Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | Iraq and Syria in the Twentieth Century
N695 | 26041 | Martin


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 NELC
students and history students with a research interest in the Middle
East. It will examine the modern history of two states, 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.

Class is intended for NELC and History graduate students.
All others must request permission from the Instructor.