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Islam and Society


Admission requirements

This course is intended primarily for students of the minor Islam: Religion and Society, and for students of the BA programmes Midden-Oostenstudies (track Islamstudies) and Religiewetenschappen. Other interested students should gain the lecturer’s permission to follow the course.


This course offers an overview of the multiple ways in which Islam, as a performative, is lived in Muslim majority and minority contexts. It treats interpretative resources and social practices of Muslims in relation to the wider social conditions. Topics include: law, marriage, gender, dress, food, music, circumcision, charity, and migration. A field trip to a mosque forms part of the course.

Course objectives

After successfully completing the course, the student is able:

  • to recognize how theoretical perspectives, concepts and methods in the anthropology of Islam shape our understanding of how Islam is lived in various societies;

  • to provide an in-depth overview of interpretative resources and social practices of Muslims in relation to wider social conditions;

  • to conduct a critical literature review of a given topic within the study of Islam and society;

  • to report about it orally and in writing.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture and Seminar

Attendance is not obligatory for lectures. The conveners do not need to be informed in case of missed classes. Information and knowledge provided in the lectures greatly contribute to the subsequent courses of the programme. In order to pass the course, students are strongly advised to attend all sessions.

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The course is offered as part of a full-time program of studies, and therefore work commitments, holidays, or overseas travel do not constitute valid reasons for absence. The lecturer should be informed in writing of any classes to be missed for a valid reason (i.e., due to unforeseen circumstances that are beyond the student’s control, such as documented illness, family bereavement, problems with residence permits, victim of crime, or railway delays). In case of a justified absence, it is up to the Lecturer to decide whether the missed class should be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Please note that you are required to provide documentation that supports your case for absence where possible. Absence without notification and approval could result in a grade deduction, or in work not being marked and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. It is assumed that students' work is their own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations). Students may not substantially reuse any work they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.
Assignment(s) must be submitted to Brightspace through Turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.


Partial Assessment Weighing
Participation and reading assignments 40% of final grade
Oral presentation of the final paper 10% of final grade
Final paper (1,500 words) 50% of final grade

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Students who submitted their assignments on time but scored an overall insufficient grade are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given the chance to hand in a second version of the final paper.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

John R. Bowen. A New Antropology of Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
A full list of readings per meeting will be posted on Brightspace.


Enrolment for students of the BA programmes Midden-Oostenstudies (track Islamstudies) and Religiewetenschappen through My Studymap is mandatory.
Minor Islam students and BA Midden-Oostenstudies (track Islamstudies) will be registered by the Education Administration Office de Vrieshof one week prior to the start of the first semester.
Admitted students from other programmes will be registered by the Education Administration Office de Vrieshof one week prior to the start of the first semester.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: De Vrieshof.


Not applicable