Spring 2018  |  LANG 3651 Section 001: Islamic Studies Seminar: Rumi, Sufi Poet (69279)

Jeanne Kilde (Proxy)
Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person Term Based
Times and Locations:
Extended Regular Session
01/15/2018 - 05/09/2018
Wed 12:10PM - 03:00PM
UMTC, East Bank
Jones Hall 135B
Enrollment Status:
Open (4 of 7 seats filled)
Course Catalog Description:
CourseShare course hosted by Rutgers University through the Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum (DISC). Received via video conferencing. Please email the CLA Language Center at elsie@umn.edu for more information.
Class Notes:
Please see special end date.
Class Description:
Rumi is today the best-selling poet in America, a position he has held for more than twenty years, despite the fact that he did not originally write in English. He is consequently one of the best-known spiritual leaders of the past and certainly the most well-known Sufi across the world. How has this mystic from the Islamic world, writing in Persian, the language of present-day Iran and Afghanistan, become so popular among a huge amount of adoring fans in the United States? Rumi's legacy suggests that this status is not an undeserved, freak accident, for he not only composed thousands of verses of poetry that became revered internationally from early on, through the huge Ottoman empire, but his disciples formed, on the basis of his teachings, a Sufi order that became highly influential for many centuries in three different continents. They are still active today and better known as "the Whirling Dervishes." This seminar will focus on Rumi's writings in translation, in order to acquire an in-depth understanding of both his spirituality and Persian literature. We will contextualize Rumi historically and then analyze his poetry and discourses, with an emphasis on his didactic poetry. Analysis of texts in translation will be emphasized, both as a means to acquire a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of the material, and also to develop skills in textual analysis that are indispensable for graduate study. Original sources can also be provided for anyone who reads Persian, although no language other than English is needed for this course.
Who Should Take This Class?:
Undergraduate students interested in an in-depth study of this seminal figure who is the best-selling poet in America as well as in Iran and Afghanistan. Also, students interested in poetry, mysticism, and Islamic civilization in general will benefit from this course, since Rumi's influencehas been so far-reaching.
Learning Objectives:
  • Students will historicize a figure who is popular today and usually encountered with little sense of his historical context.
  • Students will learn Rumi's main teachings and how they fit with the wider Sufi traditionof mysticism of his time.
  • Students will identify the correlation between innovations in his poetic style in relation to the Persian literary traditions and his mystical idiosyncrasies.
  • Students will identify what is so distinctive about Rumi that has made him so popular among diverse readerships through the centuries.
  • Students will learn skills in textual analysis
30% participation,
30% Reaction papers
40% Research paper (3,500-4,500 words for undergraduates)
Exam Format:
There is no examination or quizzes. The assessed work consists of regular 300-word reactions to readings that are submitted online and then used as the basis of class discussion, as well as a research paper of approximately 4,000 words.
Class Format:
The class is a discussion seminar, with regular presentations, using multi-media resources and guest speakers.
Approximately 60 pages of reading per week.

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