Interdisciplinary Studies

Muslim Cultures

Jason Freitag, Associate Professor and Coordinator

The Muslim cultures minor promotes a study of Muslims and Islam in order to facilitate a critical and constructive engagement with issues that affect Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The point of this engagement is to prepare students to face the challenges of living in a multireligious, multiracial, and multicultural world.

Specifically, the minor's goals are to encourage, allow, and facilitate

  1. the College's mission to encourage teaching and scholarship that are "informed by, and . . . contribute to, the world's scientific and humanistic enterprises" (attention to the Muslim role in creating modern civilization advances this understanding);
  2. opportunities for the College community "to share the responsibilities of citizenship and service in the global community" (Global citizenship begins with knowledge, and the program provides access to the worlds of the more than one billion Muslims worldwide.);
  3. the development and strengthening of inter- and cross-disciplinary programming around issues of concern to Muslim cultures, both contemporary and historical.

Requirements for the Minor in Muslim Cultures

The Muslim cultures minor is organized around three broad categories:

  • Conceptual Frameworks
  • History, Culture, Politics
  • Comparative and International Study

Students take 18 credits from among the three categories, including two required courses in the conceptual frameworks category. A semester-by-semester list of courses that satisfy the requirements of the minor in the other categories is available by contacting the coordinator.

Conceptual frameworks

6 credits

These courses encourage students to interrogate their own epistemological stance toward Islam and Muslims and provide them with the theoretical concepts and basic knowledge necessary for analyzing both.

HIST 22700 Islamic Civilizations (3)
POLT 33300 Understanding Islam (3)

History, culture, politics

6 credits

Courses in this category examine Islam and Muslims through the lens of culture broadly conceived. Too often, the tendency is to deny Muslims any identity other than a religious one. The focus and intent of these courses will be to situate a more complete study of Muslim cultures in academic fields that students are familiar with, such as politics, history, art history, and literature.

Comparative and international study

6 credits

Courses in this category place the study of Islam and Muslims in comparative perspective and/or in an international context. A comparative view allows students to understand the relationship between cultures, between the local and the global or the national and the international, and between the past and the present.