Institute for Middle East Studies
PLEASE NOTE: This information is subject to change prior to the beginning of registration, so please verify your course selections against the University Bulletin listings.
Also, this listing does not include language classes, or classes that may count towards Professional Specialization Field requirements.
Contact the Middle East Studies Program Assistant if you have any questions about the course offerings.
Current Graduate Course Offerings —Fall 2014
IAFF 6361 - Middle East Studies Cornerstone
IAFF 6378 - US Policy in the Gulf
IAFF 6378 - US Security Policy in the Middle East
IAFF 6378 - Religion/Politics in Post-Revolution Iran
IAFF 6378 - Religion and Revolution in the Middle East: Security in the Post-Arab Spring Era
PSC 6476 - The Arab-Israeli Conflict
REL 6202 - Qur'an & Hadith
REL 6441 - Islamic Law
Current Graduate Course Offerings —Fall 2014
The cornerstone is a one-credit introductory seminar taught by the IMES Program Director that all entering students must take their first semester. It is designed to engage students in discussion of current Middle East Studies research and familiarize students with IMES faculty.
This course is designed as a seminar to introduce students to the present day political economy of the Middle East, or the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) as it is generally called, a region stretching from Morocco to Iran. Starting with an overview of the historical and political challenges facing economic development in the MENA, students will apply such insights to present day issues in the region.
This course examines U.S. foreign policy in the strategically important Persian Gulf from World War II to present. The course focuses on U.S. interests in the region and the various factors that impact on policy decisions. What led to U.S. military engagement in three wars in three decades in this region? Does the increase in U.S. oil production change the significance of the Persian Gulf for the U.S.? What does the future portend?
This course is intended to give you information and insight into the formulation of U.S. foreign policy and security strategy toward the region known as the Middle East. It will examine the factors that have shaped and will continue to influence the making of American foreign and security policies in a region important for its geo-strategic location, energy resources, and propensity for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and autocratic governance.
It has been three decades since religion has gone “public.” The Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Nicaraguan Revolution, and the establishment of the Moral Majority in the United States, all of which occurred in 1979, signified the “return of religion from exile.” Political scientists often refer to the Iranian Revolution and its impact on Islamist movements the world over as the ultimate example of the increasing role of religion in world politics.
The goal of this course is to examine the post-colonial government and politics of the Maghreb - Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia - and other select states of the North African region, including, Libya and Mauritania. The course will consider the role that history and geography have played in shaping contemporary North Africa, and critically, the influence of nationalism and state-building in the aftermath of colonialism.
This course focuses on identifying key factors which threaten security and stability in key countries in the region; the root causes of instability which produce revolution, reform, or resistance to change; and how governments cope with security crises. Students will focus their research on one country or key transnational security issue. The course is designed primarily for students anticipating academic study (Capstone or other focused research) or a professional career in/on the region.
Consortium Graduate Elective Offerings—Fall 2014
Note: Consortium registration is not guaranteed. See here for details.
SIS 619-023 – Islam & Democracy
Tuesday 2:35 pm to 5:15 pm
SIS 619-027 – US-Iran conflict and reconciliation
Wednesday 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
SIS 619-037 – Identity & Politics in the Middle East
Wednesday 8:10 pm to 10:40 pm
SIS 619-038 – Islam, Peace, and Conflict Resolution
Thursday 2:35 pm to 5:15 pm
HIST 678A – Gender and the Family in the Islamic World
Wednesday 9:40 am to 12:10 pm
George Mason University
MEIS 500 -- Critical Issues/Debates
Wednesday 7:20 pm to 10:00 pm
MAAS 408-01 – Arab Intellectuals
Course taught in Arabic
Tuesday & Thursday 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm Walsh 398
MAAS 510-01 – Environmental Security/Conflict
Wednesday 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm Walsh 497
MAAS 514-01 – Politics of Empire: Arab World
Tuesday 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm Intercultural Center 217B
MAAS 546-01 – Politics of Water
Thursday 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm Reynolds 130
MAAS 561-01 – Continuity/Change: North Africa Pol
Wednesday 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm Intercultural Center 212
MAAS 567-01 – State/Society/Power Structure: Egypt
Wednesday 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm Intercultural Center 202
MAAS 628-01 – Media/Communication: Arab World
Adel T. Iskandar
Monday 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm Intercultural Center 214
MAAS 640-01 – Development in Arab World: Theory/Issues/Institutions
Tuesday 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm Intercultural Center 212
Graduate Course Offerings —Summer 2014
PSC 6377 - Comparative Politics - Middle East
IAFF 6186 - Intelligence of the Middle East
IAFF 6378 - Security in the Middle East: Issues and Options
Graduate Course Offerings —Summer 2014
Students identify and examine key issues challenging security and stability in the Middle East and assess impact and options for region and U.S policy. Students will focus research efforts on a country and/or issue of their choice. Course is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students, especially those planning advanced academic work (Capstone or similar research projects) or post-graduate careers on or in the region.
Graduate Course Offerings —Spring 2014
IAFF 6379 - Middle East Studies Capstone
IAFF 6378.10 - Religion and Society in the Middle East
HIST 6801 - Empire to Nation in the Middle East
HIST 6801.11 - Radical Politics in the Middle East
HIST 6824 - Reading/Research Seminar: Modern Iran
ANTH 6707.10 - Anthropology of Citizenship and Displacement
GEOG 6262 - Geographic Perspectives: Middle East
IAFF 6378.10 - Iran and Iraq
IAFF 6378.11 - Lebanon and Syria
IAFF 6378.12 - Militaries and Politics in the Middle East
IAFF 6378.13 - Turkish Politics and Society
IAFF 6378.14 - US Foreign Policy in the Middle East
IAFF 6378.15 - Gender and Women in the Middle East
IAFF 6378.16 - Security in the Middle East
IAFF 6378.80 - Oil: Industry, Economy, Society
ECON 6295 - Economies of the Middle East and North Africa
REL 6201 - Islamic Law and International Relations
REL 6201 - Global Islamic Feminisms
REL 6401 - Islamic Historiographies
Graduate Course Offerings —Spring 2014
Religion is a major presence in Middle Eastern societies: focus of identity; basis of community organization; cultural idiom; system of religious belief and practice; source of law; guide to politics; and reference for public morality. Religion in general, and Islam specifically, can not only be a source of unity and identity but also an object of contestation, as believers argue over interpretations, ritual practices, and social enactments.
This course examines the varieties of religious expression, organization, and contestation in Middle Eastern societies, largely by a focus on contemporary Islam.
This course will cover the history of the Modern Middle East during the long nineteenth century (1820s-1920s). We will examine the transformation of Ottoman and Qajar imperial rule, the articulation among intellectuals and bureaucrats of modern notions of citizenship and difference, and the elaboration of forms of modern rule in the Ottoman Empire and Qajar Iran. We will address the emergence of modern political forms of organization among the subjects and citizens of the empire, including the rise of nationalism, sectarianism, pan-Islamism and anti-imperialism. We will conclude our course with an examination of the costs of the end of empire and the emergence of nation states. We will cover the dislocations and violence created by the First World War, including the ethnic cleansing of Armenians, the transfer of populations between Turkey and Greece and the division created by the post-WWI settlement.
This course situates the emergence, diffusion, and popularization of radical political ideas in their proper historical context in the history of the modern Middle East. Over the course of the semester, we will address a wide variety of radical ideas and ideologies that enjoyed considerable popularity or public prominence at a given historical moment. Case studies will include constitutionalism, socialism, anarchism, communism, liberalism, fascism, feminism, Third-World-ism, Islamic Marxism, and Islamism. For each case study, we will address three interrelated questions:
(1) What makes the idea or ideology radical?
(2) What historical conditions explain its popular appeal?
(3) Why does the idea decline popularity or relevance?
Our goal throughout the course is to consider the broader context of political grievances and social conditions that might explain the popular appeal of "radical politics."
Modern Iran (HIST 6824) will take a thematic approach to the period from about the year 1800 (when a state with roughly the dimensions of modern Iran emerged) to 1989 (the end of the Khomeini era.) Recurrent themes of the course include problems of state building in the context of domestic weaknesses and external pressure, ideas about reform and modernization, the impact of reform by command from above, the role of religion in politics, and major upheavals, such as the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, the oil nationalization crisis of 1951-1953, and the Islamic Revolution of 1978-1979.
This course is an anthropological exploration of experiences of and ideas about community, belonging, and exclusion. While it is a fundamental feature of communities that some people are identified as belonging and others are designated as outsiders, how these distinctions among people are made, and with what effects, varies considerably. The idea of citizenship is one of the most powerful markers of belonging in the modern world, and it has been the subject of enormous attention in a variety of disciplines. Here we will consider what an anthropological perspective on citizenship can bring to these discussions. In approaching citizenship as more than simply a legal category, anthropologists look for expressions of and contestations over it in a variety of settings – in cultural productions, in formations of space and place, in political articulations, as well as in state elaborations. We will consider each of these settings. We will also pursue related questions about what happens to people when they are uprooted from the places that have defined their community and/or their citizenship. How, that is, are these ideas reconfigured in displacement? The geographical focus of the course will be the Middle East, though materials will be drawn from other areas as well.
This seminar explores the contemporary transformation of spaces across the Middle East and North Africa. The aim of the course is to critically examine the relationship between space, modernity and identity in that region. The seminar uses interdisciplinary texts and methods from economic and cultural geography to discuss urbanization, economic formations and transitions, political processes and contemporary cultural change in the Middle East.
Through site-specific readings, we will interrogate how factors such as gender, tourism, consumerism, religion, development and social movements mark and change different places in varying ways. Our discussions will reveal how a multitude of factors in particular places and times coalesce and produce new, complex geographies and landscapes of power. We will examine these processes in cities as diverse as Cairo, Beirut, Tehran, Tunis, Amman and Dubai.
This course is intended to give you information and insight into the history and political culture of modern Iraq and its relations with Iran, its other neighbors, and the United States. The focus will be on the role of occupation, militarism, and nationalism on state formation; the consequences of ethnic, sectarian and ideological conflict; and the impact of these issues on the region and U.S. security from 1914 to the present. The region is important for its geo-strategic location, energy resources, and propensity for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and autocratic governance. All of these issues are flashpoints for U.S foreign and security policy interests. This course is meant to enhance your knowledge base as well as your ability to analyze these issues; understand them in their geographic, cultural, and historical context; and examine how policy was and is made towards this complex region.
This course explores the inextricable link between Syria and Lebanon - from the time these territories were part of the Ottoman Empire until the present. In the process, the course focuses on the different political and economic trajectories the two states followed upon gaining independence from France; the domestic and external sources of their respective foreign policies; Lebanon's slide towards civil war in 1975 and Syria's intervention to end it; the politics of Syria's domination of Lebanon and, ultimately, its ouster from the latter.
This course is designed to examine the nature of civil-military relations in the Middle East in an effort to understand 1) the connection between militaries and the development of regime in the region, 2) the role militaries play in the durability of Middle Eastern political systems, and 3) possible pathways out of authoritarian politics.
This graduate level course offers in-depth knowledge on Turkish domestic and foreign policy as well as a multi-faceted perspective on dynamics of the contemporary Turkish society. Topics will include current Turkish foreign policy, its dynamics, domestic, regional and international drivers and implications, Turkish political parties and their ideological stance, socio-economic, ideological and cultural cleavages in Turkish society, relations between civil-military and secular-traditional Islamic forces and their impact on Turkish politics. At the end of this course, students will have an in-depth understanding of contemporary issues in Turkish domestic and foreign policy and be able to interpret these issues with a well-informed and sound analysis.
The course focus is on U.S. policy towards the Middle East. It will begin with an inventory of U.S. foreign policy basic principles and bureaucratic tools. It will then survey the Middle East as a whole, to identify commonalities of importance to American policy makers. It will then focus on individual countries of importance (Israel, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey), and critical issues (Islam, Terrorism, the Arab Spring, Use of Force). Each weekly segment will focus on a given country or issue, introduce student participation, and concentrate on a specific U.S. foreign policy decision ‘case study,’ in order to examine the trade craft at play, its success or failure, and the reasons for either. The course will come to a close with a simulation, choosing an issue of current interest at the time, encouraging students to apply what they have learned related to both U.S. foreign policy conduct, and the Middle East area of operations. The final session will look at the future, return to the course beginnings with the focus on the U.S. and the region as a whole, and examine how the U.S. might deal with it in the future.
The debate on the status of Middle Eastern women has served as a potent symbol within various political programs and as a site of political and cultural intervention. Special attention will be given to the ways in which the position of Middle Eastern women has been debated within imperial, nationalist, and Islamist political programs and the role that women themselves have played in shaping those debates.
The course is interdisciplinary in scope, readings and theoretical underpinnings ranging from history, sociology, anthropology to political science, and media studies to gender studies.
Core topics to be discussed in this course:
- Representing Gender in the Middle East: From Orientalism to Post-colonialism
- Islam & Patriarchy : Gender Ideologies and Social Practices
- The State & ‘Gender Regimes’: Modernization, Reform and Citizenship
- Families & ‘Selves’: Social Relations and Identity Constructions
- Gender & Sexuality: From ‘Honor & Shame’ to Queer
- Exploring Masculinities: Hegemonic and subordinate masculinities
- Feminism & Women’s Movements: Women’s rights and the struggle for 'authenticity'
- Autobiographies & Fiction: Gendered writing and creativity
- New Public Spheres: Gendering the media and the Internet
- War & Conflict: Gendering Violence and Peace in the Middle East
A course for those interested in the Middle East and especially for those planning a project, such as a Capstone or research study, on a country or topic in the region. The course will examine the issues driving change and shaping security concerns in the region, such as demands for political reform and economic liberalism made in the countries affected by the Arab Spring(s), the impact of ethnic, secular and sectarian movements on political stability and social change, and the role of the leader or party in shaping trends. Students will focus on developing expertise in a single country or part of the region and develop substantive as well as practical writing, briefing and analytic skills. This is not a course on U.S. foreign policy making; it is the region as seen from or in the country of choice.
Petroleum is one of the fastest-growing industries in the USA, and affects the fortunes of companies and nations. The industry is truly global; most of the largest firms in the world are in petroleum, and look for oil and gas in a wide variety of environments, which we will explore through cases.
Are we running out of oil, or awash in it? This course takes a multidisciplinary approach (primarily political economy and management) to oil and its effects on business, nation-states, and the world economy. The first half of the course adopts a top-down viewpoint, examining the global oil environment. The second half is more bottom-up, using cases to grapple with industry issues.
The course is conducted in a mixture of seminar and lecture formats. A group proposal, paper, and presentation, as well as active class participation are expected, and constitute over half the assessment.
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