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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

THEO3021 Muslims in Britain: Transnational Communities and Multicultural Politics

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Prof. Sean McLoughlin

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Previous Level 1 or Level 2 study of Islam or other relevant modules. Please seek advice from the module leader.

Module replaces

THEO3355 Muslims, Multiculturalism & the State

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines the relationships between Muslim communities in Britain and their relationships to the state/wider society in Britain and wider global and transnational processes. It will be of interest to students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds including sociology, geography, politics, history and literary/cultural studies. While having studied Islam or Muslim societies would be an advantage, so too would an interest in the study of race and culture in contemporary Britain. Topics studied include migration, mosques, gender relations, youth radicalisation and Islamophobia.


This module will equip student to develop an in-depth and critically reflective awareness of the challenging issues that have impacted Muslims in Britain from the 1960s until the present.

It will enable students to conceptualise the complex impact of processes of transnationalism, diasporic community formation and multicultural politics upon people’s everyday lives and practices, values and identities.

Students will acquire a general and sensitive familiarity with aspects of postcolonial Britain as a secular, multi-faith society, most especially in terms of the history of post-war migration, as well as the contested ideological relationships between race, nation and religion.

They will be challenged to gain a more empathetic understanding of the diversity of Islamic traditions and viewpoints, as well as a more extensive appreciation of social divisions of ethnicity, gender and generation in British Muslim communities.

The module will develop students comprehension of the relationships between Muslim organisations and local / central government, encouraging reflection on the impact of '9/11' and '7/7' for both Muslims and wider society.

The study of Muslims in Britain will be related to wider representations by Muslims and non-Muslims in the media, literature and film.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this Level 3 module, and using skills of critical analysis developed in the social scientific study of religion, students will be better able to independently evaluate, accurately synthesise and evidence, as well as creatively communicate the following in both breadth and depth:

- key concepts such as religion, culture, identity, community, race, ethnicity, diaspora, nation, multiculturalism and transnationalism
- the consequences of particular contexts of migration and contexts of reception for shaping the lives of Muslims in Britain
- the situation of Muslims in Britain to one other Western European country
- the ways in which religion in context is both cross cut by power / social divisions as well as an enabler of transcendent imaginaries
- the changing shape of government policies of recognition and regulation in relation to British Muslims and related debates about religion and secularity
- the on-going connection of Muslims to people, places, ideas, goods and capital elsewhere

They will also be able to:

- locate the study of religion and especially Islam in productive relationship to ethnic and migration studies
- comprehend and appreciate issues of unity and diversity in Islam and Muslim communities
- develop theoretical skills to better understand and analyse the connectedness and distinctiveness of religion in relation to other collective social, cultural and political identities - ethnicity, race, nation and diaspora
- understand the variety of ways in which such identities are re-imagined and re-invented in different contexts
- identify the ways in which dimensions of power and authority operate within and across social groupings
- comprehend the multidisciplinary nature and value of much empirical work on religion across the (nevertheless distinctive) approaches of religious studies, sociology, anthropology, geography, politics and cultural studies


1) Module overview.

2) Locating the study of Islam and Muslims in Europe / the West in terms of general theories of migration, diaspora and transnationalism, mapping their significance for the study of religion(s) more generally.

3) Exploring the power of the nation-state in shaping opportunity structures for the organisation / articulation of Muslim identities in Europe, comparing the UK with French and German contexts especially.

4) Reflecting upon key debates concerning social structure and cultural agency in terms of the impact of social exclusion / deprivation and racism / Islamophobia upon Muslims in the UK, as well as their social / cultural capital and the continuing impact of contexts of emigration (e.g. rural peasantry, twice migrancy, etc).

5) Interrogating the concept / discourse of 'community' and the function of mosques / imams as key grassroots institutions / religious leaderships, unravelling the ways in which religion and ethnicity are cross-cut by powerful social relations / positions of generation and gender e.g. in terms of the exclusion of women and youth.

6) Locating the roots of modern Islamic movements in South Asia and the Middle East, as well as their appeal for British-Muslim youth, characterising their broad orientations to the non-Muslim state in diaspora.

7) Debating the politics of public recognition and the limits of multicultural tolerance especially in terms of religion, as well as its shift from local to national politics, from race to faith relations, with examples from the state-funding of Muslim schools and the shari'ah law debate prompted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

8) Examining a case study of the Rushdie Affair, both in terms of the nature of the offence to Muslims and ensuing debates about sacrilege versus civility, fundamentalism versus freedom of speech, but also the dynamics of a new 'faith-based' Muslim politics of identity and its associated leadership in terms of national umbrella organisations.

9) Examining the significance of a trans-national Islamic 'ummatic' consciousness amongst British-Muslims, relating this to accounts of significant local-global political crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Bosnia and Kashmir.

10) Assessing the impact of '9/11' and '7/7' upon British Muslims' changing relations with the state and wider society, most especially in terms of Islamophobia, greater regulation (especially in terms of counter terrorism), as well as the emergence of a more open and mainstream public struggle for Islam amongst different schools of thought / religious authorities (often at the state's behest).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Up to 4 hours gathering and reading resources, note-taking and thinking per lecture = 40 hours
Up to 4 hours gathering and reading resources, note-taking and thinking per seminar = 36 hours
Up to 104 hours planning, gathering & reading resources, note-taking, thinking, drafting & re-drafting for essays

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will have the opportunity to submit an essay plan/draft up to 1000 words for feedback.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 14:25:35


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