Islam and Democracy

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This final year module provides a philosophical and empirical introduction to contemporary debates regarding the compatibility of Islam and democracy. It also encourages a critical re-examination of these debates through:

  1. a discussion of Muslim scholarship (and practice) pertaining to the specification and interpretation of Islamic law, the role of religious and political opposition, and the status of the individual in political and social life, as well as
  2. a careful recapitulation of these debates in the context of well-known texts prepared by non-Muslim democratic theorists, all of whom have addressed the meaning of “law,” the role of “opposition,” and the political status of the “individual” (as well as the relationship between religion and politics in general) in some detail.

The module concludes with a series of case studies drawn from South and Southeast Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe (including, for example, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, India and France).

This module is capped at 30 students.


153400020 - Government and Politics of South Asia OR 153400060 - Government and Politics of the Middle East .

NB Students who have not taken one of the pre-requisites for this module, and who wish to apply directly to the module convenor for permission to enrol, should do so after the start of the first teaching week of term 1. As such you are strongly advised to enrol for a different module, and to wait until the first teaching week of term before enquiring as to whether last-minute enrolment might be possible.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Through lectures, critical reading, and informed discussion, this module will enable students to evaluate and engage ongoing debates regarding Islam and democracy from a theoretical as well as an empirical standpoint. Their essays will develop their cognitive skills and prepare them to write analytically- as students and future professionals- about an issue with considerable significance in the study of comparative politics, political philosophy, public policy, and modern diplomacy.


  • 2 hour seminar per week

Method of assessment

Assessment consists of four essays:

  • AS1 - 1,500 words, 20% of the grade
  • AS2 - 1,500 words, 25% of the grade
  • AS3 - 1,500 words, 20% of the grade
  • AS4 - 1,750 words, 35% of the grade


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