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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Spring 2006

MES 381 • Method and Theory in Mid East

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
41200 W
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
UTC 1.142

Course Description

The aim of this seminar is to introduce graduate students to the professional study of the Middle East. It is designed to aid prospective researchers in this field in gaining an understanding of the history of their craft, of current professional debates and of ongoing historiographical trends and fashions. In doing so, we will critically review various historiographical traditions such as Modernization Theory, Post-Colonialism, Cultural Studies, the Linguistic Turn, Deconstruction (and Post-Modernity in general). We will also review important debates such as the case for or against regional studies, "the theory debate" and debate over the mission of Middle East Studies. Though the field includes sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists and many more, the seminar is mainly being taught from the perspective of the discipline of history. Students will write and submit to peer-review bi-monthly reaction papers which will be discussed in class. In addition, participants will submit a final research paper in their field of interest which is informed by material covered in the course of group discussion and lectures.


The reading includes (tentative, and subject to change): Abdallah Laroui, The Crisis of the Arab Intellectual: Traditionalism or Historicism? (Berkeley: University of California Press, c1976) Alun Munslow, The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies (London ; New York : Routledge, 2000) Elie Kedourie, The Chatham House Version and Other Middle-Eastern Studies (Hanover, NH: Published for Brandeis University Press by University Press of New England, 1984) Georg Iggers, Historiography in The Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to The Postmodern Challenge (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1997). Michael Bentley, Modern Historiography: an Introduction (London; New York: Routledge, 1999). Martin Kramer, Ivory Towers on sand: the Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America (Washington, DC : Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001). Richard Evans, In Defense of History (London: Granta Books, 1997 Selected articles from History and Theory Timothy Mitchell, Rule of experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).


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