Islam and Politics

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

The module examines the interaction between politics and the various expressions of Islam in the modern period. It is organised around three main themes:

  1. Islam in Western scholarship, with a focus on theories, concepts and methodologies used to study Islam and Muslim societies.
  2. Islam as a social and political force in the contemporary period. Here, we will focus on those social and political movements and parties that actively affirm and promote prescriptions, laws, or policies that are held to be Islamic in character, often, though not necessarily, organised around the idea of establishing the Islamic state. We will examine the emergence of these movements as well as their ideologies, political philosophies, discourses, normative frameworks, and modes of action.
  3. An exploration of alternative readings of the interaction between Islam and politics.  We will explore recent scholarship and research from the disciplines of Anthropology, Sociology, Comparative Political Theory, Islamic Studies, International Relations and Cultural Studies to come to a more dynamic understanding of Islamic/ist discourses and practices in their diversity.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  1. Gain knowledge of the main theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the interplay of Islamic traditions and politics.
  2. Gain knowledge of key conceptual issues in the study of Islamist politics.
  3. Acquire analytical tools to rethink the concepts and approaches used to understand Islamist politics.


This module is taught in the form of one weekly 2-hour seminar.

Scope and syllabus

Syllabus Plan
  1. Methodological and Theoretical Issues in the Study of Muslim Societies
  2. Islamist Movements: Frameworks for Understanding
  3. Islamist Ideologies
  4. Islamic Governments
  5. Islamist Movements in Comparative Perspective
  6. Reading week
  7. Islam, Modernity and Globalisation
  8. New Religious Movements: Salafism and ‘Pop Islam’
  9. Transnational Islam
  10. Islam and Gender Politics
  11. The Fortunes of Islamism

Method of assessment

Assessment is 50% coursework (one 2,500 word essay) and 50% unseen examination. All coursework is resubmissible.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules