PLSC/HIST 469: The Modern Middle East

This course traces the political history of the Middle East since World War I. Much of contemporary discussion about the Middle East is framed as a series of inscrutable crises rooted in primordial religious or ethnic hatreds.  In contrast, we will examine several such crises using these analytical themes as entry points:  methodology, colonialism, independence and state-building, the political mobilization of new social classes, the spread of capitalist economic relations, Arab nationalism, relations between the Arab states, the Middle East as an arena of the Cold War, Islamic revivalism, globalization and economic restructuring, and the significance of non-state actors.

The course aims to (1) enhance students’ critical understanding of a series of key issues in the politics of the modern Middle East, (2) debate the methods historians and political scientists have used to address them, and (3) develop students’ analytical and communicative skills.


Students will:

1. Demonstrate critical thinking, writing and research skills with respect to politics in the modern Middle East.

2. Demonstrate knowledge of the methodologies used to study politics in the modern Middle East.

3. Apply general approaches to the study of politics–particularly approaches to the study of the developing world–to specific societies in the region.

4. Apply an international or cross-cultural perspective to better understand both the Middle East and the West.

REQUIRED TEXTS: Several course readings are available on Blackboard.

In addition, the following books should be purchased at or from another vendor. (Click on the links to purchase from Amazon. Be sure to purchase the correct edition.)

Texts IN HARD COPY must be brought to class on the day they will be discussed.  Students will be considered absent if they do not bring the reading to class on the day it is discussed.

Students should follow ongoing developments in the Middle East and, wherever possible, connect those developments to the course materials.  In-class quizzes will ask students to relate the course materials to ongoing developments in the Middle East.  The BBC, the Economist, and most major American newspapers have a feed on Middle Eastern politics, as do Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs.


Class meetings will be a combination of lectures and discussions. Readings must be completed before the class meeting in which they will be discussed. This enables students to get the most out of the lectures and to participate effectively in discussion.

Discussion: During class discussion you are not expected to have fully developed points of view about the course materials. But you are expected to participate. No one will be penalized for being wrong or imprecise, for expressing uncertainty or frustration, for changing their minds. But it should be clear that you are trying, that you have done the readings and are working toward a mastery of the material.

Questions: None of us, myself included, knows everything about the topics of this class. It is our responsibility to ask others who may know the answer, either in class, in office hours, or over dinner. I expect that you are learning the material, not that you know it. As much as possible, try not to be shy or embarrassed about what you don’t yet know. The biggest failure in learning any material, in college or in life, is to fail to ask questions about things you do not know.

Availability: I expect that all of you, either alone or in groups, will contact me throughout the semester. I am almost always available to discuss the course material, or other life issues. Because I maintain an “open-door” policy, you should not hesitate to stop by my office during office hours–or at other times. If you would prefer to schedule a time during non-office hours, simply contact me by phone or email and we will schedule an appropriate time.

Course Conduct: In order to build and maintain a supportive and productive learning community, students and instructors must treat one another with respect.

For students, this includes but is not limited to:

  • Being prepared to discuss the assigned readings each day;
  • Regular attendance;
  • Notifying the instructor of any scheduling conflicts;
  • On-time arrival to class;
  • Minimizing trips in and out of the room during class;
  • Minimizing side-conversations;
  • Refraining from use of cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Neither laptops nor tablets may be used in class.  Cell phones must be turned off AND put away during class meetings.  Students who use laptops, tablets, or cell phones will be considered absent.

Failure to adhere to these expectations – especially if students are disrupting others’ learning or creating an unwelcoming environment – will result in disciplinary measures. For more on University policies on appropriate classroom conduct, see the University of La Verne Catalog.

For instructors, responsibility for building and maintaining a supportive and productive learning community includes but is not limited to:

  • Being accessible to students;
  • Communicating clear expectations for student success;
  • Addressing students respectfully, including use of preferred names and pronouns;
  • Returning graded work in a timely fashion;
  • Creating a open exchange of ideas to which all students are encouraged to contribute;
  • Facilitating the interrogation and critical analysis of ideas, including interrogation of the instructor’s views, biases, and values.

