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The basic meaning of the word Jihad is 'effort', one to achieve a positive goal. The effort can be personal and spiritual, to achieve piety and moral integrity, or collective and physical participation in warfare to protect or advance a moral and Islamic society. This subject studies the second of those manifestations, but with a vital awareness of the importance of the first. It explores the religious political and social context of warfare in the Middle East and North Africa between the local population and various European and 'western' enemies, and in particular the ways in which wars were conducted. Using primary sources, it will examine concepts of honour and sacrifice, warfare and the notion of 'just' war. It will begin with a background in the early Islamic period, but concentrating on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in order to examine concepts of pre-colonial resistance, wars of liberation and the clash of civilisations that is proposed to explain present-day conflict. Students will be asked to place the primary sources in a contemporary theoretical perspective and so develop an understanding of the ways in which warfare between Muslims and Europeans has changed during the colonial and postcolonial periods.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who complete this subject should be able to:
- understand the relationships between religious and political motivation in military conflict;
- identify the influences of culture, political organisation and geographic and economic circumstances on the form of conflict; and
- understand the relationship between theory based in a received conception of the past and practice.
Last updated: 3 November 2022