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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARAB3190 Performing Islam: Piety and Environment in Dialogue

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Prof Kamal Salhi

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Module replaces

ARAB3050 Arab Drama.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

It is in the field of the performing arts that the humanism of Islamic values becomes most clearly manifest. This module focuses on the aesthetic dimensions of performance and on the social locations and occasions where cultural understanding and faith are most vibrantly generated, renewed, transformed, and contested. It aims to promote intercultural understanding of this diverse and dynamic global religion and to allow students to research and discuss different aspects of faith and performance.


Performing Islam is an interdisciplinary module drawing from the arts, the social sciences and the humanities. It will examine the omnipresence of performance as a central manifestation of cultural, social and political life. This includes performing arts, such as rituals and practices, festivals, pilgrimages, mysticism, music, bodily movement and poetry. Performing Islam considers the presentation or reactualization of experiences and symbolic systems through both living and mediated bodies. At a time when the world has become a ‘global village’ and Islam and Muslim cultures are pervasive, this module combines cultural training with understanding Muslim performativity as a basis for the reframing of Islam in various environments. The module will increase cultural awareness of Muslim faith, piety and spirituality through the lens of performance and will encourage intercultural understanding.

Learning outcomes
Students will learn to:
1. investigate the problematics of religion in society in the context of Islam through the dynamics of different kinds of performances and art forms;
2. understand the broad practice of one of the world’s major religious traditions and develop knowledge of cultural sensitivity, empathy and respect for the other;
3. recognise the symptoms of cultural misunderstanding and therefore be more able to adapt to new contexts;
4. appreciate the performative aesthetic of pleasure which has the potential to unsettle assumptions about the roles of art and Islam in society;
5. research social processes which challenge simplistic, static understandings of Islam;
6. develop the capacity to manage information, critical thinking and skills as independent researchers;
7. carry out self-directed research and communicate the results both orally and in writing


A series of 4 lectures will cover the following themes respectively:
a) The performance of religion in society in the context of Islam
b) Performance theories
c) Conceptual approaches to ritual, practice, festival and environment
d) Understanding and engaging with other faiths through artistic forms
These lectures will be followed by 7 student-led workshops overseen by the tutor, respectively presenting and discussing case studies which will develop into assessed projects. The themes and research questions for these seminars will be presented to students at the start of the semester.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours177.50
Total Contact hours22.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

177.50 hours of private study include reading of relevant texts (50 hours), viewing (20 hours), and preparation for lectures, seminars (40 hours), tutorials (17.50 hours), assessed project (50 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

• Written feedback on essay plan;
• Student handout;
• Individual tutorial;
• Feedback session;
• Tutor's advice and feedback hour;
• Personal tutorial meeting;
• Students' mid-term and end of term surveys.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation4000-word research piece70.00
PresentationGroup presentation supported by student-handout and audio-visuals30.00
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: 02/07/2021 16:07:04


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