Students are encouraged to report violations of University policy, including sexual misconduct and social justice incidents here:


This is a discussion course.  It follows that the value of our meetings will hinge on your advance preparation and on your willingness to engage the issues actively in class.  When you are doing the readings, keep in mind that you will be expected to participate in the debates outlined in the readings, reject some positions, embrace others, and defend the choices you make.

Grades will be based on the following:

  • Map Quiz:  2%
  • Think Pieces and Quizzes: 25%
  • Research Paper:  25%
    • 250-word outline (2%)
    • First two installments  (5%)
    • Final Draft (13%)
    • In-class presentation:  (5%)
  • Midterm: 15%
  • Final Exam:  25%
  • In-class participation:  10%

Map Quiz: You will be given a blank map of the contemporary Middle East and asked to fill in the names of the countries and bodies of water. (See Appendix I)

Think Pieces:  On the Schedule of Meetings (below), you will find study questions for each class session.  All students are responsible for writing one double-spaced page on one or more of these questions.  The think pieces must address questions from that week’s reading. The think pieces will be due by midnight on the day they are discussed in class (uploaded to SafeAssign on Blackboard). No think piece is required for the first week of class, the last week of class, the week of the midterm, or the weeks installments of the research paper are due.

The think pieces will be assessed on a scale of 1-25. A grade of 17-20 indicates that the student has answered the question accurately. An “18-21” is indicative of an accurate answer with some critical reflection on the question. A “22-25” indicates critical reflection as well as specific reference to the text. A “12-14” indicates that the answer misrepresents the text, while anything below 18 indicates that the question has not been answered. In order to score well on the think pieces, students must cite the text.

Quizzes:  Quizzes will be given at the end of class. I will write one question on the board. This question will reflect our discussion and/or the assigned reading for the day.  Students will have ten minutes to answer this question.  The quizzes will be assessed on the same scale used for the think pieces.

Research Paper: Students will undertake research into one of the topics we study, write a term paper, and present their research in class.  Papers should be approximately 3000 words in length and should include research that goes beyond the scope of the course material.  These papers must make an argument and should not simply survey a historical period. (Some suggested topics can be found in Appendix II.)

For you research paper, you should locate and properly utilize scholarly sources. Use a minimum of five scholarly sources in your paper. The best texts you can use are books or articles published by academics in the fields of history, political science, and related disciplines. Please consult our librarian, Norma Durian (, for assistance. Articles from scholarly, peer-reviewed journals are among the most appropriate sources available to you for your paper. Avoid non-scholarly internet sources and never use an open source platform like Wikipedia.

You should start working on your research paper immediately.  On the dates given below, you will need to hand in an outline and writing installments.  The outline must be at least 250 words in length and must include a thesis statement.  When your outline is returned, your thesis will be either approved as is or (more likely) modified to some extent.  You will then be required to write a paper supporting that finalized thesis statement. Your first installment must be 1500 words in length.  The final draft must be 3000 words in length. Your outline, first installment, and the final draft must be submitted to SafeAssign by 11:59 pm on the day they are due.  Late papers will be penalized at the rate of one grade per day. All papers must be submitted in Microsoft Word. No PDFs.

Oral presentation of research will take place on the date that best corresponds to the topic selected.  You should speak for approximately 15 minutes and field questions afterward. Students who present early in the semester will not be expected to have finalized their research. Students who present later, should have more definitive conclusions. On the date of your presentation, you should arrive to class early to set up. If you use PowerPoint slides, please make sure that you put very little text on each slide you use. PowerPoint slides that include a large amount of text are not effective. If you put a large amount of text on a slide (e.g. a quotation), you need to give the audience time to read the text.

Exams: The midterm and the final will both be in-class exams. The midterm will pose a series of short-answer questions based on the course materials.  The final will do the same and will also ask you to choose one of two essay questions, each of which will outline a specific political problem.  You will be asked to write an essay that applies the materials we have studied to this political problem.

