Zachary Seguin

SI Courses

SI 101R – Introduction to Arabic 1

This course is designed for students with no previous knowledge of Arabic. It focuses on recognizing the Arabic alphabet and cursive writing. Students will build up basic vocabulary and construct simple sentences. Students will exchange basic conversations in Modern Standard Arabic and be exposed to Egyptian and Levantine colloquial Arabic.

SI 102R – Introduction to Arabic 2

Language structures and verb conjugations will be covered at a beginner level. Students will exchange conversations in varied contexts and build compound sentences and short paragraphs on topics of interest.

SI 120R – Literary Arabic for Heritage Speakers

Designed for heritage speakers who have had some meaningful exposure to Arabic (usually a spoken dialect), this language course focuses on improving technical literacy in Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha) by concentrating on grammar and literary skills. Upon finishing, students will be prepared to join non-heritage students in either intermediate or advanced Arabic.

SI 121R – Islam in the World

An introduction to the caliphates, cities, and cultures of Islam, through film and selected texts, including the experience of Islam in Canada as revealed through its writers. This course provides a foundation for Studies in Islam, establishing a context for multidisciplinary approaches to a wide variety of topics.

SI 131R – Arab Culture

Integrating elements of Arab history, geography, language, literature (prose and poetry), art, music, theatre, cinema, politics, press, humour, dance, fashion, and food, this course explores varied expressions of Arab culture. Students will also study the phenomenon of Orientalism and the impact of European colonialism upon the Arabs.

SI 132R – Introduction to Modern Arab and Muslim Drama

The course explores modern Arab and Muslim drama in English from multiple perspectives: literary, social, economic, and political.

SI 201R – Intermediate Arabic 1

This is an intermediate course focusing on reading comprehension of authentic Arabic materials. Students are introduced to verb patterns and subject-verb agreement rules and write longer paragraphs and short essays.

SI 202R – Intermediate Arabic 2

This is an intermediate course where students construct complex sentences and write essays. They read, analyze, and translate authentic texts. Students participate in conversations on topics of interest and learn complex grammar patterns, lexical derivations, and dictionary use.

SI 221R – Islam, the West, and the Modern World

This course examines conceptions of East-West divide and confrontation as well as topics of interest, both geo-political and religious, that influence the relationships of Muslims and the Western world. The focus is on the history of Muslims in the West and the challenges of integration of Muslim communities in pluralistic, secular societies.

SI 230R – Islamic Visual Culture: Art, Architecture, and Aesthetics

This course explores Islamic visual culture by focusing on three main design elements in Islamic art and architecture: calligraphy, arabesque, and geometry. The course emphasizes the aesthetic, visual, and cultural importance of ornamentation in Islamic art and examines its manifestation in the work of contemporary Muslim artists.

SI 231R – Calligraphy to Conceptual Art: Text as an Image in Islamic and East Asian Visual Arts

Exploring the history of Islamic and East Asian calligraphic arts and the study of Eastern and Western artists, this course examines multiple ways in which writing and other forms of visible language are incorporated into visual arts. Through studio projects, students explore conceptual approaches to text-based image making.

SI 240R – Migration, Diaspora, and Exile: Muslim Narratives

This course examines Muslim narratives written in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It investigates the diversity of Islamic culture and expression in diasporic contexts, exploring an array of experiences written from various socio-cultural locations. The major issues of focus are the dilemmas of individual religiosity and religious identity within diasporic contexts, the politics of identity and community, and the ways in which Islam is lived and formulated (or reformulated) in these contexts.

SI 241R – Sacred Spaces and Human Geographies: Literary Expressions

Using the Muslim dimension as a central theme, this course explores the social, cultural, and political implications to be found in a range of postcolonial literatures from Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East. Students investigate and analyze a variety of issues and concerns manifest in these literatures: identities and native sensibilities, nationalism and politics, cultural memory, and issues of sacred space and place.

SI 250R – The History of Islamic Civilization from Late Antiquity to 1300

This course surveys the diverse history of Islamic societies from the seventh to the thirteenth century. The primary focus is on the central Islamic lands from Egypt to Iran. In addition to the standard narrative, the course also examines salient aspects of Islamic civilization on a thematic basis.

SI 251R – The History of Islamic Civilization from 1300-1800: The Islamic Gunpowder Empires

This course studies in comparative fashion the rise, consolidation, and decline of the three major Islamic empires of the early modern period (c. 1300-1800): the Ottomans in Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Middle East, the Safavids in Iran, and the Mughals in India.

SI 301R – Advanced Arabic 1

This is an advanced course focusing on honing reading comprehension skills. Students write longer essays using advanced grammatical structures, and they participate in longer conversations.

SI 302R – Advanced Arabic 2

This is an advanced level course that provides additional practice of the four integrated language skills at the advanced level. Students examine and analyze texts more deeply and confidently, responding to the texts in oral presentations and class discussions.

SI 315R – Islam, Women, and the Modern World

This course examines the lives and contributions of Muslim women in history - past and present - and political, social, and cultural influences that have affected the lives of Muslim women around the world. Challenging stereotypes of Muslim women and using religious, historical, and literary images, the course focuses on contributions of Muslim women as religious leaders, scholars, and politicians.

SI 316R – Religion & War: The Language and Imagery of War within Islam, Christianity, and Judaism

This course explores the phenomena of militant words and images within Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Considered in conversation with one another, these Abrahamic traditions challenge students to consider the interconnectedness of these communities, histories, and textual traditions.

SI 320R – Introduction to Modern Arab and Muslim Drama

The course explores modern Arab and Muslim drama in English from three perspectives: contexts (literary, social, economics, and political); genres, trends, and styles; critical issues such as politics, wars, revolutions, gender, violence, class, and identity. However, the focus will be chiefly on diaspora, political violence, ritual, gender, and women's rights.

SI 375R – Special Topics in Islam

This course allows for in-depth study of selected topics in interdisciplinary studies in Islam.

SI 390R – Understanding Islam

This course brings together the diverse strands that constitute the student's learning and experience in required as well as elective courses of Studies in Islam. Exploring Islam in a variety of contexts, the approach is interdisciplinary and integrative.

SI 420R – Islamic Spirituality (Sufism) and Psychotherapy

This course explores Muslim conceptions of the soul and psychotherapy within religious and spiritual frameworks. Students will place contemporary models and psychotherapeutic approaches in dynamic conversation with the psycho-spiritual strategies of traditional Sufi systems and sages.

SI 450R – Reading and Interpreting the Qur'an (in translation)

This course serves as a comprehensive introduction to the sacred text of Islam. Students engage in a process of scriptural reasoning as they read the Qur'an and learn a wide array of hermeneutical approaches, from traditional forms of exegesis to new trends in the academic study of the Qur'an.