HIST 305
Nation Building: The Making of the Modern Middle East
Last Offered Spring 2011
Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

In 1932, or twelve years into his rule and twelve years after the establishment of Iraq, King Faysal I lamented that there were “no Iraqi people but only unimaginable masses of human beings, devoid of any patriotic idea, imbued with religious traditions and absurdities, connected by no common tie.” This course will consider how true the King’s statement still holds by evaluating the various attempts at state and nation building in the modern Middle East and the challenges of statecraft. After assessing some of the more influential theories of nationalism, we will explore the historical experience of nationalism and national identity in Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Palestine, Iran, and Egypt. What has been at the basis of nationhood? How did European concepts of nation translate into the Middle Eastern context? What was the role of religion in these modern societies? How did traditional notions of gender effect concepts of citizenship? We will also explore some of the unresolved issues facing the various nations of the Middle East, such as unfulfilled nationalist aspirations, disputes over land and borders, and challenges to sovereignty. Finally, we will evaluate the role of foreign powers in nation building in the Middle East and consider whether the modern concept of the nation has any validity in the Middle Eastern context. Because this course is comparative in nature that utilizes theoretical frameworks to better understand cross-cultural interaction and because it focuses on the ways in which governments in the Middle East have used their power to legitimate their actions in the name of nationalism, this course fulfills the requirements of the Exploring Diversity Initiative (EDI).
The Class: Format: lecture/discussion
Limit: 25
Expected: 20-25
Class#: 3196
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on several short papers and a "Magnus" Opus (a.k.a. final research paper)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: History majors and students with a background in Middle Eastern studies
Distributions: Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under ARAB
Attributes: ARAB Arabic Studies Electives
HIST Group E Electives - Middle East

Class Grid

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