Department of Religious Studies

S. Akbar Hyder

Ph.D., Harvard University

Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies



Islam in South Asia | religious aesthetics in South Asia and the Middle East


R S 358 • Sufism & Islamic Mysticism

44260 • Fall 2014
Meets T 400pm-700pm CLA 0.126
(also listed as ANS 340, HIS 364G, ISL 340, MES 342)

This class explores Sufism and other Islamic mystical traditions as they infused cultural milieus spanning four continents and fourteen centuries. The first half of the semester will focus on the historical developments in Islamic theosophical traditions of the Arab and Persian worlds. We will concentrate on the prose and verse traditions tied to Ali b. Abi Talib, Jafar as-Sadiq, Mansur al-Hallaj, Rabia al-Basri, Suhrawardi Maqtul, Ibn Arabi, Ibn al-Farid, Sanai, Attar, and Rumi. In the second half of the semester, we will move to a discussion of Islamic mysticisms' growth over time and beyond the porous borders of Arabia and Iran. The relationship between Sufism and modernism, Sufism and colonialism, and Sufism and post-colonial resistance movements will also constitute a significant part of this course. Issues of gender, sexuality, globalization and pluralism will be discussed throughout the semester. This class assumes no prior knowledge of Islam.

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

44175 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 300pm-430pm WCH 1.120
(also listed as HIS 306N, ISL 310)

This course will facilitate an understanding of the multiple ways in which Islam is interpreted and practiced from Asia to North America. In doing so, we will explore the most important debates concerning justice, law, authority, gender, sexuality, and the environment. We will situate these debates in the larger socio-political historical and regional contexts. The course is taught with the assumption that the students enrolled in it have little or no knowledge about the faith and its practices. Also, the objective of this course is to expose students to a cross-cultural survey of Islam by drawing out the concords as well as the discords within the tradition. Grading:3 Exams: 90% (October 7, November 4, Final Exam)Attendance & Pop Quizzes: 10%Readings:Roy Mottahedeh, The Mantle of the ProphetFrederick Denny, An Introduction to Islam (Fourth Edition)Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad MuslimKecia Ali, Sexual Ethics and Islam Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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