Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPolitics and International Relations
OfferedCaulfield Second semester 2015 (Day)
Caulfield Second semester 2015 (Flexible)
Coordinator(s)Ms Susan Carland; Mr Waleed Aly


This unit will explore how various understandings of Islamic thought and practice have responded to the challenges of the modern world. It will discuss how questions of rights, gender equality, freedom of religion and democratic representation that mark the modern political system have been viewed by Muslim thinkers. This is a survey unit that will explore the diversity of thoughts among Islamic actors, with emphasis on "modernist/reformist" thinkers. The first half of the unit will explore the complexity of issues and the question of compatibility between Islam and modernity. The second half of the unit will focus on a number of reformist Muslim thinkers who have reworked tradition and articulated new ideas with emphasis given to thinkers and movements in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and a number of key reformist Islamic thinkers in the West. The unit's aim is to deepen the understanding of Islam as well as modernity and the West.


Upon completion of this unit, students will have attained an intricate and critical knowledge of the diversity of Islamic thought in relation to modernity; a profound and detailed understanding of the key issues at the heart of tensions between Islam and modernity; a deep understanding of the way Muslims in the Muslim world and Muslims in the West are affected by the ongoing tension between Islam and modernity; a critical appreciation of the way reformist Islamic thinkers have tried to deal with the question compatibility between Islam and modernity; a detailed knowledge of the common ground between Islam and modernity that is used by Islamic modernists/reformers and the analytical ability to deconstruct that argument with reference to traditional Islamic sources; a deep understanding of the broad conceptual basis of Islamic political thoughts; a detailed understanding of the Islamic reformist movement that has emerged in the West; a sophisticated level of oral presentation skills; highly developed writing skills; and developed research skills.


Within semester assessment: 40%
Exam: 60%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study