Dr. Mary Magoulick
Office: A&S 3-21
Hours: M: 3:30-4, T 8:30-9 & 2-3, W 11-12; R 2-2:30 (or by appt.)
Other Recommended Readings & Films for Literature of the Islamic World
Texts (These texts are required and are available at the bookstore; there may also be additional readings on internet or reserve)
Anam, Tahmima. A Golden Age. Harper, 2008. ISBN: 978-0061478758 Set in Bangladesh
Novel of one woman’s struggle to hold her family together during the Bangladesh War of Independence.
Heller-Roazen , Daniel (Editor), Haddawy, Husain (trans.), Mahdi, Muhsin (editor), The Arabian Nights. W.W. Norton, Critical Edition, 2008, ISBN: 978-0393928082, 523 pp. [selections only] “Arabia”
Stories translated from the Mahdi edition, the definitive Arabic edition of a fourteenth-century Syrian manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (oldest surviving version of the tales, most authentic)
Halady, Laila. Once in a Promised Land. Beacon Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0807083918, 352 pp. U.S./Jordan
Novel by Arab American of living between two cultures (the U.S. and Jordan)
Hosseini , Khaled, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Riverhead Trade, 2008. ISBN: 978-1594483851, 432 pp
Novel of 3 decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war & Taliban tyranny, seen through lives of 2 women.
Lalami, Laila . Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books, 2005. ISBN: 978-0156030878. Morocco.
Novel of the lives and hopes of would-be immigrants from Morocco to Spain.
Mahfouz, Naguib, Midaq Alley. Anchor Books, (1983/1993), 304 pp. ISBN: 978-0385264761. Egypt
Novel that centers around the residents of one of the teeming back alleys of Cairo
Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. New York: Pantheon, 2007 (orig. French version 2000). 352 pp (graphic) ISBN: 978-0375714832 Iran
Graphic memoir of a girl coming of age during the Iranian revolution (and her journeys)
We will consider various contemporary and traditional works by writers from all over the world who share no single culture or perspective except that of being from the “Islamic world” (not a clearly defined area). Not all our writers are practitioners or active believers of Islam, but their perspectives are to some extent infused or informed by their life experiences in cultures informed to greater or lesser extent by Islam. The extent to which the religion and culture of Islam influence these works will be one of our considerations in class discussions. The class will be run seminar style with a goal of all members of the class contributing to research on Islam and its many cultures and to understanding the background of each of our works. Our consideration of cultural contexts and implications of the literature will lead to larger questions and issues regarding multicultural literature and religion. This course will involve primarily seminar-style discussions of the works students will read outside the classroom as homework. Each student will lead a seminar, and there will be both outside writing assignments and in-class writing (for instance the essay exam).
As a result of this course, the student will be able to do the following:
* Distinguish the ideologies, periods, and aesthetics of examples of literature from Islamic cultures;
* Understand the range, history, variation and nuances of Islamic cultures around the world
* Evaluate the literary significance of certain representative writers from Islamic cultures, as well as certain influential texts;
* Be familiar with major theoretical strands in literary criticism related to Islamic studies;
* Begin to show awareness of Islamic literature in its biographical, historical, artistic, and intellectual contexts.
* Articulate a written critical argument that requires analytical close reading of modern fiction.
One short critical response to assigned readings (~2-3 pages). You do not have to do any research or additional reading but will write detailed analysis in answer to specific questions to be distributed in class. You must answer based on close textual analysis (of specific passages in the texts).
Lead a class in a seminar style discussion, but also employing an organized presentation. You may be part of a small group (3 maximum). Students will lead discussion and present relevant background information of one of the novels or major works from the semester. Your group will be in charge of the class this day and should come prepared with background or critical information about the novel, the culture involved in the novel, and/or the author. As important as the research you do will be your ability to generate good discussion and to show good organizational skills and teamwork in your presentation. If people in groups are worried about not being given equal time I can allow each group member a set amount of time (20 min.) and grade you each individually on your work. Or groups may choose to be graded as a collective – but you must let me know if advance.
