Introduction to the Study of Islam and Muslims

July 14-30, 2020

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

Running on consecutive Tuesdays and Thursdays at 15:30-17:30  from July 14 to July 30th, the course provides an introduction to the development of Islamic thought and institutions from the seventh century to the present day. It surveys basic sources and terminologies as well as providing an introduction to major trends in scholarship. It asks when, and on what basis, different actors seek to make generalisations about Muslims (and, by implication, non-Muslims), and whether such generalisations can ever be valid.


Class Learning Objectives


  • To understand the development and variety of Islamic thought 
  • To analyse why different actors have been able to define Islam successfully for Muslims
  • To evaluate the agendas that underlie scholarship on Islam and Muslims
The course fees are £15-£35 and places can be booked here.

Professor Philip Wood is a historian of the Middle East. He has written on the histories of religious minorities in the caliphate and on the experience of Muslims as minorities in Britain. Together with Leif Stenberg, he is currently editing a volume on the Politics of Islamic Studies and he is also editing a second volume on Muslim and non-Muslim religious minorities in the Abbasid caliphate. His third monograph, on the Abbasid-era intellectual Dionysius of Tel-Mahre, is forthcoming with Princeton University Press in January 2021.


Muslim Culture and Societies 2020 online short course series 

The Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations engages locally and internationally on questions and debates regarding historic and contemporary affairs of Muslim cultures and societies.  


Led by internationally recognised scholars, our online short-course series and Summer Programme; ‘Gender in a Muslim Context’ cover topics ranging from  manuscripts in Arabic script to Islam and creativity, Muslim warfare: military architecture, arms and armors, law, gender and research.



AKU-ISMC welcomes audiences from both student and professional backgrounds to participate in our varied online curriculum. These courses are not credit-bearing , and are designed to affordably enhance and supplement an academic and professional understanding of Islam from a secular perspective.  

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