Origins of Islam

Deepen your understanding of Islamic political, religious, institutional and cultural traditions in this sweeping introduction to Islam with cultural historian Lisa Balabanlilar.

Islamic architectural detail

Cultural historian Lisa Balabanlilar, Ph.D., provides a sweeping introduction to Islam through the lenses of history, religion, art and politics, demonstrating the complexity and richness of a religion and culture that are often poorly understood. This course traces the emergence and development of Islam from its appearance on the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century into the modern period, highlighting the plurality of cultures and practices in the Islamic world. Through lectures and class discussions, you are invited to deepen your understanding of Islamic political, religious, institutional and cultural traditions, recognizing their uniqueness and universality.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
GHUM1612.F17.1 Lisa Balabanlilar On-campus 7–8:30 p.m. Monday, September 18, 2017

Instructor: Lisa Balabanlilar

Lisa Balabanlilar, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at Rice University. She teaches courses on South Asian History, Asian Civilizations, Cultural Trends in Medieval Islam, Comparative Early Modern Islamic Empires, Raj and Resistance and the Mughal Empire, among other topics. In 2016, Dr. Balabanlilar was awarded Rice’s top teaching honor, the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She also received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2014 and the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize in 2010. Dr. Balabanlilar’s research explores the Timurid-Mughal Empire of Central and South Asia and encompasses Islamic South Asia, comparative imperial court culture and early modern Islamic empires. She received her doctorate from the Ohio State University in 2007.

Term: Fall 2017

Start Date: Sept. 18, 2017

End Date: Oct. 30, 2017

Schedule: 7–8:30 p.m.

Length: Six Mondays (no class Oct. 9)

Location: Rice campus

Fee: $190

Early Registration: $180 if registering by Sept. 4

Rice Alumni: $171

CEUs: 0.9

Note: This course is not currently accepting registrations. Please select VIEW CURRENT OFFERINGS to see similar classes offered by Community Programs.

+ Origins of Islam; basic beliefs in Islam (the Five Tenets); contested leadership; Fitna; the Age of the Umayyads
+ Empire, revolution and the Abbasid Caliphate; Shi’ism; law, the Quran and Hadith
+ Conversion and practice on the frontiers of medieval Islam (North Africa/Central Asia/India); Sufism and devotional practices of Islam; rise of Turkish power; the Crusades and Islam
+ The Mongol invasions; response and rise of new empires in Islam; Sufi orders and the mediating sheikhs
+ Islamic art and architecture
+ Encounters with Europe; Islamic revivalism; Islam in the 20th century

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