Syllabus: Spring 2012
This course is a thematic and historical introduction to Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam. We begin with a basic introduction to Islamic tradition, various forms of Islamic spirituality, and historical overview of the study of Sufism in the West. Then through a study of primary sources, secondary scholarship and multimedia we will survey Sufi doctrines, practices, historical development, and the cultural significance of Sufism for Islamic civilization. We will also examine Sufism’s place within the broader Islamic intellectual tradition, for example, its relationship with Islamic law and theology. The final section will cover topics such as Sufism vis-à-vis other mystical traditions, Sufism in the contemporary Islamic world and the West, Sufi responses to the intellectual and civilizational challenge of modernity, and significance of Sufism for current debates such as Islam’s relationship with the West, extremism and ecological crisis.