HISTORY 231 - Social Science Topics in History
Winter 2022, Section 001 - Being Modern in the Middle East
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected five times for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/5/22 - 4/19/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


"In the Middle East, modernity was associated as much to innovative ideas, new technology, and medical improvement as it was with European colonization. Being modern in the Middle East involves in influential and intricate historical transitions from the nineteenth century through to the present. Modernity is manifested in everyday life in Latin-script alphabets and printed languages, redesigned apparel and refashioned demeanors, desirable lifestyles and preferable sensibilities. On a social level, Middle Eastern societies accommodated updated European technologies and reinvented classical practices of transmitting faith and performing religiosity. Politically, the region became disintegrated from the diverse but cohesive Ottoman Empire into more than twenty independent nation states with demarcated political boundaries yet interweaving ethnic groups. This course examines the intersectionality of politics, society, and everyday life in the making of the modern Middle East. It sets forth the multiplicity and diversity of modern visions and practices throughout the region.

The course also draws attention to the various forces that shaped modernity's appearance in the Middle East. We start from the stumbled bureaucratic and social reforms of the Ottoman Empire and the Empire's eventual collapse at the conclusion of the World War I. From there, we examine how European colonial powers took advantage of the empire's collapse to insert their modernization schemes, affecting lives of Middle Eastern women and men alike. In the second half of the twentieth century, global independence movements gave birth to post-colonial nation states in the Middle East, in which left-leaning, secular political elites experimented with ambitious models of self-governance, which gave rise to intensive regional conflicts and lasting social ills. The final part of the course will focus on the troubled reinvention of political Islam under the ambivalent legacy of authoritarian regimes. The course is inclusive to undergraduate students with or without a prior knowledge of the modern Middle East. It will focus on the mashriq (eastern) part of the Arab world, as well as Iran and Turkey."

Course Requirements:

Four short papers

Intended Audience:

All interested students


HISTORY 231 - Social Science Topics in History
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

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