If you need disability accommodations for an exam or other assignment, please see the instructor as soon as possible. Information regarding disabilities, including learning disabilities, will remain confidential. If you are not sure whether you need special accommodations, please contact the Accessibility Services Department. Information about location and contact numbers can be found here:

Attendance and Participation:

  • Attendance and punctuality are basic requirements for an effective discussion. Beyond that, each student’s frequency and quality of contribution to the class discussion will be assessed and reflected in the class participation score.  
  • Classes will no longer be held over Zoom except in cases where students have a valid medical excuse. Students who attend classes by Zoom with a valid medical excuse will receive full credit. 
  • Students may miss up to four classes without penalty. Students who miss more than four classes will suffer a deduction of one-third of a grade (e.g. a B+ becomes a B). Students who miss more than seven classes will suffer a full grade deduction (e.g. a B+ becomes a C+).
  • Students who are in class but do not have the assigned reading will be considered absent.
  • Multiple instances of tardiness may result in a deduction of one-third of a grade.

Late Assignments Late assignments may be submitted for partial credit, but no assignments will be accepted after the last day of finals week.


Jan. 31: Introduction

Feb. 2: Abbas Kiarostami, A Taste of Cherry

  • The various people Mr. Badii meets in A Taste of Cherry offer a good introduction to the diversity of the Middle East. Identify the ethnicities and religious identities of Mr. Badii and his various interlocutors. Sidnee, Joseph
  • How significant is religion to the various characters in the film? Sebastian, Sean
  • Why does Mr. Badii want to be buried? Jaylene
  • Does Mr. Badii commit suicide?  Does it matter? Violette 
  • To what extent does the film tell a story that is particular to the Middle East? To what extent is the narrative universal? Andrea

Feb. 7: Naguib Mahfouz, Autumn Quail, first half

  • What insight can a novel offer in Middle Eastern society that may not be readily communicable in a work of history or political science? Chris
  • What is the significance of Islam in Mahfouz’s novel? Drew
  • What are the arguments for the Revolution of 1952?  What are the arguments against it? Ariel, Danielle

Feb. 9: Autumn Quail, second half

  • Does Isa have any sympathy for the Revolution? Sebastian, Sidnee
  • Do you think Mahfouz favors the revolutionaries or the conservatives? Sean
  • One reader has said that Autumn Quail is a story of ‘opportunism, alienation and marginalization.’  Explain the role each concept plays in the novel. Jaylene

Feb. 14: Methodology:  Said, Orientalism, pp. 1-15, 25-28 (Blackboard)

  • What is the Orient? Violette
  • What is Orientalism? Andrea
  • What is the Occident? Chris
  • In Said’s view, what is the relationship between the Occident and the Orient? Ariel
  • What does Said mean by the ‘other’? Danielle
  • How does Orientalism affect scholarship on the Middle East? Drew
  • Said writes, “The Orient was Orientalized not only because it was discovered to be “Oriental”…but also because it could be—that is, submitted to being—made Oriental.” (p. 5-6).  What is the meaning of this claim? 
  • Said writes that to create ‘the Oriental’ is also, in a sense, to obliterate him. (p. 27)  What is the meaning of this claim? Joseph

Feb. 16: Methodology:  Said, Orientalism, pp. 284-305 (Blackboard); Owen, pp. 1-4; MAP QUIZ

  • How might scholars study the Middle East without succumbing to Orientalism?  Does Owen outline a promising approach? Sidnee
  • Describe the ways in which Arabs have been represented in the Western media.  What political agendas do these portrayals serve? Sebastian
  • Why, in Said’s opinion, do Orientalists avoid the study of literature? Sean
  • How would you define ‘the state’?  How well do these definitions apply to the Middle East? Jaylene


Feb. 21: The Rise, Expansion and Development of Islamic Civilization: Cleveland, ch. 1 and pp. 23-31, Presentation: Sidnee

  • What explains the rapid and successful spread of Islam? Violette
  • What is a dhimmi?  What privileges were they allowed? Andrea
  • What did the deity of the Quran want from his human creations? Chris
  • What were the main tenets of early Islam? Ariel
  • What are the different meanings of ‘jihad’ in Islam? Danielle
  • What is the shari’ah? Drew
  • Who succeeded Muhammad? Joseph
  • What was the historical origin of the split between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims?  How do their doctrines differ? 

