This course is designed to give students an extensive survey of the cultural characteristics of the Arab world by situating the practices and traditions of the Arab world into their own unique setting. The material chosen, both for the lecture and for reading, focuses on issues of ethnic diversity that define the Arab world in particular and place it into a greater multi-cultural realm. Special attention will be given to family, gender relations, national and religious minorities, East-West cultures and relations, the role of the past and of social change, and Arabic art and music.
Grades will be based upon class participation, short essays, a midterm and a final project. Material: Course pack and website.
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The course material will be explored through lectures and videos supported by listening and viewing guides in addition to discussion based upon the assigned readings. In both their writings and in the class discussions, students discuss the meaning of culture and ethnicity and how misunderstanding these principles can lead to forms of stereotyping, intolerance, and racism. There will be emphasis on developing effective outlining, writing, and oral presentation skills. Moreover, the course is accompanied by an interactive website utilizing the UM Course Tools Software.