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Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2011 (Day)
Caulfield First semester 2011 (Flexible)
Coordinator(s)Dr Irfan Ahmad


Previously coded PLM5470


This unit focuses on Islamic thought and social movements in South Asia, an important region where about forty percent of the world's Muslim population lives. The purpose of this unit, is to make both a regional and a conceptual shift in order to depict the multiplicity, creativity, dynamism and contesting forms of Islam outside of Islam's 'heartland'. It will focus on movements, events, ideas, rituals, institutions and practices that have impacted the social, cultural and political life of Muslims and non-Muslims in modern South Asia. Interdisciplinary in its approach, this Unit will employ a range of historical, ethnographic, sociological, political scientific and literary sources. Geographically, it will focus on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.


All students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:

  1. Critically assess the natural association of Islam with the Middle-East, and appreciate the dynamic, diverse and contesting forms of normative and lived Islam in modern South Asia
  2. Engage in a critical appraisal of different theoretical approaches and methodological issues to the study of religious traditions in general and Islamic traditions in particular
  3. Have achieved understanding of key elements of relevant material in a variety of social science fields such as anthropology of religion, political sociology, social movement studies, gender studies, history of ideas, Islamic Studies, and transnationalism; and
  4. Understand, critique, and develop an argument, and demonstrate its effective application - oral as well as written -in class presentations, and composition of essays, and reviews.

In addition, students taking this unit at Level 5 should be able to:
  1. Delineate the distinctive elements and characteristics of Islamic thought and Muslim communities in South Asia and understand the key historical, social and cultural forces that have shaped them;
  2. Articulate the nature of the links between South Asian Islamic thought and practice and Islamic thought and practice in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.


Think piece presentation: 5%
Review essay(1000 Words): 10%
Long essay (5,000 words): 50%
Take home exam (3,000 words): 35%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Irfan Ahmad

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar