Below, please find syllabi for our January 28th discussion and lecture. Typically these resources are posted 2 weeks in advance.
Theory, Criticism, and Society: 10/2018 – 3/2019
During this semester, we’ll explore ideas from theory and criticism focusing on art, literature, music, and culture, with the further intention of applying such ideas to the creation and organization of society. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of theory and criticism, and to broaden our perspective of the world we live in—and the possibilities open to us.
Lecturer: Morgan F
Syllabus: Terrorism and Islam
Suggested reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_terrorism (don’t feel you should read it all, but appreciate the scope of the issue through the mass of complexity there)
There are few topics more pressing, more emotionally, politically, and intellectually fraught than the relationship between Islam and terrorism. It is undeniable that the Muslim world, in particular, the MENA region, (Middle East and North Africa) are struggling with the problem of terrorism and the rest of the world with them. In post 9/11 United States, it is difficult to approach the problem of Islamic terrorism with open minds and respect which a topic of this gravity deserves. We will try our best to navigate the dark but fascinating nature of Islam, the problem of terrorism, to find where the actual relationship between the two exists.
First, we will explore terrorism. We will look at examples and try to define the issue, the act, and the actor. Here there will be some criticism of definitions of terrorism and terrorists, opening into a wider critique of what makes a terrorist in reality and in public semiotic association, and what wider geopolitical trends and experiences shape that association
We will then talk about Islam itself. Western misconceptions of Islam stretch back to the middle ages and have scarcely improved since. We will explore what being a Muslim means, how Muslims perceive themselves, their religion, and through this their world. We will try to gain a new understanding of what God and the resulting worldview looks like through the lens of Islam. From here, a possible theory of Islam’s connection to terrorism will be offered for the audience’s consideration.
We will close with the presentation of Islamic critiques and responses to terrorism. We will explore proposed and suggested solutions to the problem, the experience of terrorism for the people of the MENA region, those who experience it the most, and how they contend with it.
For this lecture, please refrain from commenting during the lecture, this topic is one that inspires many opinions, arguments, and often ruins holiday family dinners. For this evening, please listen to the lecture with an open mind, then feel free to challenge any theories or critiques presented therein during the after lecture discussion.