This course takes historical and thematic approaches to studying the complex phenomenon (or phenomena) of Islam. Students in this course seek to understand the development of Islam over time¿from the earliest communities in seventh century Arabia through the present day. The course will ask questions about the meaning of prophesy, scripture, and ritual. Additionally, the course will focus on the towering achievements of Islamic thought, including law, literature, and philosophy. Students will study all of these phenomena in their diverse lived contexts, from West Africa to Northwest China. The role of women and of gendered difference are not incidental to this course, or relegated to a specific unit, but are central to how we will think through Islamic history. The latter half of the course will ask how the dramatic events of colonialism altered (or did not alter) the meanings, perceptions, and practices of Islam. Beyond written texts, the course will explore some of the sights and sounds that comprise Muslim life worlds. Through these issues and materials, students will get a small but well-placed window onto the manifold meanings of Islam in the lives of its practitioners.