Module Catalogue 2019/20

HIS3330 : Islamism and its Origins

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Willow Berridge
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module will attempt to trace the historic origins of Islamist ideology. It has been claimed that the modern Islamist agenda traces its roots to pre-modern radical theologians such as Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya and Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Yet, to what extent was Islamist ideology in the 20th Century conditioned by the transformative impact of Western colonial modernity? To what extent can the Islamist notions of thinkers such as Hasan al-Banna, Mawlana Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb be compared with these of the other ideological movements of the 20th century, such as fascism, Marxism-Leninism and nationalism? How important is it to recognize the specifically colonial origins of Islamism?

-       To familiarise students with critical debates concerning the historic origins of Islamists ideology
-       To enable students to engage with these debates through analysis of texts written by prominent Islamists
-       To provide a broad awareness of the cultural, economic and political contexts in which Islamism emerged

Outline Of Syllabus

1.       Historic Origins of Radical Islam: From the Kharijites to Ibn Taymiyya
2.       Islamic Revivalism
3.       Islamic Reformism
4.       Hasan al-Banna and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood
5.       Maulana Mawdudi and radical Islam in Pakistan
6.       Sayyid Qutb and Qutbism
7.       Islamism and Socialism
8.       Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution in Iran
9.       Hasan al-Turabi and Sudan’s ‘Salvation Revolution’
10.       Women and Radical Islam
11.       Islamic Militancy
12.       Revision Lecture

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

-       Ability to challenge stereotypes concerning ‘Islamic fundamentalism’
-       Awareness of critical debates concerning the ideological origins of Islamism and its relationship with other ideological movements
-       Awareness of the diverse range of political movements that Islamist ideology has inspired

Intended Skill Outcomes

-       Ability to write clearly and critically about complex subjects
-       Ability to critically analyse source materials and relate them to historiographical debates
-       Synthesize and challenge a wide variety of interpretations

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching123:0036:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with important contextual knowledge and familiarise them with critical debates surrounding the ideological origins of Islamism. Seminars will enable them to engage critically with these debates and develop their oral communication and groupwork skills.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1802A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M25Essay/doc.commentary of 1,500 to 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The balance of assessment provides students to demonstrate their abilities across the range of skills that this module has helped them to develop. The assessed essay examines written argument, histroriographical engagement,independent thinking and independent research.

The written examination assess critical evaluation of primary source material, student’s understanding of the course content, and skills of written argument. Exams test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

Documentary commentary exercises and examinations test knowledge and understanding of the
texts set for the module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space, and, in an exam, under pressure of time.

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. Submitted work tests knowledge outcomes and develops skills in research, reading and writing'.
Submitted work, tests, intended knowledge and skills outcomes develops key skills in research, reading and writing.


This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.