‘Political Islam’ is possibly one of the most overused yet analytically vague categories in the public sphere. Starting in 1798 with Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and charting our way through the tumultuous 19th and 20th centuries, we will explore seminal historical moments through a number of primary sources in order to understand the manner in which Muslim thinkers from across the world reacted to modernity in its various forms. The course will mostly focus on the 20th century and will analyse the rise of the Jamaat-e Islami in India and its eventual establishment in Pakistan, the Ikhwanul Muslimeen in Egypt and its subsequent spread to different countries, Velayat-e Faqih in Iran and of course the rise of various militarised extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda. We will ask questions about the local, national, trans-national dimensions of all these movements in order to see whether there is anything that loosely ties them together or not. During the course of the semester, we will ask key questions to do with how important Muslim thinkers reacted to democracy, nationalism, liberalism, communism and socialism amongst other things.