PSCI 257
Iran, Islam, and the Last Great Revolution Fall 2017
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed ARAB 257
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

The title and inspiration for this course comes from Robin Wright’s book The Last Great Revolution. Wright argues that the 1979 Revolution in Iran completes the promise of the Modern Era, “launched in the West” but “adopted by or adapted to all other parts of the world.” The overthrow of 2500 years of monarchy “paved the way for using Islam to push for empowerment.” It is this empowerment, of nations and of ordinary individuals, that stands as the signal quality of modernity. The notion that post revolutionary Iran offers an alternative path to modernity is hardly conventional wisdom in the United States or Europe, where images of men draped in religious passion and women in forbidding black chadors are as common as the belief that the 1979 Revolution set Iran spinning back thirteen centuries in time. If westerners do not view Iran as entirely anti-modern, then at best they see it as a country filled with “paradoxes” and “puzzles,” one in which indie rock bands play underground, figuratively and literally beneath the feet of retrograde religious fanatics, or unveiled women attend all-night parties only to slip back into proper hejab the next morning. The class will ask you to consider why these assumptions exist, whether they are the symptoms of a western civilization “clashing” with the east, and if they are exclusive to the United States or Europe. Does there also exist an “orientalism in reverse,” a negative gaze of Iranians towards the west and towards their fellow, “backwards” citizens?
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1916
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: first short essay, 5 pages (15%); second short essay, 5 pages (15%); research paper, 15-20 pages (30%); participation, including blogs, presentation, and precis (40%)
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under PSCI; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ARAB
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARAB 257 Division I PSCI 257 Division II

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