Islam in the 21st Century: Resources and Challenges

Humanities Seminars Course

Islam in the 21st Century: Resources and Challenges

Associate Professor Scott Lucas School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Religious Studies Program
Future Course
THURSDAYS 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m September 28 - December 7, 2017. No class on November 23.
Location TBD



This course explores Islam and Muslim societies in the contemporary period. It begins by focusing on the fundamentals of Islam, such as the life of Muhammad, the Qur’an, law, and theology. The topics we will discuss include opportunities for Muslims in the United States, Islamic spirituality (including Sufism), and successful Muslim-majority countries, such as Indonesia. The primary challenges we will address include political authoritarianism, sectarianism, and religious extremism. The objective of this seminar is to provide accurate information about the religion of Islam and to demystify Muslim cultures that frequently are portrayed in the media as violent and irrationally hostile to the West. Seminarians are encouraged to bring their questions regarding Islam and Muslims to this class.


Required Reading: 

Allen Roger and Shawkat M. Toorawa, eds. Islam: A Short Guide to the Faith. Eerdmans, 2011. ISBN-10: 080286600X; ISBN-13: 978-0802866004. 

Devji, Faisal. Landscapes of the Jihad. Cornell UP, 2017. ISBN-10: 1849047200; ISBN-13: 978-1849047203.

Kahf, Mohia. The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel. New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2006.  ISBN-10: 0786715197; ISBN-13: 978-0786715190.




SCOTT LUCAS is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS) at the University of Arizona.  His research analyzes the writings of jurists and theologians during the classical period of Islam.  An active member of the Tucson Muslim community, Dr. Lucas is currently chair of the School Committee of al-Huda Islamic School.  He has spent significant time in Yemen, Iran, and Lebanon.



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