Muslim Cultures

Jason Freitag, Associate Professor and Coordinator

The Muslim cultures minor promotes a study of Muslims and Islam in order to facilitate a critical and constructive engagement with issues that affect Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The point of this engagement is to prepare students to face the challenges of living in a multireligious, multiracial, and multicultural world.

Specifically, the minor’s goals are to encourage, allow, and facilitate:

  1. the College’s mission to encourage teaching and scholarship that are “informed by, and . . . contribute to, the world’s scientific and humanistic enterprises” (attention to the Muslim role in creating modern civilization advances this understanding);
  2. opportunities for the College community “to share the responsibilities of citizenship and service in the global community” (global citizenship begins with knowledge, and the program provides access to the worlds of the more than one billion Muslims worldwide);
  3. the development and strengthening of inter- and cross-disciplinary programming around issues of concern to Muslim cultures, both contemporary and historical.

Minor Requirements

Conceptual Frameworks 16
Islamic Civilizations: Muhammad to the 19th Century
Understanding Islam
History, Culture, Politics 2
Select 6 credits from the list maintained by the coordinator.6
Comparative and International Study 3
Select 6 credits from the list maintained by the coordinator.6
Total Credits18

These courses encourage students to interrogate their own epistemological stance toward Islam and Muslims and provide them with the theoretical concepts and basic knowledge necessary for analyzing both.


Courses in this category examine Islam and Muslims through the lens of culture broadly conceived. Too often, the tendency is to deny Muslims any identity other than a religious one. The focus and intent of these courses will be to situate a more complete study of Muslim cultures in academic fields that students are familiar with, such as politics, history, art history, and literature.


Courses in this category place the study of Islam and Muslims in comparative perspective and/or in an
international context. A comparative view allows students to understand the relationship between cultures, between the local and the global or the national and the international, and between the past and the present.