Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Description

This is an introductory course to the history of the Middle East in the "long Twentieth century," from the end of the 19th century until the present. The goal of this course is to introduce students to major political, social, intellectual and cultural issues and practices in the Middle East, focusing on important events, movements and ideas, which shaped the history of the Middle East during the last century and affect its current realities.

The course will begin with a historical introduction to the Middle East in the late Ottoman period and the eve of imperialism at the beginning of the Twentieth century after World War I. We will then discuss the processes that led to the establishment of nation-states in the Middle East, focusing mainly on Turkey and Egypt as our case studies. We will look into the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its effect on the Middle East, the rise of political Islam and the Iranian Revolution, as well as the debates regarding Islam and democracy, and Islam post 9/11. The course will conclude with a discussion and analysis of the 2011 revolts in the Arab world and with today's realities in the Middle East.

Required Readings

The following books will be used extensively throughout the course.

Cleveland, William L., and Martin Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. 5th ed. Westview Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780813348339.

Gelvin, James L. The Modern Middle East: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780199766055.

Other required readings can be seen in the table in the Readings section.

Class Format and Requirements

The class meets twice a week. The first session of each week will consist of an introductory lecture that will treat the themes and readings for that week. The second session functions to promote class discussion and student-led discussion about the various reading assignments and other materials, as well as film screenings.

This class is part of the CI-H subject requirements, and hence emphasizes both writing and oral skills.

Grading Policy


Class participation

All students must demonstrate that they have read and critically analyzed the material in preparation for the class meetings. Some of the discussions will be led by students. The discussion and class participation is a very important part of the course and will be reflected in the final grade.

Reaction / Reflection papers (2) 25%
Final research paper 50%

For more information on the reaction / reflection papers and the final research paper, see the Assignments section.

Academic Honesty

The work that you submit for this class must be your own work. Plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated under any circumstances and will result in an immediate "F" grade for the course. Any words and ideas that are not yours should be accompanied by full and complete citation. If you have any further questions dealing with academic honesty you must contact the professor prior to the submission of any written assignment.