Spring 2023

Early Islam: Construction of an Historical Tradition

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-355  |  History, as HIST-393


Monica M. Ringer (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 393 [ME/TC/TE/P] and ASLC 355) This course examines in depth the formative period of Islam between c. 500-680. Using predominantly primary material, we will chart the emergence, success, and evolution of Islam, the Islamic community, and the Islamic polity. The focus of this course is on understanding the changing nature over time of peoples’ understanding of and conception of what Islam was and what Islam implied socially, religiously, culturally and politically. We concentrate on exploring the growth of the historical tradition of Islam and its continued contestations amongst scholars today. This course will familiarize students with the events, persons, ideas, texts and historical debates concerning this period. It is not a course on the religion or beliefs of Islam, but a historical deconstruction and analysis of the period. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Ringer.

How to handle overenrollment: instructor decision

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Close analysis of historical evidence, which may include written documents, images, music, films, or statistics from the historical period under study. Exploration of scholarly, methodological, and theoretical debates about historical topics. Extensive reading, varying forms of written work, and intensive in-class discussions.

ASLC 355 - LEC

Section 01
M 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM CHAP 205
W 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM CHAP 205

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Muhammad and Origins Of Islam Suny, 1994 F. E. Peters Amherst Books TBD
Succession to Muhammad Cambridge, 1997 W. Madelung Amherst Books TBD
Islam: View from the Edge Columbia, 1995 R. Bulliet Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Fall 2019, Spring 2022, Spring 2023