Islam, The Middle East, and The West


Undergraduate Level

An online course that will introduces the history of the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the twenty-first century. The course emphasizes the encounters and exchanges between the Islamic world and the West. It is structured chronologically—each unit focuses on the emergence of a particular Middle Eastern society or empire during a specific time period. Each unit includes representative primary-source documents that illustrate important overarching political, economic, and social themes, such as the emergence of Islam in the seventh century, conflicts between Islamic and Christian peoples during the Crusades, European domination of Muslim territories in the nineteenth century, independence movements and the rise of nationalism in the 1900s, and the formation of Islamic fundamentalist groups and anti-Western sentiment in the latter twentieth century. By the end of the course, students should be able to understand how Islam became a sophisticated and far-reaching civilization and how conflicts with the West shaped the development of the Middle East from the medieval period to the present day.

The Saylor Foundation (under its legal name, The Constitution Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Foundation was established in 1999 by Michael J. Saylor, the Chairman and CEO of the business intelligence company MicroStrategy, Inc. and the Foundation’s sole trustee.

Mr. Saylor created the Foundation because he had a very simple, very earnest, and very bold idea: Education should be free. As changes in technology have made the distribution of information easier, high-quality educational materials have become increasingly digital and readily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.