Islamic Mysticism – Fall 2017

Course numbers: AMES 373S, ETHICS 373S, ICS 380S, RELIGION 373S

Course attributions: CCI, EI, CZ

Course Description:

This course explores the mystical dimension of Islam, with a bold, poetic, and mystical emphasis on the legacy of human and Divine love.   No background is needed.

Themes explored in this class include the tradition of love poetry of Rumi and Hafez, the various meditative techniques, Sufi poetry and music. We will also explore the controversies surrounding Sufism in the contemporary scene ranging from attacks on Sufism from Muslim fundamentalists to the destruction of Sufi shrines by ISIS and Wahhabis.

Professor biography:

Professor Omid Safi is an award-winning professor in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center.





American Qur’an

This presentation will outline Birk’s project of hand-transcribing the entire Qur’an according to historic Islamic traditions and illuminating the text with relevant scenes from American life. Nine years in the making, the project was inspired by a decade of extended travel in Islamic regions of the world.

Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk is a well-travelled graduate of the Otis/Parson’s Art Institute. Frequently developed as expansive, multi-media projects, his works dealt with contemporary life in its entirety. With an emphasis on social issues, frequent themes of his past work include inner city violence, graffiti, political issues, travel, war, prisons, as well as surfing and skateboarding. Birk was the recipient of a 1995 NEA International Travel Grant to Mexico City to study mural painting, a 1996 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 1997 Fulbright Fellowship to paint in Rio de Janeirio. In 1999, Birk was awarded a Getty Fellowship for painting and in 2001 he received a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship. In 2007, Birk was an artist in residence at the Smithsonian Institute and in 2009 he was in residence at the Cité Internatioale des Arts in Paris. Birk’s most recent project involves a consideration of the Qur’an as relevant to contemporary life in America.

This event is presented by the John Hope Franklin Center, and the Duke Islamic Studies Center. A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1 hour parking vouchers to guests.