Middle East History | Fall 2001
I. Course Description
This course offers a basic orientation to the foundational myths, key concepts, and diverse linguistic, ethnic, religious, and intellectual traditions of the Middle East. It investigates the competing creation stories and reflects on the similarities between the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious traditions and their world historical imaginations. Familiarized with the basic methods of historical analysis, students study race, slavery, gender, and modernity in Middle Eastern and Islamic history and evaluate Islam's contribution to the world history and civilization. This course enables students to reflect critically on the popular view of Islam and the Middle East as static monoliths and as exotic others of the West.
II. Course Requirements

1. Class Attendance: You are expected to attend all the lectures and discussions. Lectures will frequently include materials not covered in the assigned readings and for which you are responsible. Every student enrolled in the course must prepare carefully for class and participate in on-line and class discussions. All required and recommended readings are listed in the attached course outline and are available in the Reserve Room of the Milner Library. You are urged to complete the assigned reading prior to the class session at which they will be introduced. During each class session we participate in an in-depth discussion of the issues and problems raised in lectures, readings, and on-line debates. Students who miss more than four class sessions may not pass this course.

2. Thought Questions/Position Papers: To facilitate discussion, and to allow me to gauge students' participation regardless of her/his personal assertiveness, you are required to write a total of 5 one-page, single-spaced position papers. Your thought papers should be made available to other students via hist126@listserv.ilstu.edu 24 hours prior to the class meetings. Your position papers should identify important events and arguments and raise significant question concerning the readings, lectures, or critical events in the Middle East.

In addition you are required to respond to at least 5 position papers written by your peers. Your correspondence should be spaced evenly over the course of the semester. On-line discussions must be cordial, informative, and reflective.

3. Global Review and Seminar Series: Because one of the goals of this course is to expand students understanding of the Middle East in a world historical context, each student will be asked to attend at least four class related public events. There are two Middle East related weekly lecture series on campus. Global Review meets every Thursday, 7:00 p.m. The meetings of South and South West-Asian Studies Seminar series will be announced later. Please send me a brief summary/analysis of the lectures you attend.

4. Course Evaluation: You will be required to write a critique the course, the instructor, the teaching assistant, and the way the course has been carried out. I would sincerely appreciate your specific comments, both positive and negative, as well as your recommendations for improvement. Although I will not read the evaluations until after I've calculated the grades, these evaluations are a requirement of the course and are due no later than December 7.

5. Final Synopsis: Each student is required to write one 10-page computer generated synopsis of central points covered in lectures and in the assigned readings (including historical figures, institutions, concepts, and dates). Most lectures will be accompanied by a handout outlining main points in the lectures and a list of important names and terms. These lists provide a convenient outline for writing your report. You are instructed to use personal computers for all assignments. This will enable you to easily rewrite your reports for extra credit. If you are not familiar with personal computers, you are encouraged to attend a computer training workshop. Synopsis is due on December 3. Late papers will not be accepted!

6. Self-Evaluation: You are required to turn in a statement evaluating your work along with the grade that you think is appropriate. Your self-evaluation must be submitted no later than December 3. This type-written statement should include the following:

a. the goals you set for yourself in the course;

b. the criteria by which you are judging your work;

c. a description of the way in which you have achieved your goals;

d. the grade you think appropriately rates your performance.

7. Writing Portfolio: Every student is required to submit a portfolio which includes all class assignments and on-line discussions, synopsis, position papers, self-evaluation, course evaluation, extra credit works, and your rewrites.

III. Grades

The final course grade will be determined on the basis of Class Attendance and Discussions (20%), Position Papers and Responses (30%), Global Review and Seminar Series (10%), Final Synopsis (20%), Course Summary and Evaluation (0.0%).

IV. Required Readings
To see a list of required reading materials for this course please download the corresponding word file.
copyright 2004 Mohamad Tavakoli Targhi