The Emergence of The Modern Middle East


This course provides a survey of the major historical transformations of the Middle East, focusing on the major socio-economic changes, colonial conflicts, and intellectual reformations taking place since the beginning of the 19th century. In doing so, the course explores a range of topics, including the Ottoman Empire and its legacy in the region; political reform and the consolidation of centralized states; the emergence of capitalism and political-economic orientation of elites; the experience and aftermath of World War I and II; Turkish, Arab and Iranian nationalisms and the rise of mass politics; Western colonial influences and anti-colonial responses; Islamic revivalism and political Islam; shifting Cold War alignments; oil politics and the expansion of U.S.-Middle East relations; and the struggle of peasants, workers, and students for social and economic justice throughout the period. Through close readings of relevant secondary literature and primary source documentation, students will come to understand how this multi-faceted historical context has shaped ongoing events and crises in the Middle East, and how the specific history of the region is intertwined with broader questions of race, religion, ethnicity, class, and gender. Ultimately, the course aims to deconstruct prevailing media and popular representations of the Middle East and provide students with nuanced methodological tools with which to approach the historical transformation of the region from the 19th century to the present day. In terms of expectations, the course will prepare students to write a final term paper based on one of the central themes discussed in each class session and utilizing one or more primary source.

Surveys main political, social, economic, and intellectual currents of the 20th century. Emphasis on historical background and development of current problems in the region. Topics include imperialism, nationalism, religion, Orientalism, women, class formation, oil, the Arab-Israeli crisis, and the Iranian revolution.






Summer 2020

Robert Joseph Bell
MW: 12:30 PM - 3:15 PM KEVO LL1