Ideology, State, Jihad: Political Islam from Ibn Taymiyya to ISIS

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kirsten E. Schulze SAR 2.12


This course is available on the MA in Modern History, MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia), MSc in Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course has five objectives: i. To examine the evolution of political Islam as a set of ideas. ii. To compare and contrast different models of Islamic State. iii. To explore the strategies used by Islamist movements to Islamise a state as well as state strategies to prevent this. iv. To explore the phenomena of transnational Islamism and international jihadism. v. To familiarise the student with some of the primary sources (in translation) and the historiographical controversies. This course looks at the evolution of Islamist philosophy and movements, focusing on ideas as well as intellectual, religious and political leaders. The key areas covered are: Islamist thinkers - Ibn Taymiyya, Wahab, Rida, al-Banna, Qutb, Maududi, Khomeini, Faraj, Azzam and Zawaheri; Models of Islamic State - Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Malaysia; Islamist Movements – the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, Hizb'allah, Hamas, the Islamic Salvation Front,  and Boko Haram; transnational Islam and international jihadism:  Al-Qaeda,  Jemaah Islamiyah,  and  ISIS.


20 hours of seminars in the AT. 20 hours of seminars in the WT.

There will be a reading week in week 6 of the Autumn and the Winter Terms.

Formative coursework

One formative essay (3000 words) in the Autumn Term.


Essay (35%, 3500 words) in the WT.
Essay (35%, 3500 words) in the ST.
Presentation (15%) and class participation (15%) in the AT and WT.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2022/23: 19

Average class size 2022/23: 9

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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