Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Political Science


Political Science 347. Islamic Political Thought

This course investigates the origins and metamorphoses of a host of ideas and intellectual tendencies that is commonly referred to as Islamic Political Thought. The recent worldwide resurgence of political Islam and its growing importance in international and domestic affairs make an examination of this intellectual genre a timely study. After all, contemporary Islamic intellectual currents both refer to and rely on past and present political philosophies and, in so doing, remind us that without a deep understanding of these philosophies we will not be able to fully understand the nuances of many contemporary events.

In this course, we will examine the fact that profound disagreement existed among early and medieval Islamic thinkers over major political concepts. While a number of Muslim intellectuals strive to accommodate Western modernity and the Islamic way of life, others reject modernity altogether and embrace various forms of Islamic Fundamentalism.

Throughout this course we will address this intellectual and sociopolitical reality and specifically underline a branch of contemporary Islamic thought that seeks to reconcile modernity and Islam. No doubt, the path towards such a reconciliation cuts through issues such as the relationship between Islam and human rights, gender equality, tolerance, democracy and liberalism, which we will discuss in class.