Modern Middle East (HIST*3830) | College of Arts

Modern Middle East (HIST*3830)

Code and section: HIST*3830*01

Term: Fall 2018

Instructor: Evren Altinkas


Course Synopsis:

This course explores struggles for national independence in the region after 1919, the impact of the developing oil industry, the creation of Israel and the resulting Arab-Israeli conflict, the rise of American influence, the divisiveness of Cold War politics, and the role of women in contemporary Islamic societies.

Middle East is a region that has always been at the crossroads of civilizations. Many historical factors shaped the current map of Middle East. What is the concept of Orientalism? How did it effect the people living in the region? How did European imperialism affect the region leading up to World War I? What indigenous religious and secular movements attempted to meet the challenges posed by Western encroachment in the Middle East? How did the Ottoman Empire collapse and which nation-states were established on its territories after World War I? In examining these questions, students learn about the struggle for national independence in the subsequent interwar period by many of these newly created states. Other topics to be explored include the impact of the developing oil industry upon regional politics, the Palestine question, the creation of the state of Israel and the resulting Arab-Israeli conflict that has destabilized the area for over half a century, the rise of American influence in the region after World War II, the divisiveness of Cold War politics, Post Cold War events and the rise of religious politics, all of which play(ed) a tremendous role in subsequent social, political, and economic underdevelopment of the Middle East. This course will begin with a cursory review of Middle Eastern civilization and the critical period of transformation and reforms known as the “long 19th century” – roughly 1790-1914 – which serve as the backdrop for the remainder of the course, the history of the 20th century Middle East.

Course Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, you will:

  • understand how Middle East was shaped into its current state since the beginning of 20th century. You will also be able to interpret and discuss about the reasons of this. (Essays)
  • gain experience at interpreting primary resources. (Essays)
  • improve your written and analytical skills. (Essays)
  • engage in group studies and discussions, which will help you to improve your rhetorical skills. (In Class Participation, Discussions)

Required Resources:

William L. Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, 6th ed. (Routledge, 2016). (Textbook)
Available at the Bookstore and older editions on Reserve at the library. This is the main textbook.

Additional Resources:

Marvin E. Gettleman and Stuart Schaar (eds.), The Middle East and Islamic World Reader: A Historical Reader for the 21st Century (Grove Press, 2012) (Textbook)
This is a collection of primary materials and important articles and opinions that will be used to supplement Cleveland. Readings assigned from this book will be discussed.

Assessment Details:

Take-home Midterm Essay Examination (30%)
Due: Thu, Oct 11
Participation in discussions (15%)
Research essay abstract, source list (10%)
Due: Thu, Nov 1
Presentation of research essay topic (10%)
Dates: Nov 13, 15, 20, 22, 27,29
Final Research Essay Assignment (2000 words) (35%)
Due: Thu, Nov 29


*Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.