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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

ARA2028: Islamist Movements: From the Muslim Brothers to the Islamic State

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction to the Study of Islamist Movements: Historical and theoretical background
  • The Birth of Modern Islamism
  • The Muslim Brotherhood: from Egypt to the rest of the world
  • Saudi Arabia and the export of Salafism
  • Al Qaeda and the rise of global jihadism
  • Shiite political Islam
  • The post-Islamism debate
  • Islamists in the Arab Spring
  • Jihadism Reloaded: The Islamic State
  • Secular Islamism? The Case of Turkey
  • Islamism and Feminism

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity22The module will consist of two-hourly taught sessions across eleven weeks. Each one will commence with a lecture, followed by a seminar discussion about the assigned topic.
Guided Independent Study38Weekly reading for seminars
Guided Independent Study18Preparing seminar presentation
Guided Independent Study64Researching and writing op-ed and essay
Guided Independent Study8Web-based learning

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

You are encouraged to look at:

The International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, MERIP (Middle East Research and Information project), POMEPS (Project on Middle East Political Science), as well as Jadaliyya website, Brookings and Carnegie Papers

Other Learning Resources

Abu Rabi’, Ibrahim (ed.). The Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam, London: Pluto Press, 2010.

Bayat, Asef Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn, Stanford University Press, 2007.

Bayat Asef (ed.) Post-Islamism: the Changing Face of political Islam, Oxford University Press 2013.

Beinin, Joel and Joe Stork (eds.) Political Islam: Essays from Middle East Report, University of California Press, 1996.

Brenner, Bjorn, Gaza under Hamas: from Islamic democracy to Islamist Governance, London: IB Tauris, 2016.

Bonney, Richard Jihad: From Qu'ran to Bin Laden, Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan.=, 2004.

Brown, Nathan J. When Victory Is Not An Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2012.

Byman, Daniel Al-Qaeda, The Islamic State and the Global Jihadist Movements, Oxford: Oxford University Press in 2015. 

Devji, Faisal The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam andGlobal Politics Columbia University Press, 2008.

Freer, Courtney, Rentier Islamism: The Role of Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Filiu, Jean-Pierre From Deep State to Islamic State: The Arab Counter-Revolution and its Jihadi Legacy, Oxford University Press, 2015.

Gerges, Fawaz, ISIS: A History, Princeton University Press, 2012.

Gerges, Fawaz, The Rise and Fall of Al Qaeda, Oxford University Press, 2011.

Gleis, Joshua and Benedetta Berti Hezbollah and Hamas: A Comparative Study, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012

Hroub. Khaled, Hamas : A Beginner’s Guide, London: Pluto Press, 2006.

Lacroix, Stéphane, Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia, Harvard University Press, 2011.

Lia, Brynjar, Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of al-Qaida strategist Abu Mus‘al-Suri.  London: Hurst, 2007.

Lister, Charles, The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency, London: Hurst, 2015.

Louër, Laurence Transnational Shia Politics: Religious and Political Networks in the Gulf, Hurst, 2008.

Mamdani, Mahmood, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror, Doubleday 2004.

McCants, Will, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State, Saint Martin’s Press, 2015.

Meijer, Roel Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement, Columbia University Press, 2009.

Norton, Augustus Richard, Hezbollah: A Short History, Princeton University Press. 2007

Roy, Olivier, Globalizing Islam, Columbia University Press, 2004.

Volpi, Frédéric, Political Islam Observed, New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.

Wiktorowicz, Quintan, Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach, Indiana University Press, 2003.

Wolf, Anne Political Islam in Tunisia: the History of Ennahda, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Latest publications on the topic:

Brooke, Steven Winning Hearts and Votes: Social Services and the Islamist Political Advantage, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2019.

Buehler, Matt, Why Alliances Fail: Islamist and Leftist Coalitions in North Africa, Syracuse University Press, 2019.

For original texts of Islamist thinkers:

Euben Roxanna L and Muhammad Qasim Zaman Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Laden Princeton: University Press 2009.