HDHH 277A 
History & Politics of the Middle East

Kansas City Art Institute
Spring 1997
East Building 521, Mondays & Wednesdays, 12:30-1:50 PM


Diller, D.C., and J.L. Moore (eds.), The Middle East, Washington, DC, 1994, 8th edition


The Middle East, also known as the Cradle of Civilization, always was and continues to be an area of tremendous strategic, political and cultural importance to us all. In this course, we will investigate the historical roots of the present-day events: the Islamic empire, the Ottoman and European domination, the establishment of a Jewish state after World War II, the discovery of oil, etc. We will also try to clarify the many ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic divisions and their impact on Middle Eastern society. Special emphasis will be put on the developments in Israel, the Kurdish problem, and the Gulf War and its aftermath.

The class sessions will consist of lectures, group work, and discussions. Handouts, slides and videos will also be used. On January 27, we are lucky to have a guest lecturer: Prof. Michael Fuller (St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley) will talk about the ethnic and religious groups of Syria. He has been excavating at Tell Tuneinir (with early Christian and Islamic remains) in Syria for a long time and is very knowledgeable about the situation in that country.

Course Objectives

To allow the student to acquire factual knowledge about the course of modern Middle Eastern history leading to the establishment of a frame of reference.

To allow the student to gain insights on why and how present political and societal developments are taking place and what the future may hold in store for this region.

Student Responsibilities

The students are expected to attend and participate in class. From the 5th absence on, three points per absence will be taken off automatically from your class participation grade. Illnesses with a doctor's note or family tragedies do not count.

Students are expected to read the relevant chapters in the textbook and the handouts.

Both the midterm and final exams will be open book. The final exam will only be about the material covered since the midterm exam.

A book report of 4 pages is due by the February 26 class session. It should be about a book relating to the modern Middle East. The book should not be an all-encompassing overview work but rather a detail study of a specific period, country, institution, etc. Choose a book as soon as possible. It will need advance approval by the lecturer, in other words, show it to him in class. You may have to go to another library than the kcai one. Don't forget to critique the book as well as give the content and the main ideas.

A paper of 6 pages is due by the April 28 class session. A bibliography should be included. Choose and expand on one of the following topics:

- Compare and contrast the civil wars and sundry internal conflicts in Lebanon and Yemen.

- Assess the history as well as the present state of democracy in the Middle East. Explain the reasons for the success or failure of this form of government in the past and in the present.

- Compare and contrast the modern history and political development of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

- Explore how tribal allegiances influence modern Middle Eastern politics. Do they in any country dominate the field? If so, explain why.

- Compare and contrast the modern history and political development of the United States and Israel.

- Pan-Arabism: myth, ideal or reality? Investigate whether Arab unity ever existed and what the present prospects are.

- Compare and contrast the modern history and political development of Iran and Iraq.

- Which was most important in the development of the modern Middle East: oil or Islam? Explore the arguments for both options and suggest an answer.

- In 1991, should the coalition have pursued the Gulf War further and toppled Saddam Hussein's regime? Give pros and cons.

Extra credit can be obtained by attending a Middle Eastern religious ceremony or activity which is different from your own religious background and writing a report about it (3 pp.). You can write more than one report, if you wish. Each report will be graded on a scale of 0 to 5 points. You can earn a maximum of 10 points extra credit which will be added to but not exceed the possible 100 points available during the term. Other extra-credit possibilities may be announced in class. It is advisable to first give a call before attending any ceremony or activity. The possibilities are:
Islamic Center of Kansas City
8501 E. 99th Street (tel. 763-2267)

St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Kansas City
10024 W. 49th Street (tel. 236-5995)

Baha'i Center
4832 Wood Avenue (tel. 287-4856)

B'nai Jehudah Congregation
712 E. 69th Street (tel. 363-1050)

Beth Shalom Congregation
9400 Wornall Road (tel. 361-2990)

All assignments will be graded on content and form. Each assignment must be type written and double spaced. It should have a title page (student's name, course name and number, lecturer's name, term, title) and the text pages need to be numbered. Make sure that all assignments are type written and double spaced. Endnotes, bibliography and illustrations never count toward the page requirement.

The students need to submit all written assignments to Dr. Deblauwe in person by the due date or in his mail box in the office of the Liberal Arts department before the due date. It is advisable to keep a copy of these assignments. Assignments which are turned in one class session late will have 20% of the total possible points substracted for lateness. If an assignment is two class sessions late, then 40% will be substracted. After this, assignments will no longer be accepted. You can of course always submit assignments in advance. The extra-credit reports cannot be late. If you miss a class, it is your own responsibility to get missing handouts or tests. I will deposit the leftover copies in a clearly marked envelope in the test-return shelves area in the Liberal Arts building (2nd floor). Do not submit any assignments at this location! Graded assignments and midterm exams will be returned in class; graded assignments of absent students and final exams will be found in the test-return shelves area.

Office Hours

Dr. Deblauwe is available for individual student contact on appointment, before or after class sessions. Please speak to him or contact Teddy in the Liberal Arts department office.

Grading Procedures

Class participation 10 points
Book report 15 points
Midterm exam 25 points
Paper 25 points
Final exam 25 points

Letter grades: A = 97-100, A- = 93-96, B+ = 89-92, B = 85-88, B- = 81-84, C+ = 77-80, C = 73-76, C- = 69-72, D+ = 65-68, D = 61-64, F = 0-60.

No. Date Subject Readings Assignments
1 Jan. 15 Introduction (1) - -
2 Jan. 20 Introduction (2) pp. 3-8, handouts A, B p. 1 -
3 Jan. 22 Arab-Israeli conflict (1) pp. 9-26 -
4 Jan. 27 Guest lecture: Ethnic and religious groups in Syria pp. 346-359 -
5 Jan. 29 Arab-Israeli conflict (2) pp. 26-42, handout B p. 2 -
6 Feb. 3 Arab-Israeli conflict (3) pp. 42-60 -
7 Feb. 5 Arab-Israeli conflict (4) pp. 241-250 -
8 Feb. 10 Arab-Israeli conflict (5) pp. 250-257 -
9 Feb. 12 Persian Gulf (1) pp. 101-108, 228-234 -
10 Feb. 17 Persian Gulf (2) pp. 108-120, 234-236 -
11 Feb. 19 Persian Gulf (3) pp. 120-132, 236-240 -
12 Feb. 24 Oil (1) pp. 133-150 -
13 Feb. 26 Oil (2) pp. 150-168 Book report
14 Mar. 3 Islam (1) pp. 169-177 -
15 Mar. 5 Midterm exam - -
16 Mar. 17 Islam (2) pp. 177-189 -
17 Mar. 19 Other religions (1) handout C -
18 Mar. 24 Other religions (2) - -
19 Mar. 26 Egypt pp. 193-210 -
20 Mar. 31 Jordan pp. 258-270 -
21 Apr. 2 Lebanon pp. 282-303 -
22 Apr. 9 Iran (1) pp. 211-227 -
23 Apr. 14 Iran (2) - -
24 Apr. 16 Kurds - -
25 Apr. 21 Kuwait & Libya pp. 271-281, 304-314 -
26 Apr. 23 Gulf States & Saudi Arabia pp. 315-345 -
27 Apr. 28 Yemen (1) pp. 360-369 Paper
28 Apr. 30 Yemen (2) - -
29 May 5 Final exam - Extra-credit reports

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