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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42467 W
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
JGB 2.102

Course Description

What is the difference between Sunni and Shii Muslims? How is Christianity in Egypt different from Christianity in the West? Can one find a kosher butcher in Morocco? How do Muslims and Christians share political power in Lebanon? This upper-division survey course seeks to answer some of these questions. We will study the many and diverse religious communities of the contemporary Middle East, with a particular focus on religion as a marker of political affiliation and cultural identity. At the same time, we will give some time both to the historical origins of these communities and to their doctrinal/praxical particularities, particularly in the Middle Eastern context. A key objective of the course will be to utilize a comparative approach in order to explore our own conceptions of "religion." Although there is no prerequisite, a basic familiarities with Judaism, Christianity and Islam will prove helpful.

OPTIONAL: ARA 130D ARABIC ACROSS DISCIPLINES (42128) Students read and discuss Arabic language materials related to the subject matter of another designated course. For students enrolled in ISL 372 or MES 322K. PREREQUISITE: ARA 420L (OR 320L).

Grading Policy

Undergraduate: 4 quizzes - 8% each (32% total); Midterm exam - 20%; Final exam - 28%; Class attendance - 14%; Class participation - 6%..


Undergraduate: Possible Texts: Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World, by Nazih Ayubi; The Druze in the Middle East, by Nissim Dana; The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa, by Simon et al; Who are the Christians in the Middle East? by the Baileys


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