Feb. 23: WWI and the End of the Ottoman Order: Cleveland, ch. 9

  • What is Arabism?  Why did the Ottomans fear it in WWI?  Why did the British encourage it? Sidnee
  • Why did the Ottomans expel the Anatolian Armenians?
  • What was the Husayn-McMahon correspondence?  The Sykes-Picot agreement? Sebastian
  • Why did the British support a Jewish homeland in Palestine? Sean
  • Who was in control of Arab territories after WWI? Jaylene
  • Why was T.E. Lawrence sent to Arabia?

Feb. 28:  The Emergence of the Modern Middle Eastern States: Owen, pp. 5-19; Cleveland, pp. 226-29, 241-51, 314-21

  • What was the mandate system?  Why did it emerge?  What purposes did it serve? Andrea
  • What were some of the difficulties associated with state-building after WWI?  Why did these difficulties arise? Chris
  • What strategies did France and Britain employ to manage their colonies during this period? Drew
  • How did external forces affect patterns of identity in the newly formed Middle Eastern states? Ariel
  • In the early days of independence, what challenges did Arab regimes face?  How did they respond to these challenges? Danielle
  • What was the Balfour Declaration?  To what did it commit the British? Joseph
  • What effect did WWII have on Zionism? 
  • What were the three conflicts that brought the state of Israel into existence? 
  • What was the Irgun? 
  • Why did the Palestinians reject the UN partition plan? Violette
  • How was Israel able to defeat Arab states in the first Arab-Israeli war (1948)? Amnaa
  • What was the source of conflict in the June War (1967)? 
  • What were the consequences of the June War (1967)? 

March 2: The Emergence of the Modern Middle Eastern States: Authoritarian Reform in Turkey and Iran: Cleveland, ch. 10; Owen, pp. 19-22, 80-89

  • Would you consider Atatürk a dictator?
  • What was the Treaty of Sèvres? What did it mandate?
  • What was the National Pact?  What did it mandate? Sean 
  • How was Atatürk able to create a new Turkish national identity? Jaylene
  • Why did Atatürk transfer the capital of Turkey from Istanbul to Ankara?
  • What were the six principles of Kemalism? Andrea
  • What were Atatürk’s main aspirations for Turkey?
  • What does modern Iran have in common with modern Turkey?  What are their differences? Ariel
  • What is the Majlis?  When did it first meet?  What was its political agenda? Danielle
  • Who was Reza Shah?  How did he come to power? 
  • Who was Mohamed Mossadeq?  How did he come to power?  How was he removed from power and why? Amnaa
  • How was Khomeini able to mobilize a revolution? Sebastian

March 7: The Growth of State Power: Owen, 23-34, 36-38, 56-62, 67-69; Cleveland, pp. 209-220

  • Why did the French incorporate Muslim areas into the new state of Lebanon? Joseph
  • What is confessional politics?  What are its advantages and disadvantages? Violette
  • What is Wahhabism? 
  • How did Ibn Saud acquire and maintain power? Drew
  • What accounts for the expansion of the state apparatus in the Middle East after WWII?
  • What are the characteristics of an ‘authoritarian’ regime? 
  • How have authoritarian rulers maintained their power? Sidnee
  • How do national identities typically form? 
  • What was the United Arab Republic? 
  • What strategies did the various Arab states adopt toward the state of Israel? 

