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Archived teaching schedules 2017–2018
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JOVMS2B Islamism 5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period II Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Advanced studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Degree Programme in Journalism and Communication
Faculty of Communication Sciences

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the students will have gained the intellectual skill and vocabulary, which enables them to respond to Islamist and jihadist phenomena in informed, unbiased and critical ways (whether it be a violation of the rights of Muslims in a country and various kinds of response to this, or a terrorist attack in Europe, or a bombing in the Middle East). This is because they will have a new set of scientific concepts and problems which empower them to develop a new perspective outside the readily available expert or media opinions. In other words, they will have an intellectual, sophisticated framework on the global historical and social context of Islamism, its basic problematic and its dynamics of emergence and development in its both versions, parliamentary-populist and jihadist.

General description

Islamism is one of the most important political ideologies and social movements of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Propagated as a “revival” by its proponents, and labeled as “fundamentalist” by its opponents, it is also often described as “political Islam” or “Islamism.” This course has three main objectives: (1) To understand the historical, socio-economic, political and cultural context in which the Islamicate world has gone through a significant change and has produced Islamist contention. (2) To understand why Islamism is a populist movement, its relationship with Western hegemony over the world, globalization and global political economy, especially its relationship with social classes and economic and political struggles. (3) To understand why and how a jihadist version emerged, that is to say, a version of Islamism which employs violence and terror as a political instrument; the role of globalization and technology in jihadism; the relationship between violence and politics in jihadist ideology.

 Keep in mind that we will not approach Islamism as an isolated, self-contained object, some sort of evil worldview without any social context, or simply and exclusively rooted in the religion of Islam. On the contrary, we will see Islamism as an opportunity to unfold, analyse and discuss a number of social, economic and political problems we have on a global level, from social and economic inequalities to questions of secularism and religion, or the relationship between violence and politics. The main idea of the course is precisely that this is the healthiest way to understand Islamism.   


1. Attendance is required and constitutes the 10% of the overall grade.

2. Verbal participation in class discussion is essential and it is 15% of the grade.

3. Three response papers to be submitted in weeks 4, 7 and 11. A response paper is double-spaced, minimum 7-8 pages response to the reading material. Each is 25% of the overall grade. A couple of simple explanations about “response paper”:


(a)    Your response to the material is not simply stating your opinion (“good” or “bad”) about the reading, nor is it a summary of it, but a discussion of a certain aspect of it (a concept, an article, an issue). Your response paper may include not only the required reading but also the suggested further reading (indeed I strongly encourage you to do so). Example: for your first response paper, you may choose to discuss Edward Said’s idea of “an epistemological and ontological distinction between the West and East, made by Orientalism” (its meaning, its implications, or its criticism!). Or, you may like to discuss the relationship between Islam and colonialism (how colonialism influenced Islam, how Islam responded to colonialism, the long-run implications, etc.)

(b)   Although this is not required, you are also encouraged to bring your own resources to discuss the readings and topics we have covered in class. Keeping with the example of the first response, you may find a criticism of Said and introduce it in order to discuss Said’s argument.


4. Calculation of grades: Attendance: %10

                                                                   Participation: %15

                                                          Response papers: 3x%25


                                                                   Total: %100


Office Hours: Wednesday 2.00-3.00 pm. You are welcome to ask questions about any aspect of the course and discuss the subject further in the office hours. If the office hour is in conflict with your own individual schedule, please feel free to make an appointment with me.  


Weekly Schedule:


Week 1: Introducing the Course (12 February 2018)

A short introduction to Islam; some history; secularism and religion.   


Week 2: Islam and Colonialism (19 February 2018)

S.V.R. Nasr: “European Colonialism and the Emergence of Modern Muslim States”

F. Fanon: A Dying Colonialism, excerpts.


Week 3: No class (26 February 2018)


Week 4: Orientalism and Colonialism (5 March 2018)

Edward Said: Orientalism, Introduction.

Gayatri Spivak: “Rani of Sirmur” pp. 253-254.


NB: Response paper 1 is submitted in class.


Week 5: Islam, Modernity and Secularism (12 March 2018)

Mahmut Mutman: “Under the Sign of Orientalism”

Jamal Elias: “Early Reformists”


Suggested further reading:

Sayyid Qutb: Milestones, excerpts.


Week 6: Islamism as a Political Movement (19 March 2018)

Sami Zubaida: “Trajectories of Political Islam: Egypt, Iran and Turkey”


Suggested further reading:

Deniz Kandiyoti: “The Travails of the Secular: Puzzle and Paradox in Turkey”

Sami Zubaida: “Islam and Nationalism: Continuities and Contradictions”


Week 7: The Political Economy of Islamism (26 March 2018)

Joel Beinin: “Political Islam and the New Global Economy”


Suggested further reading:

Evren Hosgör: “Islamic Capital/Anatolian Tigers”

Evren Hosgör: “The Question of AKP Hegemony”


NB: Response paper 2 is submitted in class.


Week 8: No class (2 April 2018)


Week 9: Jihadism, Globalisation and Network Theory (9 April 2018)

Faisal Devji: Landscapes of Jihad, excerpts.

Olivier Roy: “Lure of the Death Cult”

Faisal Devji: “ISIS: Haunted by Sovereignty”

Mahmut Mutman: “Islamophobia”


Suggested further reading:

Antoine Bosquet: “Complexity Theory and the War on Terror”

Nafeez Ahmed: “Follow the Oil, Follow the Money”


Week 10: Jihadism, Media and Technology (16 April 2018)

Handout: Religion and Technology

Film: The Clanging of Swords

Jihadist Press. Dabıq


Week 11: No Class (23 April 2018)


Week 12: Jihadism, Politics and Violence (7 May 2018)

Thomas Keenan: “A Language that needs no translation”


Suggested Further Reading:

Nasser Hussain: “The Sound of Terror”


Week 13: Review and Discussion (14 May 2018)


NB: Response paper 3 is submitted in class.


Enrolment for University Studies

Enrolment time has expired


Mikko Lehtonen, Teacher responsible
Mahmut Mutman, Teacher


12-Feb-2018 – 14-May-2018
Mon 12-Feb-2018 - 14-May-2018 weekly at 15-17, Main building seminar room A06, Exceptions: No lectures 26 February, 2 April, 30 April and 23 April

Further information


-JOVMS2C Tilat, ruumiit, kanssakäymiset,

-JOVMS2B Media, moderni ja myöhäismoderni

- other compensations to be agreed with the teacher responsible