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Islam and Society


Admission requirements

  • Students of the BA programme Midden-Oostenstudies

  • 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 BA Midden-Oostenstudies Timetable minor Islam

Mode of instruction

Lecture and Seminar.

  • Lecture
    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.

  • Seminar
    Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

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

Assessment method


  • Participation and oral presentations

  • Midterm

  • Paper

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.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average:
Participation and oral presentations (20%), Midterm (30%), Paper (50 %)


There is no resit for the presentation or the midterm. The paper is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

  • Bowen, J.R. (2012) A new Antropology of Islam. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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



Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. C. Strava