In November and December 2008, AKU-ISMC launched its series of short courses, with its first offering being Exploring Muslim Cultures I. This 7-week survey course aimed to provide participants with an overview of contemporary Muslim cultures from an historical perspective.
Attended by 25 students from a diverse range of backgrounds, the courses cover a wide range of topics – including the shaping of the foundations of Muslim cultures, the diversity of Muslim cultures, art and architecture, politics, culture, economy and development.
Exploring Muslim Cultures I provided participants with an overview of Muslim cultures within a humanistic and civilisational approach, exploring the cultures of Muslims as part of broader human cultural history. By adopting a multidisciplinary approach, the course seeks to enable participants to assess Muslim cultures within the complex and diverse contexts in which they have developed.
“The course was a great introduction to the diversity of Muslim contexts, and the complex historical and contemporary contexts in which they are placed. Course facilitators were knowledgeable and provided course participants with a good base for exploring particular aspects of Muslim cultures,” one course participant noted.
“I learnt a great deal, not just about the history of Muslims, but of the cultures that have developed and continue to be shaped over time. In this context, we were able to begin to consider some aspects of contemporary Muslim cultures – politics, education, economics and the arts, to mention but a few.”
Exploring Muslim Cultures I is the first of a range of short courses which will be offered by the Institute. Future offerings include focused and in-depth courses exploring different aspects of Muslim cultures, a summer programme on Muslim cultures in 2009 and certificate courses.
The next short course to be offered by the Institute will focus on law. Law in Muslim Contexts will be held from 28 - 29 March 2009, with sessions that introduce the audience to the formation of Muslim law and the diversity of its approaches. The course will explore discussions related to gender, human rights and development, as well as acquaint participants with issues related to contemporary changes in the personal law of selected Muslim societies.
Building on the first survey course, Exploring Muslim Cultures II, will be offered in 2009.
“I am definitely interested in the potential of participating in the second part of Exploring Muslim Cultures – it will hopefully build on the framework set out by the first course, allowing for in-depth discussion of a number of crucial issues related to Muslims today,” another course participant explained.
Through its range of short courses, the Institute aims to provide access to information about Muslim cultures to a wide variety of audiences.
Coordinator, Planning & Academic Development
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations