Photo of many people gathered in a street, with large loudspeakers, hand drums, and a hand holding up a tape recorder.

The annual Maukib procession for members of Islam's Qadiriyyah tradition in Kano, Nigeria. Kano is one of the founding pilgrimage cities in the Green Pilgrimage Network, which helps make sacred sites environmentally sustainable, and encourages their pilgrims to "tread lightly on the Earth." (Photo by Darul Qadiriyyah, Kano. Courtesy of The Alliance of Religions and Conservation on Flickr)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2015



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course is an introduction to Islam from the perspective of media and sound studies, intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. From the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam in its various manifestations has had a complex relationship with media. While much contemporary writing focuses on Islam in the media, this course explores how many aspects of Islamic practice and thinking might be understood as media technologies that facilitate the inscription, storage and transmission of knowledge. Central questions include: How do Islam and media technologies relate? What kinds of practices of inscription and transmission characterize Islam in all its varieties across time and place? How might Islamic thought and practice be understood in light of databases, networks, and audiovisual sensation? Given the rich diversity in Islam historically and geographically, emphasis will be placed on these interconnected but divergent practices from the earliest revelations of the Qur'an to contemporary Islamist political movements, with geographies spanning from Indonesia to the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in Europe and North America. In addition to exploring these themes through reading and writing, students will be encouraged to complete course assignments and projects in media, using audiovisual documentary or composition as a means of responding to the course themes.

Related Content

Peter McMurray. 21M.289 Islam/Media. Spring 2015. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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