Hello, again, and again, readers!
This is the class blog of Islam and Modernity. The course has now been offered thrice, so here you’ll find posts from REL195A in Fall 2015, REL196A in Spring 2018 and, most recently, under its permanent course number REL133 posts from Fall 2019. The posts represent the semester-long research projects of two excellent classes with reasonably similar syllabi. Though, full disclosure, this course has never repeated the same syllabus.
Differing readings aside, in each iteration, our course took as its premise that both “Islam” and “modernity” are not fixed categories with fixed definitions, but rather, terms in flux, defined operationally by a myriad actors (scholars, activists, imperial and colonial agents, journalists, practitioners, clergy, & etc.). Our goals included examining how “Islam” and “modernity” were defined in opposition to, alongside, and co-constitutively of each other in historically and geographically rooted cases.
As part of a scaffolded research project, students were asked to develop a question and topic, bibliography, and final project in the context of one of these historical and geographic locations, using sources we’d read in class as well as those they’d found through individual research. Additionally, each student was to find an image that either drove their blog post or complimented it. We were all served by the amazing Patricia Mardeusz (UVM Librarian/one of the best people on campus) who met with students and crafted a research guide for us in Spring 2018 and another one in Fall 2019.
I hope you’ll read through! Posts address theoretical concepts like power, privilege, race, secularism, and identity as well as studies of literature, veiling, post-colonial nation-state boundaries, law, and fashion, among other topics. I’m pleased with our conversations, the research results students achieved, and their willingness to distill that research into blog-sized morsels.
It is important to note (as I did here) that this blog is maintained by me; posts have been edited in conjunction with student peer revisions and professor revisions. Views are those of their authors, and not my own, the Department of Religion’s, or the University’s.
Contact me with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst