History | Iraq and Syria in the 20th Century
H685 | 27298 | Martin


A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only
Above class meets with NELC-N 695

Course Description

At the close of the twentieth century the proposition that the
Ba`thist regimes of Syria and Iraq had constructed “rogue states”
that lay outside the international system was an axiom of US foreign
policy. This course seeks to engage with this proposition by
examining the modern history of these two states, with special
emphasis on the roles of the United States, France, and the United
Kingdom in the formation of Syria and Iraq, the rise of these
states’ authoritarian regimes, and their eventual isolation and
demonization. This course is a graduate seminar designed for
students who are either in NELC or have a special interest in the
region. It will examine the modern history of two states in the
Middle East, Syria and Iraq, whose experience during the period in
question reflects broader regional and global realities. The course
begins with the final years of the Ottoman Empire, covers the
mandatory regimes in Damascus and Baghdad, the establishment of
independent states, and the processes by which authoritarian
dictatorships came to power in both states. It ends with the early
1990s (the later years of Hafiz al-Asad’s rule in Syria and the
imposition of sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq). It is
hoped that this course will provide students with the historical
context in which to place recent events associated, rightly or
wrongly, with the “Arab” and “Islamic” Worlds.

Course Requirements

All students will be required to read all assigned material (app.
200 pages), 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 that will include
significant issues/questions present in the texts. These issues and
questions will form the basis of the general discussion that
follows.

Each student will complete two assignments: (1) Attendance and
Participation. This component, which includes both initial
presentations (10%) and participation in the general discussions
(30%), constitutes 40% of the final grade. (2) 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 60%
of the final grade.