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Islam in the Contemporary World (RT1327) (RT1211)

Module Tutor: Dr Saira Malik

Credits: 20

Availability: Every Year

Necessary for

Summary of Course Content

Islam is the second largest world religion after Christianity, and Muslims form the second largest religious group in Britain after Christians.  In recent years, Islam has had an increasing profile in the media and in its political impact.  A range of popular, stereotypical images come to mind when considering Islam in its contemporary setting– oppressed Muslim women, Muslims protesting and demonstrating against publication of the ‘Danish Cartoons’.  This module aims to get behind these images by exploring the lives of ordinary Muslims, especially those living in Britain and the West.  The first semester of the module will be based on sociological and anthropological sources in order to analyse the issue of ‘identity’ of Muslims in Britain.  The second semester will be devoted to the issue of prejudice/racism against Muslims in Western Europe and will consider this issue through a multi-disciplinary range of sources.


  1.  To extend student understanding and learning about Islam and Muslims in the contemporary context by:
    a) describing and analysing issues related to gender, youth and sacred place and authority amongst Muslims in Britain
    b) describing and analysing how Muslims and Islam are represented in Western Europe using the ‘Danish Cartoon affair’, ‘bodies of Muslim women’, politics and media as specific case studies
  2. To introduce students to theory related to ‘identity’ and ‘racism’ and its application to the cases listed in 1a and 1b

Learning Outcomes

On completing this module, you should be able to:

  1. Describe and analyse the recent history and development of Muslims and Islam in Britain
  2. Critically assess the differences and diversity amongst Muslims in Britain
  3. Describe and analyse how the issues of gender, youth, sacred place and authority function amongst Muslims in contemporary Britain
  4. Analyse and evaluate particular cases related to Muslims and Islam in European public life
  5. Apply and evaluate theory on ‘identity’ and ‘racism’ to Muslims and Islam in Europe


  1. Describe, synthesize and analyse information from a range of multi-disciplinary primary and secondary sources
  2. Evaluate and critically assess a range of arguments
  3. Apply theoretical concepts to particular cases
  4. Produce work that is clearly written and which develops evidence-based arguments within a set time-frame
  5. Present a piece of scholarly work to peers in a 15-minute presentation prepared in advance


2 summative essays (2x50%) and group presentation(s) (formative)

Suggested book purchases

Mulitiple copies of set texts in the library

Suggested preparatory reading

Rippin, A., Muslims: their religious beliefs and practices, London: Routledge, 2012
Waines, D., An introduction to Islam, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003 (second edition)