Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program
Contemporary Middle East in World Politics - N204

This course aims to introduce students to the interaction between people, governments, and outside powers in the greater Middle East and North Africa: a vast and complex area that stretches from Morocco to Iran, and from Turkey to the Sudan. Scholars differ in the way they refer to this large area and its different sub-regions, but we’ll call it the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region for our purposes and include neighboring Afghanistan for convenience.

Topics to be addressed include much of the following: background (geography, history, culture, and religion); the colonial legacy; the influence of the global configuration of power on international relations in the Middle East: the Cold War and post-Cold War eras; hegemony, cooption, and challengers; the role of resources; O.P.E.C.; the role of non-state organizations; gender issues; the role of identity and ideology; the role of diasporas; the Arab – Israeli Conflict; Zionism and the Palestinian predicament; the Iran – Iraq War; the Gulf Wars; weapons of mass destruction and other tools for the projection of power in the region; transnational movements; international dimensions of religion, ethnicity, and civil wars; state and religions in the Middle East; the affect of the flow of goods, people, and services on Middle Eastern states; the “Arab street”; security issues; A return to Colonialism?; War in Iraq and Afghanistan; and finally, prospects for the future.