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Monash University Handbook 2010 Postgraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Irfan Ahmad


This unit focuses on Islamic thought and social movements in South Asia, an important region where about forty percent of the world's Muslim population lives. The purpose of this unit, is to make both a regional and a conceptual shift in order to depict the multiplicity, creativity, dynamism and contesting forms of Islam outside of Islam's 'heartland'. It will focus on movements, events, ideas, rituals, institutions and practices that have impacted the social, cultural and political life of Muslims and non-Muslims in modern South Asia. Interdisciplinary in its approach, this Unit will employ a range of historical, ethnographic, sociological, political scientific and literary sources. Geographically, it will focus on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.


All students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:

  1. Critically assess the "natural" association of Islam with the Middle-East, and appreciate the dynamic, diverse and contesting forms of normative and lived Islam in modern South Asia
  2. Engage in a critical appraisal of different theoretical approaches and methodological issues to the study of religious traditions in general and Islamic traditions in particular
  3. Have achieved understanding of key elements of relevant material in a variety of social science fields such as anthropology of religion, political sociology, social movement studies, gender studies, history of ideas, Islamic Studies, and transnationalism; and
  4. Understand, critique, and develop an argument, and demonstrate its effective application - oral as well as written -in class presentations, and composition of essays, and reviews.


Assignment 1 (1,000 words to be presented orally in class and in writing): 15%
Assignment 2 (5,000 words): 50%
Take home exam (3,000 words) 35%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Irfan Ahmad

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar