Politics in the Middle East

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Politis in the Middle East
Special Course
Course CodePSME
Year Opened2011
Sites OfferedPRN
Previous SitesJHU
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Course Description

This course had previously been taught at JHU but in 2012 was moved to the Princeton campus. There is a major essay expected at the end of the course, 5-8 pages. Many students found the course readings dry. However, the instructor and TA were awesome (TA Iman, despite being extremely short, was the best staff soccer player).

From the CTY Course Catalog (2017):

Almost daily, global media outlets highlight the Middle East. From Iran’s nuclear program to the recent civil protests across the Arab world, the politics of the region have come to play a critical role in international affairs. But how do we define the Middle East? What are shared characteristics of Middle Eastern states? Why have some countries in the region evolved in highly disparate ways?

In this class, students seek to answer these and other questions by placing contemporary Middle Eastern issues in historic, geographic, and social contexts. Students examine broad issues affecting many states in the region, such as colonial and post-colonial history, Arab nationalism, Islam, political economy, and democracy and authoritarianism. Through research, analysis, and current-events readings, students conduct investigations of selected states. With this background, they work to disentangle the underlying assumptions embedded in more contemporary critical issues ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict to the Arab Spring revolutions.

Students leave the course with an increased awareness of the rich history and politics of the area and the complexities inherent in US and international involvement in the region. Moreover, they develop the critical reading and analytical skills necessary to better make sense of the Middle East today.