Learning about Islam in the contemporary world

a-taisThis year, College of the Pacific is proud to introduce a new course on the Islamic religion with Professor M. Amine Tais. The course will explore the historical development of Islamic discourses and the diverse ways in which Muslims have interpreted and practiced their religion in both the past and present. Students will study several areas of scholarly interest within the world of Islam, such as theology, law, mysticism, and philosophy, as well as popular forms of religious piety.

Professor Amine Tais has studied Comparative Religion and Islamic Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle and Georgetown University in Washington, DC.His main research interests include issues related to Islamic intellectual history, modern Islamic thought, reform movements, and Qur’anic studies. He also maintains an interest in the study of Judaism, Christianity, modern Western thought, Humanism, secularism, and feminism. 

“Taking the course provides one with the tools to think empathetically but critically about Islam and Muslims while also gaining a robust historical perspective that can help clarify many aspects of the contemporary debates on religion in general and Islam in particular,” Tais said. “By the end of the semester, the students will hopefully be in a good position to challenge simplistic claims about Islam in popular discourse and media outlets (both apologetic and polemical ones).” The class is not scheduled to return in the upcoming Spring semester, but might return next Fall. This semester, the class has 13 students.

The study of religion is particularly important in the world today. Professor Alan Lenzi said, “Current events on a daily basis demonstrate the importance of Islam in the contemporary world. It is imperative for anyone who wishes to be an informed citizen to familiarize themselves with this ancient and varied religious tradition. Professor Tais’s course provides the perfect opportunity to this end for our students. We are very happy to have him here this semester.”

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