Political Islam, also known as Islamism, is an increasingly important force in Muslim majority countries and regions of the world, within Muslim communities in western states, and at the level of global politics. Whether through violence or participatory democratic politics, Islamism is now contending for national political power in numerous Muslim majority countries and some transnational movements of political Islam pose challenges analogous to those of communism at various times in the twentieth century. Within western societies the rise of Islamism is perceived as a major threat to assimilation of immigrants and to the overall coherence of national political communities.

Despite its political centrality, Islamism remains poorly understood, partly because of its very complexity and controversial aspects, and partly because of sweeping generalisations and misrepresentations by the media. The purposes of this course are to enable participants to better understand the various components of Islamism, their contemporary political significance at the global, regional, national and subnational levels, and the likely future directions for the movement in those contexts.

It will be assumed that course participants will have a basic knowledge of Islam and a general awareness of at least one global region in which Islamism is an active political force. Participants will be provided with pre-course reading and course materials.

The programme will be led by a balance of world academic experts and practitioners, shaping a unique, wide-ranging informative course.