March 9: Disorder and Renewal:  The Middle East from the 1970s to the 1990s: Cleveland, chs. 19, 21

  • What is OPEC? How is it able to make use of the ‘oil weapon’? Sidnee 
  • What was the al-infitah?  Was it successful? Joseph
  • What were the Camp David Accords?  How did the Arab world react to them? 
  • What were the immediate causes of the Lebanese Civil War?  How did the war come to a conclusion? Sebastian
  • Why did Israel invade Lebanon?  Was its invasion successful? 
  • What was the Taif accord? Sean
  • What were Mubarak’s main goals for Egypt? 
  • Describe the similarities between Asad’s Syria and Saddam’s Iraq? Jaylene
  • How did Asad come to power?  How did he preserve his power? Violette
  • What steps did Asad take in the battle against Israel? 
  • How did Saddam come to power?  How did he preserve his power? Andrea
  • What were the immediate causes of the Iran-Iraq War? Chris

March 14: Oil and the Gulf War: Cleveland, pp. 393-404, pp. 445-456, Film: The War we Left Behind

  • Who rules in Saudi Arabia?  What is their style of governance?  What is their attitude toward Islam? Drew
  • What effect did the civil war in Yemen have on Saudi foreign and military policy? 
  • How did Saudi Arabia make use of its new oil wealth?  Were there any drawbacks to generating wealth in this way? Ariel
  • What is the Morality Police? 
  • What explains the emergence of religiously based discontent in Saudi Arabia? 
  • Why did Iraq invade Kuwait? Danielle
  • Did Saddam have reason to believe that the U.S. would intervene militarily to prevent his annexation of Kuwait? 
  • What distinguished ‘Desert Storm’ from ‘Desert Shield’? 
  • Did the surrounding states support Desert Storm? 
  • Why didn’t Israel respond to Saddam’s missile attacks? 
  • What caused the Kurdish refugee crisis in the aftermath of the Gulf War? 
  • What were the terms of the Gulf War’s cease-fire document? Amnaa
  • How did the Gulf War effect Iraq’s economy, infrastructure and military? 

March 16: MIDTERM

March 21: Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Smith, pp. 1-10, 19-39, 63-86


  • What is the historical basis of the Jewish claim to the land of Israel? 
  • What is the historical basis of the Palestinian claim to the land of Israel? 
  • How did Jerusalem become a holy city for Muslims? 
  • How did the Ottomans administer Palestine? Andrea
  • Did the Arabs living in Palestine in 1900 identify as “Palestinians”? Sidnee
  • What is Zionism?  Where did it originate, and why? Joseph
  • What accounts for Britain’s decision to issue the Balfour Declaration? Sebastian
  • Why did Sharif Husayn agree to permit Jewish migration into Palestine? Sean
  • What is the basis of Smith’s claim that European decision-making on Palestine was ‘amateurish’? (p. 85) Jaylene

March 23: Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Smith, pp. 118-149; Elon, pp. 194-219 (Blackboard), 

  • What did the early Zionists plan to do about the indigenous Arab population of Palestine? Violette
  • What was the Yishuv?  How did it become powerful? 
  • From whom did the Jews buy land in Palestine? Amnaa
  • What was the Land Transfer Ordinance of 1920? How did the Jewish migrants circumvent it? Danielle
  • What was the Passfield White Paper? How was it circumvented? 
  • What was the Peel Report? How did the Arabs and Zionists react to it? 
  • What was the 1939 White Paper? How did the Arabs and Zionists react to it? Chris
  • According to Elon, what kind of reaction did the early Jewish immigrants expect from the indigenous Arab population? Drew
  • How did the early Zionists plan to accommodate the indigenous Arab population into a future state? Ariel

March 27-April 2: SPRING BREAK

April 4: Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (cont’d): Smith 179-206, 222-227, 245-248, PRESENTATION: SS

  • Why did the Palestinians reject the UNSCOP partition plan?  How did they react to it? Sidnee, Amnaa 
  • What role did the United States play in the UNSCOP partition plan? Joseph
  • Why were the Arab nations unable to defeat Israel in the war of 1948-49? Sebastian, Danielle
  • What were King Abdullah’s plans for Palestine? Sean
  • What was Israel’s policy toward Arab refugees in the years following independence? Jaylene 
  • What caused the Suez Crisis of 1956?  How was it resolved? Violette

