Examines a topic, theme, problem, or area of the world in order to provide a deeper understanding of an aspect of Global Studies.
Fall 2013 BISGST 397 C Topics in Global Studies: International Relations of the Middle East (5 CR, TTH 8PM-10pm) The purpose of this course is to provide a broad understanding of international relations of the Middle East. The course will begin with an overview of the main perspectives in the field of international relations. Next, the course will offer a historical perspective on the emergence of the modern state system in the region, focusing on both global and regional forces. In this light, the course will then explore a number of issues pertaining to the international relations of the region. These include the relationship between domestic and international politics, regional conflict and war, Islam and politics, globalization, democratization and great power encroachments.
The course is not limited to a mere description of issues and themes associated with the international relations of the Middle East. Rather, we will be constantly challenging the ways we are accustomed to thinking about politics on the world stage. Through comparing and contrasting various analytical perspectives the course aims to encourage students to think critically about the international relations of the region. At a minimum this involves distinguishing among various arguments and modes of analysis, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of different explanations, and ultimately developing our own independent perspective on various problems encountered in the region.
Student learning goals
• Understand key concepts and issues in the discipline of political science, and effectively communicate these both verbally and in writing
• Understand and critically appraise various perspectives on politics and history
• Critically assess media and popular discourse on politics, and engage in independent assessment of political issues
• To locate and access information about politics, and take an active role in your own ongoing education
General method of instruction
This course are designed to encourage maximum independent thinking and critical analysis of the politics and history. To this end, the instructor will discuss material assigned for each session, identify key issues and events, and offer insights into various ways of analyzing issues in politics and history. Lectures will typically go considerably beyond the assigned readings therefore it is imperative that students take excellent notes and ask questions when clarification is needed. Furthermore, much of class time will be devoted to student discussion of issues raised in the readings and lectures. All students are expected to arrive in class having read the material assigned for that day, and prepared to participate in classroom discussions. In this class you will be responsible for your own and your peers’ learning. The instructor’s role in the class will be to encourage you to learn, to assist you in expanding your ability to think independently, to critique what you read, to assist you in writing thoughtful papers, and to encourage well-informed dialogue.
Class assignments and grading
Assessmet will be based on a combination of map test, reflection essays, exams, group projects and participation.