Mideast Politics


Undergraduate Level

This course has two primary purposes: (1) to build a critical understanding of the key issues and conflicts in the politics of the modern Middle East and (2) to apply the following concepts to these issues and conflicts: scholarly methodology, colonialism, independence and state-building, the political mobilization of new social classes, the spread of capitalist economic relations, Arab nationalism, relations between the Arab states, the Middle East as an arena of the Cold War, Islamic revivalism, globalization and economic restructuring, democratization, and the significance of non-state actors.

These objectives will be pursued beginning with some framing readings and videos on recent developments in the Middle East and on the methods available to understand and analyze those developments. You will then inquire into the background of these recent developments through study of the political history of various regions of the Middle East and of foreign influence in those regions. Toward the end of the course, you will return to the most significant issues confronting the region today for a more sustained and, ideally, more critical engagement with them.

This course is created by the Saylor Foundation. The mission of the Saylor Foundation is to make education freely available to all. Guided by the belief that technology has the potential to circumvent barriers that prevent many individuals from participating in traditional schooling models, the Foundation is committed to developing and advancing inventive and effective ways of harnessing technology in order to drive the cost of education down to zero.