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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 319
Course Title: *History and Democracy of the Modern Middle East
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

As an introduction to the social, political, religious, and intellectual history of the Middle East from the 1700's to the present day, this course pays particular attention to the following topics: the nature of the Middle Eastern social and political institutions; tensions between reform and purifying impulses in Islamic religious currents; the Ottoman period, western imperialsm; paths of modernization; the Arab-Israeli conflict; the historical context for the emergence of political Islam; and the Arab Spring of 2011. Cross-listed as ANTH 319. Prerequisite: HIST 102 or HIST 112.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

HIST 102 or HIST 112

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.

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. Choose one main text (tests 1-3) and one primary source reader (texts 4-6).


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
The Modern Middle East
By Illan Pappe' (Routledge)
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 develop an understanding of the interrelated forces of Western imperialism, Arab nationalism, Zionism, and political Islam on the region.
  • To develop a broader historical context by which to better understand contemporary tensions between many Middle Eastern Western states.
Measurable Learning


  •    Trace the development of reform movements in the 19th century Ottoman Empire and Egypt.


  •     Discuss the origins of Zionist immigration into the Palestine.


  •     Explain the emergence of revolutionary movements in the Ottoman Empire and Iran in the early 20th 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 Islamic feminism with the emergence of women's movements in the early 20th century.


  •     Discuss the politics of oil and the Cold War in the Middle East.


  •     Analyze the Arab-Israeli conflict and the radicalization of Arab politics from the early 1950s to the late 1970s.


  •     Explain the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the post­ revolutionary Iranian state.


  •     Outline the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


  •     Analyze developments in Iraq from the early 1980s to the present.


  •     Describe the main issues raised by the Arab Spring of 2011, including the role of women in society, and various democratization  and reform efforts.

    Topical Outline:
    • Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pp.; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words.
    •  Background: the rise of Islam, and Islamic societies up to the 18th century
    • Ottoman reform currents, 18th and 19th centuries
    • The European "new imperialism" of the later 19th century
    • World War One, the end of the Ottoman order, and postwar authoritarian reforms
    • The Palestine mandate and the emergence of the state of Israel
    •  Nasser's Egypt: pan-Arabism and the mobilization of Arab politics
    •  Palestinian nationalism after 1948
    • Sadat's Egypt, and diplomatic realignments
    •  The Lebanese Civil War of 1975-76, and the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
    •  Authoritarian rule in Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia
    •  The Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War
    • The Intifada, and the Oslo breakthrough of 1993
    •  The Gulf Crisis of 1991 and the Iraq War of 2003-09
    • The Arab Spring: women, men and democracy
    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the History Assessment Test (HAT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: David Karr Date: August 20, 2014
    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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