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Islam and Society


Admission requirements

  • Students of the BA programme Midden-Oostenstudies/Islamstudies and Modern Middle East

  • Students of the minor Islam: Religion and Society


This course focuses the multiple meanings that Muslims give to Islam in their daily lives, in Muslim majority countries as well as in the West. We will study Islam as a social practice, which brings us to relate beliefs and practices of Muslims to the social conditions in which they live. Hence, diversity and comparison are central issues. We will also devote ample attention to history, also in order to understand current situations better.

Course objectives

The course will lead to a solid understanding of Islam as a social practice, and the tools (theories, concepts, methods) that scholars in the humanities and social sciences have developed to come to this understanding. Students will learn how to critically engage with scholarly work in the field and how to prepare to do some research themselves eventually. Another major aim is to contribute critically to the public debate about Islam and Muslims in present societies by writing informed essays according to academic standards.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and Seminar.

  • Lecture
    Attendance is not obligatory for lectures. The conveners do not need to be informed in case of missed classes. Information and knowledge provided in the lectures greatly contribute to the subsequent courses of the programme. In order to pass the course, students are strongly advised to attend all sessions.

  • Seminar
    Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Presentation 10%
Weekly assignments and participation 20%
Midterm 30%
Paper 40%
  • The final mark for this course is determined by the weighted average. An additional requirement is that students must pass their paper. In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

  • The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

  • Late submissions will result in a deduction of marks for the written assignment as follows: 1-24 hs late = -0.5; 24-48 hs late = -1.0; 48-72 hs late = -1.5; 72-96 hs late = -2.0. Submissions more than 96 hs late, including weekends, will receive a failing grade of 1,0 for the written assignment.


A re-sit is available only for an insufficient paper. In such cases, the lecturer can assign the student a new topic for the final paper, and will set the re-sit deadline at least 10 working days after the fail grade has been issued.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

  • Bowen, J.R. (2012) A new Antropology of Islam. New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • A full list of readings will be provided on Blackboard.




Dr. C. Strava


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).