Each student must turn in a written (2-3 page) description of what you researched and learned by doing this presentation (leading class, above), and how your research and presentation helps illuminate the reading you focus on. Each student will produce your own original work for this written portion that should reflect your share of the contribution for the group project.
A final exam in which you answer specific questions (essay and objective) about our readings, films, lectures, and discussions. You should show an awareness of class issues, strong analysis of readings, and synthesis of your original insights to do well on this exam.
An analytical essay (6-8 pages) in which you explore in depth one or more works of relevant literature (at least one of which should be a reading from class). You discussion must also involve some critical outside research (at least one work. You must discuss papers in advance w/instructor.
Regular, active attendance. Be prepared to ask and answer questions and to raise and discuss issues of significance to this class. The various in-class written work will count toward participation grades.
Timely completion of all assignments. Readings are to be completed before the lecture on the day on which they are to be discussed. It will catch up to you if you consistently neglect to do the readings. Remember, there is a comprehensive final exam that will test reading and understanding.
Critical Responses: 10%
Presentation (leading class): 20%
Final Essay: 40%
Participation (& attendance): 10%
Grades on individual assignments will be based on effort and thoughtfulness as well as correctness of logic and development of ideas. Critical responses should use the text as a guide in analysis. Prior to mid-semester, you will receive feedback on your academic performance in this course.
This syllabus is a guide and as such is subject to revision. It is your responsibility as a student to attend class faithfully, note and adhere to any changes announced, & to complete all work on time. If you miss a class, contact me for any changes in readings or assignments. I DO NOT keep track of what you have missed or must make up – that is YOUR responsibility.
I encourage you to communicate with me about any concerns, problems, or questions you may have during the semester during my office hours, by appointment or email (note that I have no email access at home and so will not respond at night).
Plagiarism and cheating are unethical and unacceptable. If you have any doubt as to what constitutes plagiarism and/or cheating, see me or consult your student handbook (see the honor code). ANY COPYING of information, ideas or words without proper citation is cheating and will constitute a violation. Violation of the code means failure (possibly of the course).
Faithful, punctual attendance is mandatory. If you have a documented excuse, be sure to inform me and show me your documentation. You must always keep track of (and still turn in on time) any work or assignments you miss. Excessive absences will result in an overall lower grade in the course.
Classroom activities, lectures, and discussions require enormous time and preparation and cannot be repeated or re-created for one individual student at a later time or date by the instructor. Fellow students may lend you notes & keep you informed, but duplicating a class is nearly impossible, hence the attendance policy. Do not ask me to repeat a class for you individually.
Active, respectful participation is required of all students. Respectful participation means listening to others’ opinions, presentations, and ideas even if an initial reaction is to disagree. Responses should be thoughtful, respectful, and based on readings or class information. Critical thinking (the basis of all college education and higher reasoning) requires you to attend to various sides of issues. You should learn to evaluate, compare, and judge information based on reason and logic rather than emotion. Active participation involves listening attentively and respectfully as much as it involves speaking. Aggressive or rude behavior will not be tolerated and will result in lower participation points.
Cell phones (or computers with internet access) must be turned off and kept out of sight during class period. Any violation may result in lost participation points.
BREAKS during class are not allowed except in cases of sickness or extreme emergency. If you leave during class (even briefly), without documented medical necessity, you will be counted absent during that class period. Plan your time around class so that you can stay in the classroom and remain attentive throughout the entire one hour and 15 minute period.
Any student requiring modifications due to a documented disability should make an appointment to meet with the instructor as soon as possible. An official letter from GC&SU documenting the disability will be required in order to receive accommodation.
During a fire drill or other emergency, students will promptly and safely exit the classroom in an orderly fashion according to posted routes and teacher’s instructions, then congregate in the designated spot as instructed. Class will resume if possible.
