 18: (2) Maxime Rodinson, Islam and Capitalism (1978): Extracts from Ch. 6: “Conclusions and Prospects,” Handout.
Thu Nov 20: (3) Bryan S. Turner, Weber and Islam (1974): Ch. 11: “Marx, Weber and Islam,” Handout.
Tue Nov 25: (4) Islam and the Media – Music; Islam and The Nation of Islam.
Thu Dec 2: (5) America and Islam; President Obama and Islam.
Thu Dec 4: (6) Islam and the Media – Television; Islam and the Media – YouTube.
Tue Dec 9: (7) Contemporary authors.
Monday, Dec 15: Final Examination, 2:00-5:00.
SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR RESEARCH/REFERENCE
Ahmed, Akbar S., and Hastings Donnan, eds. Islam, Globalization and Postmodernity. Routledge, 1994.
Allen, Roger. An Introduction to Arabic Literature. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Arberry, A.J. Classical Persian Literature. 1958; rpt. Curzon Press, 1994.
Beeston, A.F.L., T.M. Johnstone, R.B. Serjeant, and G.R. Smith. The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period. Cambridge University Press, 1983.
Gocek, Fatma Muge, and Shiva Balaghi, eds. Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East: Tradition, Identity, and Power. Columbia University Press, 1994.
Holt, P.M., Ann K.S. Lambton, and Bernard Lewis, eds. The Cambridge History of Islam: Vol 2A: The Indian Sub-Continent, South-East Asia, Africa and the Muslim West. 1970; rpt. Cambridge University Press, 1989.
———-, eds. The Cambridge History of Islam: Vol 2B: Islamic Society and Civilization. 1970; rpt. Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Hourani, Albert. A History of the Arab Peoples. Warner Books, 1991.
Rosenthal, Franz. The Classical Heritage in Islam. Routledge, 1992.
Wilson, Peter Lamborn. Sacred Drift: Essays on the Margins of Islam. City Lights Books, 1993.