13697 - Islamic Studies (1)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student will be familiar with the main features which charachterize Islam today as well as its religious history.

Course contents

This is an introductory course. It presents and discusses the features ("practices, beliefs, institutions, etc.) which we regard today as characteristic of Islam. Particular attention will be dedicated to Muhammad and the Koran.  The focus is on Islam as a religion although it is often difficult to separate religious and other matters. One of the purposes of the course is to highlight the problems which students and scholars face when engaging into a critical and analytical study of "Islam", starting from the difficulty to define the very term "Islam.


Reading list

- Mervin, Sabrina, Islam: Fondamenti e dottrine, Milano: Mondadori: 2002 or Carole Hillenbrand, Islam. Una nuova introduzione storica, Torino : Einaudi, 2016.

- Michael Bonner, La jihad. Teoria e pratica, Soveria Mannelli: Rubettino, 2008.

- Il viaggio notturno e l'ascensione del Profeta, a cura di Ida Zilio Grandi, Torino: Einaudi, 2010, pp. 3-49.

All students will have to bring to class a translation of the Koran. All the texts read and discussed during classes are part of the reading list students will have to be familiar with for final examinations.

Useful readings

Brown, Jonathan, Hadith, Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World, Oxford: Oneworld, 2009.

de Prémare, Alfred-Louis, Alle origini del Corano¸ edizione italiana cura di Caterina Bori, Roma: Carocci, 2014.

Amir-Moezzi, Mohammad Ali-Jambet Christian, Qu'est-ce que le shi'îsme?, Paris: Fayard, 2004.

Dizionario del Corano, edizione italiana a cura di Ida Zilio Grandi, Mondadori.

Encyclopaedia Iranica, London-Boston, Routledge, 1982-, oltre che in copia cartacea, è disponibile gratuitamente anche in: http://www.iranicaonline.org/

Encyclopaedia of Islam/Encyclopédie de l'Islam, Brill, seconda e terza edizione

Encyclopaedia of the Qur'ān, 6 vol., Brill.

Francesca, Ersilia, Economia, religione e morale nell'Islam , Roma: Carocci: 2013.

Haarman, Ulrich, Storia del mondo arabo, edizione italiana a cura di Francesco Leccese, Torino: Einaudi, 2010.

Hourani, Albert, Storia dei Popoli Arabi, Mondadori, (varie edizioni).

Index Islamicus (per ricerche bibliografiche)

Islam. Le religioni nel mondo moderno, vol. 3, a cura di Roberto Tottoli, Torino: Einaudi, 2009.

Naef, Sylvia, La questione dell'immagine nell'Islam, O Barra O Edizioni, 2011.

Silverstein, Adam, Breve Storia dell'Islam, Roma: Carocci, 2013

Karamustafa, Ahmet, Sufism: The Formative Period , Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007.

The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology , Tim Winter (ed), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad , Jonathan E. Brockopp (ed), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an , Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

The New Cambridge History of Islam , 6 voll., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Van Ess, Joseph, L'alba della teologia musulmana, Torino: Einaudi, 2008.

All the books published by the French series Islam en débat, Paris, Téraèdre, are useful and easy to follow learning tools.

Teaching methods


Assessment methods

The exam will be conducted orally and will assess the student's command of the material studied in the course.

The student will be assessed according to his/her ability to present and critically discuss the topics raised, making use of the exam bibliography and the course tools provided. The students may also be asked to present and discuss some of the sources which were read together during the course.

Top marks (28-30L) will be awarded to students displaying an excellent command of the topic, a critical approach to the material, a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.

Average marks (25-27) will be awarded to students who are able to summarise the relevant topics, but are not familiar with historiographical and historical debates, nor display a full command of the appropriate terminology.

Low marks (18-24) will be awarded to students displaying a patchy knowledge of the relevant topics and who do not command the appropriate terminology.

A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

Teaching tools


Students' participation is highly encouraged.

Office hours

See the website of Caterina Bori