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The History of the Modern Middle East

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
July 14, 2014 - July 25, 20142M-F 12:45-3:35PCourse Full, Waitlist ClosedAdam Sacks10516

Course Description

The focus of the course will be the history of the Modern Middle East from Napoleon's incursion into Egypt until the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Concepts and issues to be discussed on a thematic basis include nationalism, cultural renaissance, the decline of empire, genocide, diplomacy, human rights and the status of refugees. Thematic coverage in the course will include focus on central figures of this history such as Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Lawrence of Arabia, and Gamel Abdel Nasser, but will also include historical texts that focus upon social analysis. Most of these concepts and issues are paradigmatic and crucial to understanding 19th and 20th century more generally and thus provide a most fitting introduction to further historical study either in the history of the Middle East, or European or American History.

This course will focus on a coverage of geographic, linguistic and religious characteristics of the region in question as it evolves over time. Centered around the Ottoman and Persian empires, the course will also engage the main concepts and features of Islam, imperialism and its responses, liberalism and reform and nationalism and conflict. In addition to receiving a comprehensive thematic foundation to the field, all major historical methods of social, economic and cultural history will be addressed and employed throughout the course.

Students will have a basic grasp of key elements of Modern Middle East History including the development of all the modern national states of the region from a social, economic and cultural perspective. In addition to receiving familiarity with basic methods and concepts of the humanities, students will be able to critically formulate their ideas through oral and written forms and be able to refine their skill in the formulation of analytic questions.

The most crucial prerequisite is a high level of interest in the material and motivation to improve critical reading and writing skills. While there are no specific expectations of previous training students oriented towards the humanities would be best served by this course.