Rethinking Reform in Higher Education: From Islamization to Integration of Knowledge

International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)
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The Reform in Higher Education in Muslim Societies is in sum a paradigm shift in perspective driven by important considerations including the aims of education itself. It may require reforming existing disciplines, inventing new ones, as well as working in conjunction with current knowledge(s) and discourses by taking effective account of the ethical, spiritual norms of Muslim society, the guiding principles that it operates under, which in turn mark the underlying basis of its makeup and spiritual identity. Rather than creating divisions, reform of Higher Education in Muslim Societies recognizes the plurality and diversity of the modern networked world, and seeks to replace sterile and uniform approaches to knowledge with a broader and more creative understanding of reality as lived on different soils and different cultures. Moderation, balance and effective communication are paramount features of the underlying philosophy. 

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About the author

 Ziauddin Sardar, writer, broadcaster, futurist and cultural critic, is an internationally renowned scholar and public intellectual. Formerly, Professor of Law and Society at Middlesex University, he is author of over 50 books, including Reading the Qur’an; and Mecca: The Sacred City, and two volumes of the highly acclaimed autobiography: Desperately Seeking Paradise and Balti Britain: A Provocative Journey Through Asian Britain. Two collections of his writings are available as Islam, Postmodernism and Other Futures: A Ziauddin Sardar Reader and How Do You Know? Reading Ziauddin Sardar on Islam, Science and Cultural Relations. Professor Sardar has worked as a science journalist for Nature and New Scientist, as reporter for London Weekend Television and Channel 4 and has made numerous television and radio programmes, including Battle for Islam, a documentary for the BBC. A former columnist on the New Statesman, and long-standing Editor of the monthly journal Futures. Currently, he is Editor of the quarterly magazine Critical Muslim, and Director of the Centre for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies.


Jeremy Henzell-Thomas is a Research Associate (and former Visiting Fellow) at the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of the executive committee of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS UK), he was the first Chair of the Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR), and is the Founder and former Executive Director of the Book Foundation, a registered UK charity which works with partner institutions in the UK and the USA to improve understanding of Islam in the West. Currently an Associate Editor of Critical Muslim, he has also written regular columns over the years for Islamica and Emel magazines, and the Credo column in The Times. A former lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, he endeavours to apply his academic specialisms of philology and psycholinguistics to contemporary issues affecting public perception of Islam and Muslims, and to the advancement of critically aware dialogue and polylogue in a range of socio-cultural and educational contexts.

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Additional Information

International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)
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Published on
Aug 2, 2017
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Education / Higher
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A groundbreaking manifesto about what our nation’s top schools should be—but aren’t—providing: “The ex-Yale professor effectively skewers elite colleges, their brainy but soulless students (those ‘sheep’), pushy parents, and admissions mayhem” (People).

As a professor at Yale, William Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively and how to find a sense of purpose. Now he argues that elite colleges are turning out conformists without a compass.

Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics, students are losing the ability to think independently. It is essential, says Deresiewicz, that college be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success in order to forge their own paths. He features quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and offering clear solutions on how to fix it.

“Excellent Sheep is likely to make…a lasting mark….He takes aim at just about the entirety of upper-middle-class life in America….Mr. Deresiewicz’s book is packed full of what he wants more of in American life: passionate weirdness” (The New York Times).
هناك خطأ كبير وعميق في التصرفات الأمريكية، فالحلم الأمريكي أصبح كابوساً كونياً نحتاج جميعاً أن نصحو منه بأسرع وقت ممكن.
هذا هو الكتاب الثاني في سلسلة معالجة المؤلفة لمشكلة أمريكا مع نفسها ومع العالم، اهتم المؤلفان بهذه المسألة بشكل قل مثيله في الكتب المهتمة بهذه القضية، ونال الكتاب السابق تقديراً عالمياً (...) وترجم لأكثر من ثلاث وعشرين لغة، وأثنى عليه كبار الكُتّاب، وامتدحته وسائل الإعلام المهمة.
يهتم الكتاب بالأساطير والحقائق وجوانب عديدة للثقافة الأمريكية كهوليود، والمشاهير، والنجوم، والهنود، والجنود والإعلام والاقتصاد والإمبريالية.

مؤلفا هذا الكتاب هما الكاتبان اللامعان: ضياء الدين سردار، و ميريل وين ديفيز مؤلفا كتاب (لماذا يكره العالم أمريكا؟) الذي كان بين الكتب الأكثر بيعًا في العالم، والذي جاء تعقيبًا على أحداث الحادي عشر من سبتمبر. حيث قاما فيه بمعاينة صورة أمريكا في أذهان من هم في الخارج، مؤكدين أن على أمريكا إذا ما أرادت الرد على هذا الحدث الرهيب أن تقر بأن هناك حاجة ماسة إلى فهم ونقاش جديدين حول دورها وعلاقاتها بباقي العالم. أما في كتاب (حلم أمريكا، كابوس العالم)، فقد قاما بتسليط الضوء على تصور أمريكا لأمريكا. مؤكدين على أن مشكلات العالم مع أمريكا تبدأ في أمريكا، وأن جذر المشكلة متمثل فيما أسمياه (الذهان أو الهوس الأمريكي) وأن أمريكا ليست بعيدة ولا معزولة بل إن ما يحدث فيها له أصداؤه عبر أرجاء كوكب الأرض. ويخلص المؤلفان إلى أن هناك خطأً كبيرًا وعميقًا في التصرفات الأمريكية، فالحلم الأمريكي صار كابوسًا كونيًّا نحتاج جميعًا إلى أن نصحو منه في أسرع وقت ممكن.

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