Map Quizzes

5% of Final Grade

These two quizzes will be straightforward.

You will have one quiz in the second week of the semester (Ses #5). It will cover the following:

  • Modern Middle East states
  • Capital cities
  • Rivers/seas

The other quiz will be at the end of the semester during the final exam, covering the same topics as above plus demographic/population data.

  • Final exam map quiz (PDF)
  • Blank answer sheet (PDF)

To study for these quizzes, please consult maps from the following Web site:

Middle East Maps from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin.

Final Exam

25% of Final Grade

There is 3 hour final exam that consists of a single essay question and map. During the last week of class, students will receive three broad-based questions covering the entire semester's work. On the scheduled exam date, you will be asked to respond to one of those questions, but you will not know which one until the day of the exam.

Based both on readings and lectures, please discuss one of the following:

Question 1

"Most esteemed Fathers, I have read in the ancient writings of the Arabians that Abdallah the Saracen on being asked what, on this stage, so to say, of the world, seemed to him most evocative of wonder, replied that there was nothing to be seen more marvelous than man."

Thus spoke Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, author of the "manifesto of the Renaissance man." Yet according to some scholars, the notions of "East" and "West" that we are familiar with today, and a sense of division between Europe and the rest of the world, started emerging during what has come to be called the Renaissance. Using the painting by Hans Holbein, The Ambassadors (1533), as a starting point, please discuss:

  1. the economic, political, and cultural developments that contributed to European self-awareness;
  2. the relationship between Europe and the East of the Mediterranean and North Africa between the 15th and the 17th century; and
  3. the role played by Southwest Asia in the historical, material and intellectual development of Europe during that period.

Question 2

Discuss the changing relationship, after the eighteenth century, between Europe and Southwest Asia/North Africa. You will explain in particular:

  1. the development of the idea of European cultural exceptionalism;
  2. how the invention of the Renaissance (and other invented traditions) in the 19th century buttressed this notion;
  3. the origins of the "Homo Islamicus" and the "Eastern question."

This doing, you will pay particular attention to both the historical and intellectual roots of culturalism, and its legacy in today's debates about the relationship between "East" and "West."

Question 3

Explain the cultural, political, and ideological consequences of European colonization of the Middle East in the 19th and 20th century. You will discuss:

  1. the many ways by which this historical experience, and particularly its ensuing imbalance of power, altered the relationship between Europe/the U.S and the Middle East/North Africa (MENA);
  2. forms of responses in MENA to contemporary challenges posed by European and North American influence and presence in the region (give precise examples); and finally
  3. "Islam in Europe" and its challenges to European countries.