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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Denis Basic
SISME 213
Seattle Campus

Introduction to the Modern Middle East

Major social and political trends in the Middle East during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Basic principles of Islam and its diversity, changing balance of power during the early modern period; European colonialism and withdrawal; pan-Arabism, nationalism, feminism and religious resurgence. Offered: jointly with NEAR E 213.

Class description

During this course we shall be exploring the culture and the people of the Middle East in the virtual world of books, films, and the Internet, as well as in our midst by visiting local Middle Eastern communities. Basic field research methods will be taught as well and students will present the results of their research on-line in the form of slideshows, short documentary movies, and educational articles.

Student learning goals

The belief systems, worldviews, daily communal life, and cultural practices of the Middle Easterners.

Similarities and differences among the Middle Eastern monotheistic traditions.

Traces of the Middle Eastern traditions traditions in our own identity.

Some social and political problems that have followed the Middle Eastern immigrants to the US.

Influence of religion and history on the political attitudes of the Middle Easterners and Westerners.

General method of instruction

Lectures, movies, exploring the Internet resources and building our own site, as well as visits to the local communities.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Two short quizzes and four contributions to the website, either a short encyclopedic article, or a journal entry, a written, or audio, or video interview, a slide show with commentaries, or a short video. For more details see the website of the course.

15% for each of the two quizzes 15% for each of the four contributions to the website 10% class attendance and participation

No final or midterm exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Denis Basic
Date: 08/24/2008