Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East
This course carries Culture Studies & COLL S & H distribution credit
The principal objective of this course is to acquaint students with the anthropological contributions to the study of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. It is an ethnographic survey course which examines the unity and diversity of social institutions and cultural forms in contemporary Middle Eastern societies--i.e., the Arab countries of North Africa and the Near East, Israel, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. Topics discussed include: ecology, the rise and development of Islam and Muslim empires; traditional adaptive strategies (pastoral nomadism, rural agriculture and urban mercantilism); pre-colonial ties with Europe, consequences of colonialism, political independence and the rise of nation states; changing conceptions of tribalism, kinship, ethnicity, gender, personal and collective identities; and the consequences of modernization, oil wealth, poverty, labor migration, political conflicts and social unrest (including terrorism).