INTL 407/507, Fall 2019
Professor Anita Weiss
Tuesday/Thursday 2-3:20 pm
276 Education

Militant Islam

Foundations in Faith and Manifestations Today

Within the Muslim world today, Islamist discourse has come to set a growing number of political agendas. However, as we have seen in response to recent global events, the nature of this discourse -- and in particular, the diversity within it -- is rarely understood. In particular, the concept of jihad (striving, struggle) and its relation to militancy is both frequently misunderstood and misrepresented.

This seminar seeks to rectify those misrepresentations and misunderstandings by introducing participants to the historical and theological foundations of militant Islam through exploring how the concept of jihad has been understood in Muslim societies. We study various foundational movements, probe why we are seeing more groups oriented toward militant Islam today, identify the larger goals of some of the militant Islamist groups today, and the distinctions between groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, and the various manifestations of al-Qaeda.

Each participant is encouraged to discuss the various topics we will address in this course in an open, respectful manner so as to promote deeper understanding of these issues which have been heavily sensationalized by the global media and differing political groups.


Professor Weiss has broad experience as a scholar in this arena for over three decades, going back to the publication of her first book Islamic Reassertion in Pakistan in 1986. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on political Islam, serves as an Advisory Editor on the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, and has lectured extensively about political Islam.