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RELS320 Representing Islam

Representations of Islam in the West from the earliest times until the present with emphasis on enduring themes in the Western perception of Islam.

What comes to mind when you hear the word "Islam", or the word "Muslim"? Why? What do you know about how you came to associate some ideas (and not others) with those words? Many of the most prominent contemporary stereotypes about Islam and Muslims have long histories in the way Europeans and Christians have responded to what they knew of Islamic religion and Muslim peoples. This paper focuses on the ways in which Islam has been represented in the West, locating them within this longer historical tradition with the goal of understanding the implications of these discourses for contemporary relationships between Muslims and others.

We begin with an examination of the earliest encounters between Islam and the West, followed by a consideration of enduring themes that have been carried through to the contemporary period. Drawing on influential scholars such as Edward Said, Michel Foucault and Stuart Hall, we examine how Islam has been constructed as the West's "Other", whether as a site of sexual decadence to be civilised or as a military threat to be overcome. We will also contextualise contemporary representations of Islam - from newspaper reports to science fiction - within the legacies of colonialism, which helped produce these discourses.

Paper title Representing Islam
Paper code RELS320
Subject Religious Studies
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) 1st Non standard period (13 November 2017 - 16 December 2017), 1st Non standard period (13 November 2017 - 16 December 2017)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $851.85
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,585.00

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Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Notes
Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.
Course outline
View the course outline for RELS 220
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to
  • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the historical contexts in which Islam has been represented in the West
  • Identify the persistent themes in Western representations of Islam
  • Discuss the recent scholarly critique of those representations
  • Contextualise contemporary use of images of Islam in Europe within the longer history of Western representations of Islam
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the implications of the representations of Islam for recent debates in Islamic Studies
Contact
Associate Professor Will Sweetman: will.sweetman@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Keziah Wallis
Course Co-ordinator: Associate Professor Will Sweetman
Paper Structure
The paper is divided into five main modules to reflect the five teaching weeks. The modules weave together the historical overview of the major themes of representations of Islam in the West with some of the important theoretical issues arising from these representations, including the works of Michel Foucault, Edward Said and Stuart Hall. Throughout we will focus on enduring themes carried through from these early images into contemporary depictions in film and novels and their influence on - and reflection of - global politics.

Assessment:
  • Take-home tests (2) 5% each
  • Critical commentary essay 10%
  • Critical response to news article 10%
  • Essay 20%
  • Final exam (two hours) 50%
Teaching Arrangements
Five 1-hour lectures per week (for distance students, lectures will be recorded using Otago Capture).
Textbooks
There is no textbook. A course outline will be available in print and PDF form. All readings for the paper will be made available on eReserve, which may be accessed via Blackboard.

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Timetable

1st Non standard period (13 November 2017 - 16 December 2017)

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system
None

1st Non standard period (13 November 2017 - 16 December 2017)

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
None

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
L1 Monday 10:00-10:50 46-50
Tuesday 10:00-10:50 46-50
Wednesday 10:00-10:50 46-50
Thursday 10:00-10:50 46-50
Friday 10:00-10:50 46-50

Representations of Islam in the West from the earliest times until the present with emphasis on enduring themes in the Western perception of Islam.

What comes to mind when you hear the word "Islam", or the word "Muslim"? Why? What do you know about how you came to associate some ideas (and not others) with those words? Many of the most prominent contemporary stereotypes about Islam and Muslims have long histories in the way Europeans and Christians have responded to what they knew of Islamic religion and Muslim peoples. This paper focuses on the ways in which Islam has been represented in the West, locating them within this longer historical tradition with the goal of understanding the implications of these discourses for contemporary relationships between Muslims and others.

We begin with an examination of the earliest encounters between Islam and the West, followed by a consideration of enduring themes that have been carried through to the contemporary period. Drawing on influential scholars such as Edward Said, Michel Foucault and Stuart Hall, we examine how Islam has been constructed as the West's "Other", whether as a site of sexual decadence to be civilised or as a military threat to be overcome. We will also contextualise contemporary representations of Islam - from newspaper reports to science fiction - within the legacies of colonialism, which helped produce these discourses.

Paper title Representing Islam
Paper code RELS320
Subject Religious Studies
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) 1st Non standard period (12 November 2018 - 14 December 2018), 1st Non standard period (12 November 2018 - 14 December 2018)
Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2018 have not yet been set
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Prerequisite
One 200-level RELS paper
Restriction
RELS 220
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Notes
Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.
Course outline
View the course outline for RELS 320
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to
  • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the historical contexts in which Islam has been represented in the West
  • Identify the persistent themes in Western representations of Islam
  • Discuss the recent scholarly critique of those representations
  • Contextualise contemporary use of images of Islam in Europe within the longer history of Western representations of Islam
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the implications of the representations of Islam for recent debates in Islamic Studies
Paper Structure
The paper is divided into five main modules to reflect the five teaching weeks. The modules weave together the historical overview of the major themes of representations of Islam in the West with some of the important theoretical issues arising from these representations, including the works of Michel Foucault, Edward Said and Stuart Hall. Throughout we will focus on enduring themes carried through from these early images into contemporary depictions in film and novels and their influence on - and reflection of - global politics.

Assessment:
  • Take-home tests (2) 5% each
  • Critical commentary essay 10%
  • Critical response to news article 10%
  • Essay 20%
  • Final exam (two hours) 50%
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Keziah Wallis
Course Co-ordinator: Associate Professor Will Sweetman
Textbooks
There is no textbook. A course outline will be available in print and PDF form. All readings for the paper will be made available on eReserve, which may be accessed via Blackboard.
Teaching Arrangements
Five 1-hour lectures per week (for distance students, lectures will be recorded using Otago Capture).
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Contact
Associate Professor Will Sweetman: will.sweetman@otago.ac.nz

^ Top of page

Timetable

1st Non standard period (12 November 2018 - 14 December 2018)

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system
None

1st Non standard period (12 November 2018 - 14 December 2018)

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
None

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
L1 Monday 10:00-10:50 46-50
Tuesday 10:00-10:50 46-50
Wednesday 10:00-10:50 46-50
Thursday 10:00-10:50 46-50
Friday 10:00-10:50 46-50