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POL 177 — Demystifying the Middle East: A Primer

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Saturday and Sunday
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Jul 8—Jul 9
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jul 1
Unit: 1
Tuition: $360
Instructor(s): Marwan D. Hanania
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Saturday and Sunday
10:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Jul 8—Jul 9
2 days
Refund Date
Jul 1
1 Unit
Marwan D. Hanania
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
This course presents the major themes and events that have defined the modern history and realities of the Middle East, focusing on developments since World War I. After providing background on the development of the Middle East during the classical Islamic and Ottoman eras, we will assess the conflicting agreements undertaken during World War I between Britain and its allies to decide the future of the Middle Eastern territories then under Ottoman rule. We will go on to examine the creation of new colonial mandates and states and the major historical developments that defined the European colonial era and the more recent years of political independence. Topics in this section of the course will include an analysis of the creation of Israel (1948), the rise and decline of Pan-Arab nationalism (1952–70), the role of oil, and the emergence of new forms of political Islam in the region. We will continue by reviewing the Arab Spring; the recent wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere; and the attempts at normalizing relations between Israel and the Arab world. Finally, using a thematic and interdisciplinary approach, we will study the diverse ethnic, religious, and national identities of the peoples of the region. We will also explore US involvement in the region and its broader ramifications for US foreign policy.


Marwan D. Hanania has taught at Stanford, Coastal Carolina University, the American University of Sharjah, the University of Nevada, Reno, and San Diego Mesa College. His research interests and areas of focus include the modern Middle East, urban history, refugees and migration, Christian-Muslim relations, the history of Islam, the late Ottoman period, and European empires. He received a PhD in history from Stanford. In addition to teaching with Stanford Continuing Studies, Marwan teaches in the history department at Santa Clara University.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) James Gelvin, The New Middle East: What Everyone Needs to Know (ISBN 978-0190653989)
(Recommended) William Cleveland and Martin Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East, 6th Edition (ISBN 978-0813349800 )