September 11, 2015 at 04.00 p.m. an introductory video lecture to the course “History and Culture of Islam” was held at the Faculty of Asian and African Studies (St. Petersburg State University). The lecture was given by the head of the Laboratory for analysis and modeling of social processes, professor of the University of Michigan, Alexander D. Knysh. Such kind of workshops with students who are interested in studying history and culture of Islam are one of the prior areas of work of the Laboratory within the frames of training of young specialists.
In his lecture, Alexander D. Knysh said a few words about the course, the specificity of the teaching materials, which were specially developed for this course. He also touched upon the particular approach to the study of Islam as a monument of cultural, social of the past, and present.
Alexander D. Knysh outlined the main objectives of the program – how to understand the phenomenon which is called Islam and emphasized the comparative nature of the course. It is, according to the professor, the basic idea of the so-called “academic” (or classical) approach to Islamic Studies, and its main difference from similar courses in religious institutions.
Finally, Alexander D. Knysh asked students to be correct, tolerate and mutually respectful, and asked students to send information about themselves to his e-mail in English to be able, firstly, to learn more about their personalities, and, secondly, to evaluate their level of the English language. The latter is essential in order to make simultaneous lectures with our and American students possible. Such practice is going to be introduced for the first time.