|Credit Points||4 ECTS|
|Number of Places||18|
Open to everybody
More than fifteen years after the September 11 attacks and subsequent war on terror, the issue whether there is or in fact has ever been a “clash of civilisations” is still being highly debated among both scholars and politicians. In the meantime, a series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa – the Green Revolution in Iran, the Arab Spring, and the Gezi Protests in Turkey – have once more raised questions with regard to the viability of democracy in Muslim countries. Moreover, violent shootings that took place in Paris aiming at journalists and urban lifestyle, as in different parts of the world, on the one hand, and the increasing refugee flows from Muslim countries on the other, attributed the issue of Muslim presence in Europe utmost urgency and importance. While in Europe reports document a significant rise in Islamophobic and racist incidents over the last years, Muslims increasingly claim rights on the grounds that they are Europeans. In this regard, we will discuss the more recent rise of anti-Islamic currents in the political landscape of Europe as well as in the US.
In light of the current conjecture, “the West” and “Islam” – two seemingly opposing notions – gained a crucial role in the debates that structure the public opinion and political atmosphere in Europe as well as in North America. What does it mean to be “Western”? What does “Islam” stand for? Are these concepts as mutually exclusive as it is commonly believed? How do Muslims perceive the West and vice versa? Why and how do ideas about oneself and the other change over time?
This course aims at empowering students to critically examine the dichotomies – such as “Islam” vs. “the West” – that are prevalent in their everyday lives, the public sphere, and above all within the context of global conflicts. Hence, cross-cultural encounters and the emergence of new forms of identity as a result thereof will be of central interest. Excursions and meeting Muslims from Berlin will help us explore the diversity of Islam in the midst of a “Western” environment.
1. Attendance and participation
Students will be required to present a text from the reading list. The presentation should summarize the text, introduce the terminology that is used and conclude with investigative questions.
Participants are required to take an in-class examination in which they will answer two questions out of four in order to discuss and elaborate on the topics and issues addressed during the course.
1. Attendance and participation: 20%
2. Presentation: 30%
3. Essay: 50%
A course reader will be provided.