Sufism in Islamic History

Course Description: 

Sufism – often referred to as Islamic mysticism - is one of the major traditions of asceticism, piety, and scholarship that has evolved in the lands shaped by Muslim rule and/or the practice of Islam. It is also a key nexus for European intellectual life and the Islamic world, inspiring curiosity as well as revulsion and forming one of the most enticing exotic elements of Islam for western intellectuals. This course will examine Sufi traditions with a focus on the social, material, and political aspects of Sufi orders. Emphasis will be placed on the modern and early modern periods and the question of what role trends in global history and everyday history play in our understanding of the topic. Students will gain an understanding of the history of scholarship in the field as well examine significant recent contributions to the literature.

Learning Outcomes: 

To understand the origins and evolution of Sufism
-To debate and reflect upon recent scholarship
-To explore the social and material history of Sufism
-To develop research, writing and presentations skills


Course Components and Grading
Paper (brief biography of Sufi figure - 2,500
Words) 40%
Presentations 30%
In class synopsis 10%
Participation/Attendance 20%