This field is devoted to the study of Islamic beliefs, practices, and institutions within the cultural and historical context of Muslim societies. Applicants should have advanced preparation in Arabic. Students in this field may pursue their graduate work in conjunction with the Program in Near Eastern Studies and will make use of the resources provided by the Departments of History, Near Eastern Studies, and Anthropology.

Students normally work with both faculty in the subfield. Students are expected to choose an advisor by the end of their first year, though they remain free to change advisors after this. Although students usually take a range of courses, the only required courses prior to the generals are REL 501 and REL 502. Competency in relevant research languages (to be determined in consultation with the advisor) is also required.

The General Examination in this field consists of four papers or exams: one on some aspect of the history of pre-modern Islam; another on some aspect of modern Islamic history; a third on Islamic thought (e.g. law or theology); and a fourth methodological/conceptual paper relating to the student’s chosen area of research that also demonstrates familiarity with recent work in other fields such as anthropology, history, philosophy, politics, and literary theory. The advisor must approve the specific topics and readers for the generals, as well as confirm completion of the generals. Either one of the faculty in the subfield may read the medieval or modern exam. Normally students do one general exam with Professor Marmon and one general exam with Professor Zaman. Each of the four exams or papers must be read by a different examiner.

Dissertation Proposal:
To move forward with scheduling the dissertation proposal defense the student needs the approval of the advisor and the consent of the director of graduate studies.

Final Public Oral:
When the dissertation is submitted, the advisor must normally sign off on it and two readers deemed qualified by the DGS, not necessarily from the department, must submit positive reports for the final public oral to be held.