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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Denis Basic
NEAR E 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 JSIS A 215.

Class description

This introductory course to the Modern Middle East is interdisciplinary in the true sense of the word, covering geography, history, politics, economics, international relations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the status of women, religion, class and ethnicity, patterns of population growth, and the literature of the region. Geographically speaking, we shall cover not only the Arab world (the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa), but also Iran, Israel, and Turkey. As to the historical time frame, we shall browse the region through centuries down to the antiquity. However, our temporal focus will be the post-World War II period, with a particular emphasis on the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century.

Student learning goals

- to master an overview of the political and economic history of the Middle East and North Africa.

- to identify the key events, as well as the regional and international political forces, which have influenced the history of and the current events in the region.

- to gain a basic understanding of the similarities and differences among the three Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

- to get acquainted with gender, class, interethnic, and interreligious relations in the region.

- to familiarize oneself with scholarly and non-scholarly resources pertaining to the subject and to develop an analytical and critical stand toward them.

General method of instruction

Students are required to attend lectures and class discussions. Lectures will also include educational documentary movies related to the main themes of the course.

Recommended preparation

Reading the assigned materials in advance, as well as a regular class attendance and participation in discussions will ensure a complete success in the course.

Class assignments and grading

There will be two non-cumulative quizzes. Students will also be asked to write a 12-page double-spaced term paper (Times New Roman font) using the primary and/or secondary literature.

Class attendance 10%, Participation in discussions 10%, Two quizzes 30% each (60% total), Term paper 20%.


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: 06/19/2013