History | The Cultural History of the Middle East
H685 | 16907 | Martin


A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only
Above class meets with NELC-N695

Course Description:
This course is conceived as both an introduction to a sub-discipline
within the field of historical inquiry, i.e., Cultural History, and
an examination of how the tools of that sub-discipline can be
applied to the study of Middle East history. Thus its objectives
are: (1) Expanding and refining the student’s general knowledge of
the region’s history; (2) Stimulating interest in the cultural
history of the Middle East by providing a general familiarity with
the disciplinary, intellectual, and ideological sources of cultural
history, the major issues concerning this field, and the relevant
extant literature. Cultural history has been largely redefined in
the last twenty years, and under its “new” rubric is currently
seeking a place beside political, economic, and social history as an
indispensable field of historical study.

The very concept of cultural history suggests a synthesis of
disciplines. As culture is generally considered the “core concept”
of anthropology, this course will necessarily examine the ways in
which this and related concepts have been understood and applied by
anthropologists. It will also examine the ways in which history, a
discipline not known for its theoretical or methodological
singularity, has made use of the above and of comparable
contributions from the fields of human geography, comparative
literature, gender studies, consumption studies, etc. This course is
designed for NELC graduate students and Ph.D. candidates in History
who have an interest in the Middle East.

Course Requirements:
Class Attendance and Participation-
All students will be required to read all assigned material, attend
all class meetings, bring each meeting’s assigned readings to class,
and participate meaningfully in all discussions.  Any absence must
either be excused by the Dean’s office or cleared with the
instructor in advance. 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.

Assignments and Grading-
Each student will complete three 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) Term Paper. Each
student will write a 12-15 page analytical essay on a topic to be
determined in consultation with the instructor. This component
constitutes 40% of the final grade. (3) Source Paper. Each student
will submit a 3-4 page essay analyzing the utility of and problems
associated with a particular genre of source material, e.g., the
press, maps, oral interviews, etc. As these papers will be the basis
of HIST students receiving an additional (4 rather than 3) hour of
credit, they will be graded according to exacting standards. Those
failing to meet those standards will be returned for revision. Thus,
grading for students in the HIST section will be based on the
following formula: (1) Attendance and Participation – 40% (same as
NELC); (2) 12-15 page paper – 40%; and (3) 3-4 page paper – 20%.