Islam and political ideologies

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This module traces the emergence of contemporary political theories within the Islamic worlds from the nineteenth century until the present. To that end, both the political philosophy of prominent Islamic thinkers and the specific historical circumstances they were writing in, will be examined. The seminar thus investigates the epistemology of contemporary Islam, developing a critical disposition towards Islamic political theories along the way. On the one side, it explores the range of socio-economic, gender, political and cultural theories that transcend terms such as “Islamism”, “political Islam” and “Islamic fundamentalism”. On the other side, it explains the intellectual habitat out of which movements such as HAMAS, Islamic Jihad, Hesbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic revolution in Iran emerged. At the end of the seminar, students will have acquired a thorough and critical understanding of the inter-relationship between contemporary Islamic theories, state power, societal emancipation, gender relations and world politics.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Introduction to theoretical concepts, questions of causality, and critical comparative approaches to Islam.
  • Understanding between the nexus of ideology and religious ordinances.
  • Understanding of the relevance of theory, methodology and epistemology for the understanding of Islamic politics.
  • Appreciation of the interplay of cultural, socio-economic, gender and political factors in the construction of Islamic paradigms.
  • Understanding for the pre-conditions of Islamic democracy in the contemporary Muslim worlds.
  • Understanding of the importance of a critical and interdisciplinary approach to political theories.
  • Development of a range of transferable skills, including independent study- and communication skills and interdisciplinary- and critical analysis skills.
  • Introduction to the contemporary canons of Islamic political theory
  • Understanding of the inter-relationship between Islamic philosophy, ideology, politics and Islamic modernity.
  • Understanding of the intellectual tenets enveloping political movements such as HAMAS, Hesbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Understanding of the functions of Islam in the Iranian context.
  • Introduction into “Islamic feminism”.
  • Development of methodically structured oral and written arguments relating to Islamic political theory.
  • Advancement of critical theoretical judgements at an advanced level.


  • 2 hour seminar per week

Method of assessment

Assessment is 100% Coursework, comprising one 4000 word essay – all coursework is resubmissable.


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