Making sense of Islamism as an ideology

Theme for MES4500 spring 2016

Course content

Islamism is commonly defined as activism with the aim of establishing an Islamic state of some kind. However, Islamism is also a framework for understanding the world, or several related, but different such frameworks. This course focuses on the ideational aspect of Islamism: What are the foundational ideas that inform Islamist activism? How to make sense of the different forms of political and social activism informed by Islamist ideology? Is it at all possible to talk about Islamism as an ideology, or as a political theory? Through this course you will gain a bird’s-eye view of Islamism as an ideology, as you study the ideas of the major Islamist intellectuals across time and space and engage with critical analyses of their message. Islamist movements are often analysed in sociological terms, where the questions of mobilization, organizational strategies and communication have been emphasized. These are important concerns, but in this course we take the central issue of ideology seriously, developing an in-depth understanding of the Islamist world-view and comparing it to others.

Learning outcome

  • To make sense of similarities and differences and how it is possible to talk about Islamism as one phenomenon despite the variety of movements and directions subsumed under this label.
  • Through engaging with original texts written by Islamists you will gain in-depth knowledge about specific movements and figures such as Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and Ayatollah Khomeini and the organizations they led and inspired.
  • The course includes comparative approaches that view the thought system of Islamism as an inherent part of modernity, rather than as an Islamic “exception”.
  • How and why Islamist ideas have a wide societal impact in the Middle East and elsewhMaking sense of Islamism as an ideologyere, far beyond those activists who may properly be called “Islamists”. 
Publisert 20. nov. 2019 10:55 - Sist endret 20. nov. 2019 10:55