Perhaps more than any other region, the Middle East has been shaped by the involvement of external great powers. This course explores the motives, strategies, and impacts of this involvement. We begin by studying the Christian Crusades from the 11th through the 13th centuries. We then focus on the modern period, starting with French/British competition in the early- and mid-19th century; French/British/Russian competition from the late 19th century through the end of WWII; US/USSR competition during the cold war; the current competition among the US, Russia, and China; and the great power transition that is likely to unfold over the next 20 years, as the US role in the region declines and China’s role expands. Through our readings and discussions, we will examine several themes: What motivates great powers to venture into the Middle East? How do they view the local populations and interact with them? What impacts do they have on the politics, economies, societies, and cultures of the region? What can contemporary leaders of great powers learn from this history, and how can their policies be adjusted to bring greater prosperity and peace to the region? In addition to gaining greater knowledge of the long and varied involvement of great powers in the Middle East, students will also gain experience applying the disciplinary insights of history, sociology, and political science to this complex region.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Class participation, a mid-term exam, and two 6- to 8-page papers
Global Studies concentrators in the Middle Eastern studies track, Political Science majors in the International Relations concentration, History majors
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GBST Middle Eastern Studies Electives
PSCI International Relations Courses