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

Summer 2009


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
86160 MTWThF
2:30 PM-4:00 PM
GAR 0.128

Course Description

This survey course is an introduction to the history, politics, and societies of the Arab Middle East, with a principal focus on the last two centuries. Beginning with the rise of Islam and the Arab conquests in the Middle East, the course reviews the main developments in the history of the Arabs in the medieval period, their experience as part of the Ottoman Empire for four centuries, the emergence of the modern Arab state system after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, and the eventful history of the region since. The lectures and readings cover both developments specific to the different Arab countries and broader regional issues shaping the contemporary Middle East, including the patterns of authoritarianism and quest for democratization, the problems of social and economic development, the challenges of Islamic political movements, the politics of oil, the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the policies of the United States in the region. The class sessions are organized around lectures, with time provided for questions. Several documentary films shown in class will supplement the reading. In addition, musical pieces illustrating the richness of Arab music will be played and explained briefly before the lectures.

Grading Policy

Papers 20% Midterm exam 35% Final exam 45%


William L. Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, 3rd edition, 2004. James L. Gelvin, The Modern Middle East: A History, 2005. R. Stephen Humphreys, Between Memory and Desire: The Middle East in a Troubled Age, 1999 (selections).


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