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Islam and Society


Admission requirements

  • Students of the BA programme Midden-Oostenstudies, who have successfully completed the propedeutic exam or

  • Students of the minor Islam: Religion and Society, who have successfully completed the propedeutic exam of an (Academic) Bachelor programme.


This course focuses the multiple meanings that Muslims give to Islam in their daily lives, in Muslim majority countries as well as in the West. We will study Islam as a social practice, which brings us to relate beliefs and practices of Muslims to the social conditions in which they live. Hence, diversity and comparison are central issues. We will also devote ample attention to history, also in order to understand current situations better.

Course objectives

The course will lead to a solid understanding of Islam as a social practice, and the tools (theories, concepts, methods) that scholars in the humanities and social sciences have developed to come to this understanding.
Students will learn how to critically engage with scholarly work in the field and how to prepare to do some research themselves eventually.
Another major aim is to contribute critically to the public debate about Islam and Muslims in present societies by writing informed essays according to academic standards.


Timetable minor Islam: Religion and Society

Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars.
Participation in the seminars is compulsory.

Course Load

140 hours:
Lectures and seminars 26 h
Studying literature 50 h
Assignments (essays and paper) 64 h



Assessment method

Students will be graded on the basis of three assignments:
1. Attendance, presentation, and participation in the seminar (20%).
2. Two short essays (30%). Each student will submit a 5-7 page paper (1250-1750 words) on one of the weekly assignments. This partial examination may not be rewritten.
3. Paper. Each student will write a 2500-3000 words paper in consultation with the instructor. This component constitutes 50% of the final grade.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. Students receiving an overall grade of 5.49 (=5) or lower, will be allowed to rewrite their final paper (3) (50%).
The course is an integrated whole. The final examination and the assignments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

Reading list

  • John R. Bowen, 2012, A New Anthropology of Islam, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

  • A full list of readings will be provided on Blackboard.



Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof. dr. L.P.H.M. (Léon) Buskens