History | Theory and Method in Middle East Historiography
H685 | 31254 | Martin

Above class open to graduates only
Above class meets with NELC-N695

What is historiography? Does the historiography of the Middle East
display defining characteristics that distinguish it from, for
example, European or Latin American historiography? Can the study
and analysis of Middle East historiography reveal as much about
Western perspectives of the Middle East as it does about the
actual “history” of the region? Using these broad questions as
points of departure, this course will survey the Western canon of
historical writing on the region we now know as the Middle East. In
the process, it will seek to place this body of literature in the
context of larger historical and historiographic trends by reviewing
major theoretical and methodological developments in the humanities
and social sciences, examining their employment in concrete research
projects focusing on the Middle East, and analyzing the resulting
debates that have ensued within the profession. This course is
designed for NELC graduate students and those in History who have an
interest in the Middle East.

This course will meet once weekly. Meetings will consist of
presentations from and discussion of the assigned readings.

All students will be required to read all assigned material (150-200
pages per week), attend all class meetings, bring each meeting’s
assigned readings to class, and participate meaningfully in all
discussions. Each session will begin with a student presenting a
brief summary/overview of that week’s assigned readings. This
presentation will include several significant issues/questions that
are present in the texts. These issues and questions will form the
basis of the general discussion that follows.

Students in the HIST section of this class will be graded on the
following assignments: (1) Attendance and Participation. This
component, which includes formal presentations (10%), written
summaries of each week’s readings including questions for discussion
(15%), and participation in the general discussions (15%),
constitutes 40% of the final grade. (2) Term Paper Essay. Each
student will write a 12-15 page analytical paper on a topic to be
determined in consultation with the instructor. This component
constitutes 40% of the final grade. (3) Short Methodological paper.
Each student will submit a 3-4 page paper asserting the
methodological utility of a specific approach to Middle East
history. This component constitutes 20% of the final grade.