Date of Award

5-10-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Cassandra White

Second Advisor

Jeniffer Patico

Third Advisor

Louis Ruprecht Jr

Abstract

Venues of higher education such as universities play a crucial role in exposing students/people to other religions and cultures, contributing positively or negatively to this significant endeavor. Most universities have courses designed to create and share knowledge regarding major faiths of the world. In the US, this endeavor gains additional significance in the current climate of growing tensions around identity and religion, particularly with regard to Islam. This research examines how Islam is represented in a world religion and introductory level courses in higher education particularly at the undergraduate level. Through an ethnographically designed methodology, this study focuses on patterns of approach from an anthropological perspective drawing on a theological framework of Islam as a discursive tradition. I argue that instead of a purely ritualistic or theological approach to Islam, a cultural, contextual and a critical studies approach, particularly at the introductory level is more effective and relevant.

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