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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 235
Course Title: *History and Democracy of the Modern Middle East
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

The Middle East has been and continues to be among the most important regions of the world, religiously, economically, and politically, especially in terms of its formative effects upon the contemporary western world. As an introduction to the social, political, religious and intellectual history of the Middle East stretching from the pre-Islamic states to the present day, but with special attention paid to the period since 1800, this course pays particular attention to the following topics: the changing relationships among religion, political movements and everyday life; the nature of Middle Eastern social and political institutions; tensions between reformatory and purifying impulses in Islamic religious currents; the Ottoman period, western imperialism, and the Eastern Question; paths of modernization; the Arab-Israeli conflict; and the historical context for the emergence of political Islam. Cross-listed as ANTH 235. Course meets Multicultural graduation requirement.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered odd Spring.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A required main text and a primary course reader must be assigned. These texts should be supplemented with at least one recommended text. Use the most current editions from among the following:

A History of the Modern Middle East
By William L. Cleveland (Westview Press)
Category/Comments - Main Text
The Modern Middle East: A History
By James L. Gelvin (Oxford University Press)
Category/Comments - Main Text
A History of the Arab Peoples
By Albert Hourani (Belknap Press)
Category/Comments - Main Text
The Modern Middle East: A Reader
By Albert Hourani, Philip S. Khoury, and Mary C. Wilson (University of California Press)
Category/Comments - Primary Source Reader
Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East
By Akram Fouad Khater (Houghton-Mifflin)
Category/Comments - Primary Source Reader
The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict
By Walter Lacqueur and Barry Rubin (Penguin)
Category/Comments - Primary Source Reader
Inventing Iraq: The Failure of Nation-building and a History Denied
By Toby Dodge (Columbia University Press)
Between Memory and Desire: The Middle East in a Troubled Age
By R. Stephen Humphreys (University of California Press)
Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising, and the Arab World
By Kanan Makiya (Samir Al-Khalil)
The Israeli/Palestine Question
By Ilan Pappe (Routledge)
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
By Charles D. Smith (St. Martin's Press)
Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak's Egypt
By Lisa Blaydes (Cambridge University Press)
Civil Society and Democratization in the Arab World: The Dynamics of Activism
By Francesco Cavatorta (Routledge)
An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'l Lebanon
By Lara Deeb (Princeton University Press)
The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt
By Omnia El Shakry (Stanford University Press)
Gender and Citizenship in the Middle East
By Joseph, Suad (Syracuse University Press)
Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey
By Esra Ozyurek (Duke University Press)
Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Regimes and Resistance
By Marsha Pripstein and Michele Penner Angrist (Lynne Rienner Publishers)
Course Objectives

• To identify the major countries, regions and ethnicities of the Middle East. • To describe the major events, persons and ideas that shaped the period and how these events fit into the course of Middle Eastern history. • To analyze primary sources (in translation) and synthesize these materials in various formats, e.g., oral presentations, class discussions, research papers. • To develop a more nuanced understanding of the historical context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. • To understand the interrelated forces of Western colonialism and imperialism, Arab nationalism, Zionism, and political Islam on the region. • To develop a broader historical context by which to better understand current tensions among states and sub-state societies in the Middle East and many Western states.

Measurable Learning Outcomes:

• Describe the major aspects of early Islamic civilizations, including the expansion of Islam, the development of Sunni and Shi’a Islamic traditions, and the effects of the European Crusades upon Islamic societies. • Outline the Islamic, Ottoman and Safavid backgrounds of the 18th century Middle East. • Trace the development of reform movements in the 19th century Ottoman Empire and Egypt. • Discuss the origins of Zionism. • Explain the emergence of revolutionary movements in the Ottoman Empire and Iran in the early 10th century. • Discuss the impact of World War I and the postwar peace settlements on the Middle East. • Describe the growth of Arab nationalism, Zionism and authoritarian reform during the interwar period and World War II. • Discuss secular modernization efforts in the Republic of Turkey during Ataturk’s time as head of state. • Discuss the politics of oil and the Cold War in the Middle East. • Analyze the radicalization of Arab politics from the early 1950s to the late 1970s and its links to the Arab-Israeli conflict. • Trace the origins and course of the Lebanese civil war, the authoritarian regimes in Syria and Iraq and the growth of militant Islam and the Iranian Revolution in 1979. • Outline the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. • Analyze developments in Iraq from the early 1980s to the present.

Topical Outline:

• The rise and expansion of Islam to the consolidation of the Abbasid Empire • The major social and political institutions of Islamic societies between up to the 15th century • The Ottoman and Safavid Empires • The beginnings of the era of transformation, including the later Ottoman Empire’s 18th century efforts at reform • The Ottoman Empire and Egypt during the 19th century period of reform known as the Tanzimat • The intellectual and political responses of Islamic society to the ‘new imperialism’ of the European states of the later 19th century • World War One and the end of the Ottoman order • Postwar authoritarian reform in Turkey and Iran • The Arab struggle for independence in Egypt, Iraq, and Transjordan to 1945 • The Arab struggle for independence in Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia to 1945 • The Palestine mandate and the emergence of the state of Israel • Pan-Arabism and the Middle East in the age of Nasser: the radicalization of Arab politics • The Palestinian national movement after 1948 • Sadat’s Egypt, and diplomatic realignments • The Lebanese Civil War of 1975-1976 and the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon • Authoritarian rule in Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia: Hafiz al-Asad, Saddam Hussein, and the Kingdom of the al Sauds • The Iranian Revolution, the revival of political Islam, and the Iran-Iraq War • The Intifada, and the breakthrough of 1993 • The Gulf Crisis of 1991 and its aftermath


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: David Karr Date: August 22, 2011
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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