Topics in Modern Middle Eastern History

SAME AS V57.0550.

This course will explore borderland communities and the myriad ways in which borders have worked to regulate and shape migration, rights, labor, and resistance in the Middle East from the late 19th century to the present. Employing the lens of borderlands allows us to view state formation from the perspective of national peripheries rather than capital cities and to consider how the region’s history has been shaped through interactions between empires, nation-states, and local communities. People living in borderland regions--often but not always desert or mountainous terrain--were often able to use their location to resist central state powers, play multiple states off one another, and insert themselves into new economic networks, legal and illegal, even as their lives were transformed by the hardening of borders and the expansion of global capitalist relations in this period. After World War I, the European powers were (in)famously influential in drawing national borders in the region, a process widely criticized by nationalist movements with dreams of different nation-states, even as all such territories have also seen indigenous nationalist movements asserting the legitimacy of the created borders. Indeed, most such borders have proven remarkably stable for the past century in spite of their derivation, at least in part, from colonial forms of reasoning, and despite being the site of considerable suffering for many migrants, would-be migrants, and refugees. We will explore the history of modern border formation and regulation in relation to state building, national identity, and citizenship; colonialism and decolonization; migration, labor, and smuggling; ethnic cleansing and war; and the region’s ongoing refugee crises.

Topics vary by semester.






Spring 2022

Sara D Pursley
W: 4:55 PM - 7:40 PM 25W4 C-7

Summer 2022

Olga Verlato
MW: 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM 7E12 329
Laith Shakir
MW: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM; MW: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM; MW: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM BOBS LL140

Fall 2022

Ayse Baltacioglu-Brammer
MW: 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM GCASL 274