April 6: BY ZOOM: Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (cont’d): Elon, pp. 219-243 (Blackboard); Tim Wise, “Israeli Repression and the Language of Liars” (Blackboard); John Chuckman, “The Paradoxes of Israel” (Blackboard); Film:  Al Naqba

  • What is Avoda Ivrit? What role did it play in the self-image of the early Jewish settlers in Palestine? Chris, Andrea 
  • How did the early Jewish settlers in Palestine attempt to accommodate Palestinian resistance? What caused their eventual abandoning of this goal? Drew, Ariel

April 11: Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (cont’d): Smith, pp. 270-289, 300-312, 313-316, 318-330, 336-339

  • What is the PLO? Why did it come into existence? What strategies did it use? Sidnee
  • What role did Egyptian-Syrian relations play in the Arab-Israeli conflict? 
  • What were the immediate causes of the Six-Day War? Joseph
  • What were the principal consequences of the Six-Day War? Sebastian
  • What is UN Resolution 242?  What does it mandate? Sean
  • How did the surrounding Arab nations respond after being defeated in the Six-Day War? Jaylene
  • What was the source of the tension between Jordan and the Palestinians? Violette

April 13: Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (cont’d): Smith, pp. 350-355, 358-377, 395-410, 433-441 

  • Why did Israel insist on nothing short of a full peace in its negotiations with its Arab neighbors? Andrea
  • What were Israel’s goals in the Camp David negotiations (1978)? Chris
  • What was Israel’s policy toward Israeli Arabs? 
  • Why did Israel invade Lebanon? Drew
  • What happened at Sabra and Shatila? To what extent was Israel responsible? 
  • What was the intifada? What were its chief tactics? Ariel 
  • What was the Declaration of Principles?  To what did each side commit?  Did they keep their commitments? Danielle 
  • Do the Palestinian authorities have the will and/or power to control Palestinian attacks on Israelis? Amnaa 


April 18: Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (concluded): Smith, pp. 441-447, 471-475, 480-98, 506-515; James Bennet, “In Israeli Hospital, Bomber Tells of Trying to Kill Israelis” (Blackboard); Tony Judt, “Israel: The Alternative” (Blackboard); Gideon Levy;  “The Nightmare Continues: The Generation that ‘Doesn’t Know Joseph’” (Blackboard); Aluf Benn, “Sharon’s real legacy – keeping the Arabs out of sight” (Blackboard); Peter Beinart, “Yavne” (Blackboard); 

  • What was the Interim Agreement?  What did it stipulate? Sidnee
  • Why does Jerusalem pose a particular challenge to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators?  What about refugees and water? 
  • How did the Israeli far right react to the Oslo Accords? 
  • Is Israel a democracy? Joseph
  • What were Barak’s goals at Camp David? Sebastian 
  • What was proposed at Taba? Sean
  • What sparked the second intifada? Jaylene 
  • Why did Israel build a wall? 
  • What is the Israeli Disengagement Plan? Violette  
  • What is Hamas?  Why was its electoral victory a ‘godsend’ for Ehud Olmert? 
  • On what grounds does Peter Beinart support a one-state solution in Israel-Palestine? Andrea

April 20: Political and Economic Restructuring in Contemporary Middle Eastern Politics: Owen, chs. 7-8, PRESENTATION: RS

  • What are statism and liberalization? Chris
  • What are the standard conditions placed on loans issued by the IMF? Drew
  • Under what circumstances do Third World nations restructure their economies?  
  • In general, what have the consequences of economic liberalization been in the Middle East? Ariel 
  • Why have Middle Eastern states been slow to democratize? What progress has been made? Danielle 
  • What causes people to wonder whether Islam and democracy are compatible? Amnaa

