About this Course
4.8
485 ratings
146 reviews
Learn what motivates the restive Muslim youth from Tunis to Tehran, what political positions Islamists from Mali to Chechnya are fighting for, where the seeming obsession with Islamic law comes from, where the secularists have vanished to, and whether it makes sense to speak of an Islamic state. Since 2009 there has been a renewed wave of popular unrest sweeping throughout much of the Muslim world. Secular, but generally repressive and inefficient autocracies have come under pressure or been swept aside entirely. At the same, the various Islamic Republics have not fared much better, but been convulsed by internal unrest, economic and social decline. Throughout the Muslim lands, existing constitutional arrangements are being challenged, often very violently. This course is a survey of the constitutional ideas and institutions that have developed since the mid 19th century throughout predominantly Muslim countries, but its focus will lie on the actors that have dominated this discourse and shaped its outcomes. We will look at the large body of classical writings on the Islamic state only in so far as it is necessary to understand the contemporary debate, but concentrate on the legal and political developments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Three common themes will characterise the course:  We privilege the study of the legal and social reality and seek to highlight where it is at odds with dogmatic stipulations, be they religious or constitutional.  We seek to illustrate the practical tensions posed by limited administrative capabilities and political legitimacy that resulted from the incomplete reception of modern bureaucratic statehood.  We seek to examine how popular dissatisfaction with the practical performance of Muslim governments has fuelled demands for greater accountability under the guise of cultural authenticity.  Ultimately, the course aims to equip participants to better understand Muslim contemporary discourse about the res publica, better contextualise the demands for religious law in public life, and to better ascertain the theoretical and practical feasibility of postulated religious alternatives to the still-dominant secular model of governance....
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Calendar

Flexible deadlines

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Clock

Suggested: 8-12 hours/week

Approx. 35 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish, Arabic, French
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Suggested: 8-12 hours/week

Approx. 35 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish, Arabic, French

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Overview: Presenting the Course

This week, we try to give you an overview of the themes and principles that we will focus on during the course. We look at the current state of the countries in the region and present the role of religion, the challenge of modernity and the different responses to modernity, which we will revisit thematically during the next weeks. It is highly recommend to read my article "Contested Universalities of International Law. Islam’s Struggle with Modernity" in this week's readings to gain a better understanding of the argument put forward throughout the course....
Reading
7 videos (Total 113 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
1.2 Presenting the Region19m
1.3 Early Modern History12m
1.4 Unresolved Challenge of Modernity14m
1.5 Four Models of Adaptation27m
1.6 Indicators of Relative Failure18m
1.7 Role of Religion and Islamic Law12m
Reading1 reading
Readings Week 1: Presenting the Course10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
End of Week 1 Quiz20m

2

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey

This week, we look at Turkey and at the history of the Ottoman Empire, whose legacy continues to influence many countries in the region today. Turkey occupies a special place due to its explicit constitutional and social commitment to secularism and a self-conscious emulation of the Western model. Keep the four models of adaptation in mind while watching the lectures of this week as well as the next ones....
Reading
6 videos (Total 151 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
2.2 Ottoman History19m
2.3 Ottoman Reform: Tanzimat and Majallah34m
2.4 Creation of the Republic20m
2.5 Kemalism and its Problems27m
2.6 Westernisation and Islamism24m
Reading1 reading
Readings week 2: Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
End of Week 2 Quiz20m

3

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Egypt and Maghreb

This week concerns the region where the so-called "Arab Spring" originated: North Africa. We will focus especially on Egypt due to its historical importance, relative size and the impact its politics have had on other Arab and Muslim countries. Following the Secularism/Emulation model exemplified by Turkey last week, this region represents the second broad approach to modernity, namely Religious Modernism/Reform....
Reading
7 videos (Total 178 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
3.2 People, Places and Patterns Maghreb23m
3.3 Ottoman and Colonial History28m
3.4 Independence31m
3.5 Modernisation and Reform20m
3.6 Nasserism and its Problems26m
3.7 Westernisation and Islamism27m
Reading1 reading
Readings Week 3: Egypt and Maghreb10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
End of Week 3 Quiz20m

4

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Saudi Arabia & The Gulf

This week we will look at the Gulf Monarchies, especially at Saudi Arabia. The impact of essentially free oil income defines the social and governmental structure of this sub-region, so we will focus on the character of so-called rentier economies and their socio-political impact. These countries represent the third broad approach to modernity, namely Traditionalism, that is the notion that there is no need to change inherited socio-political structures....
Reading
7 videos (Total 177 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
4.2 Ottoman and Colonial History25m
4.3 Patrimonialism and Religion15m
4.4 Rentier Economies and Administration34m
4.5 Impact of Rents34m
4.6 Paradoxical Alliance25m
4.7 Unresolved Contradictions18m
Reading1 reading
Readings Week 4: Saudi Arabia and The Gulf10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
End of Week 4 Quiz20m
4.8
Direction Signs

50%

started a new career after completing these courses
Briefcase

83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top Reviews

By LPNov 22nd 2015

This course is really interesting and informative. It gave me a much better understanding for the history and politics behind some of the issues we are all facing today, and really broadened my mind.

By NPDec 28th 2015

The course was good. But the real situation has been changing drastically. A supplement or extension of course is required to cover the up to date situation about IS activities, syria Iraq etc.

Instructor

Dr. Ebrahim Afsah

Associate Professor
Faculty of Law

About University of Copenhagen

The University of Copenhagen is the oldest University in Denmark - founded in 1479, and with over 38,000 students and more than 9,000 employees. The purpose of the University is to conduct research and provide education to the highest academic level. Based in Denmark's capital city it is one of the top research institutions in Europe. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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