Introduction to the Modern Middle East
This course will survey the history of Middle East from 1500 to the present day, and to situate that history within its global context. Rather than treating the Middle East as an isolated and monolithic territory governed solely by the mandates of a religion, our goal will be to understand diverse dynamics and multiple actors that continuously unmade and remade the region. We will study both the local and trans-regional connections, smooth transitions and radical transformations that shaped the contemporary Middle East. As we will discuss the first week in detail, Middle East is an imagined cultural and political geography which lacks any agreed upon boundaries. Hence there are many, often conflicting ways to demarcate the region. Spatially, this course will mostly be concerned with the area that spans the Arab Middle East, Palestine/Israel, Iran and Turkey. Although, is the course schedule will follow some chronological order, the readings, lectures and the discussions will be organized around themes that will help understand and analyze issues pertaining to state formation, religious politics, gender relations, power inequalities, economic transformation, colonialism, and imperialism in the region since the 1500’s.