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History 319

HIST 319
The Middle East

Catalog Entry

HIST 319
The Middle East
Three hours lecture: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of History at the 100 level.

A survey of the Middle East from the birth of Islam to the present time, focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasizes the great diversity in peoples, cultures and historical development, despite the overriding influence of Islam. Issues include nationalism and colonialism, the emergence of modern Israel, modernization and development, oil diplomacy, and intraregional rivalries.


Detailed Description of Content of Course
The course is treated as an upper-level survey since most students take the course with little detailed or intimate knowledge of the region. All of the following topics are dealt with although with differing degrees of emphasis.
•    Geographical Setting & Background to Islam
•    Muhammad the Prophet & Islam's Geographical & Theological Development
•    Islam as a Way of Life
•    The Arab Conquests and Islam as a World Region
•    The Ummayad and Abbasid Caliphates
•    Shi'ites, Turks, Crusaders, Mongols
•    The Middle East in the 17-18th Centuries
•    European Imperialism & Westernization in the 19th Century
•    The Rise of Nationalism in the Middle East
•    World War I & Its Aftermath
•    Egypt: The Revolution & Beyond
•    The Question of Palestine & Israel's Creation
•    Arab Reaction to Israel
•    The Social/Economic/Political Problems of the Middle East Since 1960
•    The U.S. Role in Middle Eastern Affairs


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The basic methodology of the course is lecture, but students are given ample opportunity to ask/answer questions in class. Student-teacher interaction is encouraged. The instructor considers this a broadly introductory course and so primary emphasis is placed on mastering the basic core of knowledge. Video presentations are intended to provide the students with a visual impression of the peoples, cultures and problems of the region. In addition to a basic introductory text, students will read and evaluate a variety of other materials that may include novels, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, ethnographies, along with primary documentation.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. Students will practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues,     acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation.
2. Students will develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.
3. Students will apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that address issues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.

More specifically students:
1). will be able to demonstrate a basic historical understanding of the region.
2). will be able to develop an appreciation of its ethnic, cultural, & linguistic diversity.
3). will gain a basis for understanding the region, in order to form their own conclusions about the region's problems and potential and to better assess and analyze news-reporting about the region
4). will be able to demonstrate an understanding from the perspective of another culture of the determination of national interest and public policy.


Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course may be measured using an array of assessment tools that can include written examinations, class attendance and participation, formal papers (book analyses, research projects, and primary source analyses) and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.


Other Course Information

The course draws students from a wide variety of disciplines and the course is itself interdisciplinary encompassing not only history, but also elements of religion, geography, politics and anthropology. Effort is made to give people from the Middle East direct voice in this course through selection of reading materials and films, and, on occasion, guests. The course revolves around a series of PowerPoint presentations incorporating lecture outlines, excerpts from primary documents, historic photos, cartoons, graphs, charts, and occasional internet links.


Review and Approval
Date Action Reviewed by
October  2010 Reviewed and Approved by Sharon Roger Hepburn


04/2011