April 25: The Politics of Religious Revival: Cleveland, ch. 18, Owen, ch. 9

  • Why do scholars regard Islamicism (Islamism, political Islam, Islamic revivalism) as a modern movement? Sidnee
  • Owen discusses Christian (Lebanon) and Jewish (Israel) political religion along with political Islam.  Why? Joseph, Danielle 
  • Why has Islamism been on the rise in recent decades? Sebastian 
  • The Iranian Revolution did not start off as an Islamist movement.  How did it become one? Sean 
  • What was ‘Islamization’?  How did Khomeini implement it? Jaylene

April 27: Women and Gender in Islam: Ahmed, pp. 1-7, 127-129, 144-169 (Blackboard), PRESENTATIONS: Chris, Drew

  • Why does Ahmed believe it to be important to study ‘discourses?’ Violette
  • How did Europeans view Muslim women during the colonial period? Andrea
  • How were Middle Eastern sexual relations used to justify sexism in Europe?  Answer with reference to Lord Cromer. Chris
  • What is the meaning of Ahmed’s claim that feminism served as a handmaid to colonialism? (p. 155) Drew, Amnaa 
  • What did Amin believe to be required for women’s emancipation? Ariel

May 2: Women and Gender in Islam: Ahmed, pp. 220-248 (Blackoard); Owen, pp. 207-11, PRESENTATION: Ariel

  • Why is the issue of veiling so often viewed as central to women’s liberation in the Muslim world? Sidnee
  • What are the advantages of veiling?  The disadvantages? Joseph, Amnaa
  • What are the other characteristics of women who are likely to veil themselves? Sebastian
  • How were women’s rights affected by the Islamic revolution in Iran? Sean
  • Why are women’s issues so central to Islamist movements? Jaylene
  • Is Islamism incompatible with women’s emancipation? Violette
  • Have women been able to mobilize politically in the Middle East? Andrea

May 4:  9/11: Pankaj Mishra, parts I and II (Blackboard); Cleveland, pp. 561-563; Owen, pp. 217-219; Noam Chomsky (Blackboard); Christopher Hitchens (Blackboard); F. Gregory Gause III, “The Kingdom in the Middle: Saudi Arabia’s Double Game” (Blackboard); Josh Meyer, “Saudi Government Provided Aid to 9/11 Hijackers, Sources Say” (Blackboard)


  • Why did Osama bin Laden turn against the Saudi regime? Chris
  • What were the effects of the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan? Drew
  • What reasons does Noam Chomsky give for the 9/11 attack? On what basis does Christopher Hitchens disagree? Ariel
  • Is Saudi Arabia a U.S. ally or enemy? Danielle

May 9: The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: Cleveland, pp. 509-21; Owen, ch. 12

  • Why did the US invade Iraq in 2003? Sidnee, Jaylene
  • What did UN Resolution 1441 mandate? Joseph
  • What were the causes of the Iraqi civil war? Sebastian
  • How did Iran benefit from the Iraq war? Sean
  • How did the US respond to the 9/11 attacks? Amnaa 
  • How did the Arab regimes respond to the US push for democracy in Iraq? Violette

May 11: The Arab Awakening and its Aftermath: Cleveland, pp. 522-34; Rami Khouri, “The Arab Awakening” (Blackboard); Kamel Daoud, “What Assad Has Won” (Blackboard); ADVICE CARDS

PRESENTATIONS: Andrea, Danielle

  • What were the causes of the Arab Spring? Andrea
  • Why was the conflict in Syria, Yemen, and Libya bloodier than the conflict in Tunisia, and Egypt? Chris
  • How did  the Muslim Brotherhood benefit from the Arab Spring in Egypt? Drew
  • What explains Bashar al-Asad’s ability to remain in power? Ariel
  • According to Khouri, what role did humiliation and legitimacy play in the Arab Spring? Danielle

May 13: ZOOM



Final Exam: May 23, 12:45 – 3:25pm

STYLE GUIDE: The Department of History and Political Science mandates that all submitted work adhere to the Turabian/Chicago style delineated in Kate Turabian, et. al., A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, University of Chicago Press (available at the Wilson Library Reference Desk). Here you can access the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style. Here are a couple of websites that will automatically format citations in Chicago style for you: and


  1. One seat space between students when possible.
  2. No bathroom breaks except in the case of illness or emergency.  Student should discuss this circumstance with the proctor prior to the start of the exam.
  3. No materials on the desk except for pens/pencils, bluebook or writing paper and exam.
  4. Under no circumstances can students access electronic devices during the exam.
  5. Exam proctors will note any violation of these rules and those will be considered in the final grade.

