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AMST 719 01 (22154) /RLST703
Interrogating the Crisis of Islam
Zareena Grewal
W 1.30-3.20 WLH 210
Spring 2016 
 
In official and unofficial discourses in the United States, diagnoses of Islam's various "crises" are ubiquitous, and Muslim "hearts and minds" are viewed as the "other" front in the War on Terror. Since 9/11, the U.S. State Department has made the reform of Islam an explicit national interest, pouring billions of dollars into USAID projects in Muslim-majority countries, initiating curriculum development programs for madrasas in South Asia, and establishing the Arabic Radio Sawa and the satellite TV station Al-Hurra to propagate the U.S. administration's political views as well as what it terms a "liberal" strain of Islam. Muslim Americans are also consumed by debates about the "crisis" of Islam, a crisis of religious authority in which the nature and rapidity of change in the measures of authority are felt to be too difficult to assimilate. This course maps out the various and deeply politically charged contemporary debates about the "crisis of Islam" and the question of Islamic reform through an examination of official U.S. policy, transnational pulp Islamic literature, fatwas and essays authored by internationally renowned Muslim jurists and scholars, and historical and ethnographic works that take up the category of crisis as an interpretive device.