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Islamic Studies at Santa Barbara University

Students in the Islamic Studies concentration work on a wide range of historical periods from the advent of Islam to the present in a variety of cultural regions, especially the Middle East, South Asia, and North America.

The study of Islam in its different formations and settings and of Muslims in their historical, social, and cultural diversity is encouraged by the faculty, together with inquiry into Islam’s interactions with other religions and non-Muslim peoples. Students are expected to become familiar with various approaches used in the field, including philological textual studies, social and political history, comparative research, gender studies, and ethnographic fieldwork.

The Programee

The doctoral program in Islamic studies at UCSB expects students to develop expertise in the following areas:

-The foundational texts of Islam (Qur’an, hadith) and the major genres of Islamic literature (such as, tafsir, fiqh, kalam, falsafa, Sufi text, balagha).

-Islam’s formations in historical, social, political, and cultural contexts, including modern ones.

 The theoretical and methodological tools needed to conduct original, independent research in an area of specialty within the fields of Islamic studies.

The specific area of specialization of each student will be a natural result of the evolution of the student’s research interests in the program. However, a statement of research interests must be included in the student’s application essay, indicating the applicant’s engagement with current literature in the study of Islam.

Islamic Studies Tracks

Track I:Classical Islamic Texts and Traditions (Emphasis on Primary Sources)

Islamic studies Track 1 students are expected to take graduate-level courses in at least two of the following three subjects:

1) Foundational Texts (such as Qur’an, hadith, tafsir)

2) Historical Texts (such as al-sira al-nabawiyya, tabaqat literature)

3) Traditional Islamic Sciences (such as balagha, adab, kalam, fiqh, fatwa literature)

Track II: Islamic Modernities and Practices

Islamic studies Track 2 students are expected to take graduate-level courses in at least two of the following three types of courses

1) Foundational Texts from primary sources (such as Qur’an, hadith, tafsir, sira)

2) Islamic History and Law from primary sources

3)Modern Islamic Thought, Movements, and Practices

Core Faculty:

Janet Afary: Modern Iran; religion, politics, and culture in modern Middle East; and gender and sexuality in the Middle East

Ahmad A. Ahmad: Islamic intellectual history, specifically Islamic legal history and theory, the relationship between theory and practice in Islamic law, adjudication, the laws of war, apostasy, and privacy

Juan E. Campo: the comparative study of the cultural formations of Islam in the Middle East and South Asia, Muslim & non-Muslim relations, sacred space and pilgrimage, political Islam in the contexts of modernity, and religion and the culinary cultures of the Middle East, politics of contemporary Middle East

Racha El Omari: Islamic intellectual history and historiography in the classical period, with a particular emphasis on the role and interaction of theology in the formation of and interaction with the Islamic intellectual traditions, including philosophy, grammar, hadith literature, and belles letters.

Kathleen Moore: comparative study of Muslim minority communities in western democracies (e.g., Britain and the United States); law and society; legal pluralism; legal issues facing Muslims in non-Muslim societies (including shari’a as well as constitutional, civil and criminal law); gender studies; and policy studies related to globalization, race and religion (concentrating on immigration, citizenship, anti-discrimination and counter-terrorism). Adam Sabra (History): the Middle East, especially Egypt, in the medieval and early modern periods, with particular interested in the social and cultural history of Cairo.

Contact the Center

Department of Religious Studies
Mail Code 3130
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3130

Website: http://www.religion.ucsb.edu/academics/graduate/areas/islamic-studies/

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