GRADING: Your work will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

A—designates work of extraordinarily high quality; reflects unusually thorough and comprehensive understanding of issues at hand; presents a clearly identifiable thesis and argument that demonstrates cogent and creative development and support of ideas.

B—designates work of high quality; reflects clearly organized and comprehensive understanding of issues and hand; presents substantive thesis and argument with evident development and support of ideas.

C—designates work which minimally meets requirements set forward in assignment; reflects some organization and development of ideas, but develops argument in superficial or simplistic manner; may only address part of the assignment or be otherwise incomplete.

D—designates work of poor quality which does not meet minimum requirements set forward in assignment; demonstrates poor organization of ideas and/or inattention to development of ideas, grammar, and spelling; treatment of material is superficial and/or simplistic; may indicate that student has not done reading assignments thoroughly.

F—designates work that does not meet ANY of the standards set above or which is not handed in.

PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is a prevalent but highly unethical practice. Plagiarism will result in the immediate failure of this course and disciplinary action which could lead to expulsion from the University. If you are having problems in the course please come and talk to me about it rather than doing something that could put your entire college career in jeopardy. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to the following:

·The direct copying of any source, such as written and verbal material, computer files, audio disks, video programs or musical scores, whether published or unpublished, in whole or part, without proper acknowledgment that it is someone else’s.

·Copying of any source in whole or part with only minor changes in wording or syntax, even with acknowledgment.

·Submitting as one’s own work a report, examination paper, computer file, lab report or other assignment that has been prepared by someone else. This includes research papers purchased from any other person or agency.

·The paraphrasing of another’s work or ideas without proper acknowledgment.

ACADEMIC SUCCESS CENTER The Academic Success Center provides free one-on-one peer tutoring to graduate and undergraduate students in a wide variety of courses and subjects. Please make liberal use of the ASC if you need assistance with any of the assignments for this course. To make an appointment, use the quick start guide, stop by ASC on the second floor of the Campus Center, or call (909) 448-4342. Answers to frequently asked questions are available here.

APPENDIX I Map Quiz For the map quiz, you will need to identify the following:

  • Oman
  • Libya
  • Jordan
  • Afghanistan
  • Sudan
  • Caspian Sea
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Persian Gulf
  • Red Sea
  • Pakistan
  • Iran
  • Russia
  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • Cyprus
  • Black Sea
  • Armenia
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Qatar
  • Bahrain
  • Yemen
  • Egypt
  • West Bank
  • Lebanon
  • Israel
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iraq

APPENDIX II Suggested term paper topics: Students may select one of these topics or construct one of their own.

1. In what ways were women’s roles transformed – in theory and practice – in the Middle East during the first half of the twentieth century?

2. ‘Islam is religion and state’. How far is this saying borne out by history?

3. Why were the Oslo Accords signed in the early 1990s, and why did they fall apart?  OR 3a.  What were the Camp David/Taba accords and why did they fall apart?

4. Pan Arabism: ‘An idea that has dominated the political consciousness of modern Arabs is nearing its end, if it is not already a thing of the past’ (Fouad Ajami).  Do you agree?

5. Why have Arab states like Egypt embarked on policies of economic restructuring and what impact have these policies had on political life?

6. It is often said of the most recent Iraq War that “America won the war but lost the peace.” Explain.

7. Select a state in which there has been an uprising since 2011.  Analyze the historical origins of the uprising and its likely outcomes.  Compare the uprising in the state you have selected to other recent uprisings in the Middle East.

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