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POL 177 — Demystifying the Middle East

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 29—Dec 8
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Oct 1
Units: 2
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Marwan D. Hanania
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on November 24
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Sep 29—Dec 8
10 weeks
Refund Date
Oct 1
2 Units
Marwan D. Hanania
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on November 24
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 from late antiquity to the modern era, 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, 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. He received a PhD in history from Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) James Gelvin, The New Middle East: What Everyone Needs to Know, 1st Edition (ISBN 978-0190653989)
(Recommended) William Cleveland and Martin Bunton, ,A History of the Modern Middle East, 6th Edition (ISBN 978-0813349800)