The Farsi Chair provides a unique array of courses that explore the relationship between Islam, peacebuilding, democracy, and human rights. These courses draw upon the historical traditions of Islam and look to understand today's challenges in new ways.
These courses are offered in a two year cycle through the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program. For a detailed syllabus, click on the course title.
This course explores the interpretive foundations, history, and practice of peace within the context of major Islamic Paradigms: tradition, reformism (islah), renewalism (tajdid), and Sufism (tasawwuf) and compares and contrasts them with the Peace Paradigms developed in the West. The origins, value structure, and methodology of each paradigm are examined in light of the challenges facing contemporary Islamic societies.
This courses investigates the role of cultural and religious elements in conflicts affecting the Muslim world, and examines Islamic precepts as they relate to the theory and practice of conflict resolution. After reviewing principles and precedents from the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Shari'ah, and traditional Islamic culture, students engage in research projects to analyze conflict and conflict resolution processes both within the Muslim world and between Muslim and non-Muslim ethnic and political groups.
Human rights tenets are deeply embedded in the religious vision of Islam. This courses examines human rights as a value and norm in international relations and of Islam as a constituent of political culture. It explores the wealth of information dealing with the issue from the Quranic discourse, the Prophetic tradition, Muslim scholars interpretations, modern humanism perspectives, international law documents, independent scholars findings, and official and non-official declarations by the United Nations and other organizations. The many questions explored include the following: What do people in Muslim cultures think about human rights and why? How does Islam influence the understanding of human rights in Muslim societies? Is there an antithesis between Islam as a religion and the value of human rights? How do we evaluate proposals for a particularly Islamic conceptualization of human rights?
This course considers how the broad categories of "Islam" and "Democracy" can intersect in contemporary world politics. After laying a historical foundation, questions of Islam and Democracy are examined in the context of Islamist parties vying for power through elections, self-proclaimed Islamic States, contemporary Muslim democracies, and Muslim states grappling with democracy as a result of Western occupations. The course also highlights a variety of Muslim perspectives on the topic of Democracy.