Course Jukebox

Course Jukebox

Course Detail

Standard Academic Year
Course delivery methods
Historical & philosophical studies
College of Liberal Arts
Course Offering Year
Course Offering Month
September - November
Weekday and Period
Tuesday 789
Course Number

Modern Middle East National Taiwan University

Course Overview

*This course will be conducted in English including lectures, class discussions, student presentations, and written assignments. Movies will be shown in original language at times with English subtitles. *Students are 100% responsible for coursework. This includes attending class, reading texts, and completing assignments. *No late work will be accepted for this course. There are no exceptions. *Taking this course indicates acceptance of the conditions in this syllabus. This course introduces students to modern Middle Eastern history from the nineteenth century to the Arab Spring in 2010. The framework for our study of the region and its peoples is political history. Starting in the early nineteenth century, European states such as France and Britain invaded the region, ushering in a new era. In response to the European threat, Ottoman, Egyptian, and Iranian governments instituted drastic military, economic, and political reforms. Inevitably these reforms also led to social and cultural transformations. World War I disrupted these states and a variety of new states including Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the Gulf emirates emerged from the cataclysm. We will study the efforts of these states, along with those of Egypt and Iran, to achieve independence and find a new political identity and structure for their communities. The end of World War II marked a drastic period of decolonization for Britain and France, and many Middle Eastern states now fully independent, developed military-authoritarian regimes. We will study the dynamics of these regimes, the socio-economic changes they enacted, and socio-religious groups that mobilized in protest. This course then moves toward the twenty-first century to understand the increasing wealth of the region, stagnation, and violence in the region up to the Arab Spring. This course will address a number of important themes in the lives of Middle Easterners in the past and will provide students with the vital tools and skills to conduct such an investigation. More broadly, we will seek to understand how Middle Easterners have engaged with and contribute to modernity; how traditions and customs has helped them shape and understand the world around them; and how individuals have related to society and state. The Middle East has played vital roles in international affairs today. While the study of contemporary politics is important, this is a history class and we will focus on the past that led to the present. To be productive in this class, we must set aside preconceptions about the region and keep an open mind. *Introduction to the Modern Middle East *Discussion sections (中東近代史研導/討論課) Choose One: Wednesday 9:10-10:00 or Wednesday 14:20-15:10 In addition to the main course, it is highly recommended that students enroll in one of the two discussion sections. In these small-group classes, students will have an opportunity to learn about and discuss the readings. I will also work closely with students to develop important skills of analysis, interpretation, framing, and presentation. The discussion section is worth one credit and grading will be based on the quantity and quality of participation in discussions.

Learning Achievement

This course will examine a variety of historical topics: •Islamic society at the end of the premodern era •European intervention in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries •Middle Eastern military, political, economic, social, and cultural changes •Islamic revival, reform, modernism •Westernization, Europeanization, and globalization •The development of nation-states •Authoritarianism •Social movements This course will study a variety of historical concepts: •The nature and functions of modern nation-states •The disciplining, standardization, and homogenization of state and society •Encounters between “Western” states, cultures, and civilizations with “Middle Eastern” ones •The concept of modernity Students will work on a variety of skills: •The ability to read, write, and converse in English •Analyze and interpret original sources in English translation


Course prerequisites

Materials  All course materials will be in English (except for original language films). You should come to class having read and prepared each weeks readings. Readings average 50 pages a week including articles and primary sources (marked with a P). Films, shorter videoclips, and audioclips will also be shown. Attendance  This is not a typical course. To do well in the course, you must attend class regularly. Because the entire course is conducted in English, you will need to attend class to better understand what the readings argue. I will also present my explanations and interpretations that are not available in the readings. I will automatically give all students full credit (100%) for attending the classes. However, roll every class will be taken every day and will know who has not attended. This rule treats you as responsible adults: if you want to take this course and learn about this remarkable region of the world, you will be responsible and attend classes. Because I am already giving students 100% credit for attending classes, no late work will be accepted in this course _ there are no exceptions. If you miss a quiz, exam, or essay, you will not be able to take it after. Map exam _ This short exam will test for knowledge of political, topographical, and human geography. Short quizzes _ There will be ten short quizzes. Quizzes will test for factual knowledge of textbook reading assignments for that week. Quizzes will be “multiple choice” and “open book.” However, you must have read the readings in order to be able to answer the questions in the time period of the quiz (15 minutes). Because no late work will be accepted, I will only count the top eight quiz scores. Essay _ You will also have the opportunity to use English to write a final essay. This essay will require you to demonstrate knowledge of the course materials from the entire semester, make arguments and interpretations, and think about their importance.

Grading Philosophy

Course schedule

Course type

Online Course Requirement



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