Histories and Cultures of Muslim Societies
This program focuses on the histories, literatures, philosophy, religious thought, and legal institutions of Muslim societies. Its primary strength lies in the coverage of a broad range of fields of study in pre-modern and modern periods, particularly with regard to Islamic civilizations in the Near and Middle East. As a result of a growing recognition that the study of Islam and Muslim societies must embrace wider, more inclusive study of the diverse ethnic, racial and religious groups that have been constituents of Muslim cultures in different parts of the world, the program also provides students the opportunity to engage in the comparative study of Muslim societies, particularly in South Asia and Africa and their complex connections with the Near East.
The graduate program in Histories and Cultures of Muslim Societies (HCMS) includes the following subfields:
- Arabic language and literature
- Islam in South Asia
- Islamic Philosophy and Theology
- Modern Middle East Studies
- Persian language and literature
- Quranic studies
Upon enrollment in the PhD program, a NELC student specializing in HCMS selects one of these subfields as their specialization. They should then take at least four courses listed under that subfield, and four courses spread over three of the other subfields. All NELC graduate students are encouraged to take at least one course on the Modern Middle East and at least one course whose focus is the Islamic world outside the Middle East.
All NELC PhD students specializing in HCMS must, by the end of their second year, have taken either two fourth-year level courses in Arabic OR two third-year level courses in Persian.
Current courses in the mentioned subfields are listed below. Please note that other courses may be recognized as fulfilling the requirements, though the student’s advisor should be consulted about course choices in advance.
1) Arabic language and literature
2) Islam in South Asia
ISLAMCIV 178: Muslim Societies in South Asia: Religion, Culture and Identity
ISLAMCIV 184/RELIGION 1814: Muslim Devotional Literatures of South Asia; Qawwali, Sufiana Kalam, and the Ginans
ISLAMCIV 178: Being Muslim in South Asia: Religion, Culture and Identity
ISLAMCIV 241R: Approaches to Studying Islam in South Asia
3) Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Mysticism
RELIGION 1802: Introduction to Islamic Mystical Traditions
RELIGION 1816/ ISLAMCIV186: Ismaili History and Thought
Ali S. Asani, Murray A. Alberston Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures
Khaled El-Rouayheb, James Richard Jewett Professor of Islamic Intellectual History, Chair of the Department
William E. Granara, Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment
Justine Landau, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Shady Nasser, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Malika Zeghal, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in Contemporary Islamic Thought and Life, Director of Graduate Studies