International relations, Political science, Religious studies

Course date

14 July - 25 July, 2003
Application deadline:
15 February, 2003
Course Director(s): 

Ihsan Dagi

Middle East Technical University, International Relations, Ankara, Turkey
Course Faculty: 

Sadik Al-Azm

University of Damascus, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic

John Calabrese

American University, The Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C., United States of America

Anoush Ehteshami

University of Durham, Institute for Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, Durham, NC, United Kingdom

Plamen Makariev

Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Philosophy, Sofia, Bulgaria

Hakan Yavuz

University of Utah, Department of Political Science, Salt Lake City, United States of America

Is a ‘clash of civilizations’ inevitable between Islam and the West? This renewed debate following the terrorist attacks of September 11 on the USA, which brought up the issue of Islam's encounter with the West, will be the subject-matter of this course. To explore this question further the course will take part in the debate concerning the "formation of identity" in relation to the "other" with reference to Islam and the West. As sharp ideological competitions have faded away by the end of the cold war we are told to face tensions along civilizational/cultural lines.

Islam and the West, given their centuries old competition and confrontation, and the presence of a militant anti-Westernism among some radical Islamic groups, are cast as the most likely candidates to clash. In an age of globalization it is impossible to draw lines among civilizations and cultures. They are bound to co-exist contributing to interdependence of faiths and civilizations breakdown of which may result in a total destruction of "global civilization".

Thus the course will examine the relationship between Islam and the West from historical, political and sociological points of view, and question the myths of conflict to foster civilizational/cultural understanding among the peoples of Eastern Europe and former Soviet space where Islam and Christianity meet and interact.