This course offers a panoramic survey of the Islamic societies of the Middle East and North Africa from their origins to the present day. It examines the history and expansion of Islam, both as a world religion and civilization, from its birth in the Arabian peninsula in the 7th century to its subsequent spread to other parts of western Asia and North Africa. Issues of religious practices, political governance and movements, gender, social relations and cultural norms are examined in relation to a number of Islamic societies in the region. The course foregrounds the complexities and diversity present in a critical geographic area of what we call the Islamic world today.
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