Assignments are due at the beginning of class or by the announced deadline. If you wait until the last minute to print out your paper, you rely on temperamental technology at your own risk. Be in control of the technology you use! “My computer (or printer) broke” & “I lost my jumpdrive” are NOT valid excuses. Back-up, print in a timely manner, and work far enough in advance so that you have time to spare. Retain a back-up copy of work you turn in to me.
When a print version of your paper is required, an electronic submission may NOT be substituted (in other words you can’t email your paper to me as an attachment unless the assignment calls for such electronic submission).
Week 1 1-10 Introduction, syllabus and begin discussing Islam (religion & culture)
1-12 Film: Islam: Empire of Faith (documentary)
Islam in history, Read “A History of Islam” at http://www.cqpress.com/context/articles/epr_islam.html
Week 2 1-17 No classes (MLK holiday)
1-19 Film: Islam: Empire of Faith (documentary)
Islam as religion, Read about religion at
Week 3 1-24 Discussion of Islam (readings)
1-26 Read Arabian Nights pp. 1-51 (up to the 20th night)
Week 4 1-31 A conference of Birds (animation on internet; watch in class)
2-2 Read poetry selections: Poems of Rumi & Classic Islamic Poems at http://www.cs.indiana.edu/~port/teach/relg/sufism.html & http://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/Rumipoetry1.html
& piece about poetry at: http://www.unc.edu/depts/sufilit/Wilde.htm
Week 5 2-7 Read Mahfouz, Midaq Alley, pp. 1-71 (1st 8 chapters)
2-9 Read Mahfouz, Midaq Alley, pp. 72-118 (chps 9-14) + Film: Children of Heaven
Week 6 2-14 Read Mahfouz, Midaq Alley, pp. 119-223 (chps 15-26) + Children of Heaven
2-16 Finish Reading Mahfouz, pp. 224-286 (chps 27-35)
Week 7 2-21 Read Anam, A Golden Age, Read pp. 1-93 (to “May”)
2-23 Read Anam, pp. 97-154 (to “July”); film [?] Gabbeh
DUE: critical response 1
Week 8 2-28 Read Anam, pp. 157-237 (to “November”); film [?] Gabbeh
3-2 Conclude Anam, Read pp. 241-274
Week 9 3-7 Read Lalami, Hope & Other Dangerous Pursuits, pp. 1-77
3-9 Continue Lalami, Read pp. 78-114 (to end of part I)
Week 10 3-14 Conclude Lalami, Read pp. 117-195 Begin Film: The Wind Will Carry Us
3-16 Film: The Wind Will Carry Us
Week 11 SPRING BREAK no classes (March 19-27)
Week 12 3-28 Read Halaby, Once in a Promised Land, pp. 1-134 (parts 1&2)
DUE: paper proposal (meet w/professor)
3-30 Continue Halaby, Read pp. 137-220 (part 3)
Week 13 4-4 Conclude Halaby, Read pp. 223-335 (part 4)
4-6 Begin Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Read pp. 1-104 (Part 1)
Week 14 4-11 Continue Hosseini, Read pp. 107-195 (Part 2); Film: Turtles Can Fly
4-13 Continue Hosseini, Read pp. 199-292 (to Chp 40); Film: Turtles Can Fly
4-13 Continue Hosseini, Read pp. 293-418 (to end)
Week 15 4-18 ISLAMIC ART lecture DUE: Rough draft of final essays
4-20 Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis, Read pp. 1-153 (to “The Soup”)
Week 16 4-25 Conclude Satrapi, Read pp. 155-341 (2nd half)
4-27 Final discussions of literature & begin Film: The Band’s Visit
Week 17 5-2 Film: The Band’s Visit DUE: Final draft of essays
FINAL 5-5 FINAL EXAM (written essay exam required in-class) – 2:00 – 4:45 pm (Wed)
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