SOAN 380

Muslim Cultures and Communities

Islam has significant influence on a broad array of nations, ethnic groups, and local expressions of culture, and plays a role in shaping societies' politics, economics, and law. Taking a practice-focused, anthropological perspective on the study of religion, this course examines the many ways in which culture and society have been co-influenced by Islam in different parts of the world, including here in the Pacific Northwest. The objective of this course is to move beyond stereotypes and essentialization to better understand the diverse, lived experience of Muslims around the world, and the ways that collaborative, ethnographic social science can help in understanding Islam as a way of life. The course aims to help students develop a critical awareness of the ways Muslims' understandings of their faith can be mediated by social, economic, and political phenomena. Students further explore representational politics and power relations surrounding Islam, and how Western powers have historically represented the Islamic world and Muslims, both at home and abroad.