Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Islam and Modernity
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay  60%
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word book review  20%
Semester Assessment Seminar Presentation  20%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500 word book review  20%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500 article reivew in lieu of seminar participation  20%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Describe and compare the different theoretical approaches to understanding Islam and modernity.
  • Critically assess the different theoretical approaches to Orientalism and the Eurocentric notion of modernity.
  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the relationship between Islam, identity and modernity.
  • Discuss the historical and contemporary problems facing the Islamic world and the West.
  • Analyse the extent to which the West has fulfilled/is fulfilling the promotion of secularism and democracy in the Islamic world.
  • Discuss and evaluate the Islamic countries' responses to contemporary global challenges (e.g. radicalisation, Islamophobia and Islamic fundamentalism).
  • Discuss and evaluate the neo-Orientalist view of Islam in Western media.
  • Demonstrate through written work and seminar discussion an ability to evaluate different theories of Western modernity as they relate to the understanding of Islam.


The module aims to give students: i) an advanced understanding of Islam as a faith, identity and ideology; ii) a critical awareness about the historical experience of colonialism and Western modernity in Muslim societies and; iii) a detailed knowledge of the contemporary challenges encountering both the Islamic world and the West. Through examining how modernity progresses in practice, as well as some of the historical processes it has engaged in non-Western contexts, students will be expected to critically assess the theoretical approaches throughout the course, and encouraged to develop their own answers to some of the questions which have been central to theorising on the relationship between Islam and modernity including: Is Islam compatible with the key values and concepts of Western modernity? Can there be a Muslim democracy? Is it possible to be a secular Muslim?

Brief description

This module explores the relationship between Islam and modernity and relations between the Muslim world and the West in the 21st century. It particularly focuses on some of the contemporary challenges encountering the Western modernity in the context of Islam and enables students to reflect on the concepts of Orientalism, Eurocentricism, identity, religion and culture in postcolonial studies. There is no prerequisite, and the module is available to students in all degree schemes.


1 Introduction: Islam and IR
2 Islam and the West
3 Modernity and Eurocentric history
4 Alternative modernities
5 Orientalism Reconsidered
6 Islam, Identity and Culture
7 Islam and Women
8 Islamic Fundamentalism
9 Islamophobia and Neo-orientalism
10 Conclusion: Modernising Islam?

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. Fellow students will be encouraged to question the paper-giver to critique their approach or to suggest areas for the development of the chosen topic; in turn each will discuss the contributions and ideas of the other.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as BIDS and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of two essays will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills The submission of two essays will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module. Ability to evaluate competing perspectives. Demonstrate subject specific research techniques. Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems.
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.


This module is at CQFW Level 7