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HIST 3550: The Middle East in the Twentieth Century: Home

An OER for Louis Fishman's Course

Course Description HIST 3550: The Middle East in the Twentieth Century

Through the textbook readings, academic articles, examination of primary sources, music, and literature, this class will survey the Arab East (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan), Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and Iran. The region met new realities following World War One as the Ottoman Empire saw its last days. The British and French divided the Arab East into independent countries under their occupation, with Turkey emerging as a nation-state. From the late 19th century, Egypt was already under British occupation and would begin a decades-long struggle for independence. Meanwhile, the end of the Qajar Empire would also lead to the establishment of Iran. Following World War II, the Arab states received independence, Israel was established, and the Palestinian-Jewish conflict in British mandate Palestine would turn into a regional one, marking the birth of the Palestinian refugee crisis. The region also saw revolutionary parties' rise (and decline) as it faced Cold War divisions. Both Turkey and Iran remained independent. However, internal strife would lead to coup d’états in Turkey and a revolution in Iran. The region would also witness a civil war in Lebanon, an American occupation of Iraq, and, years later, the civil war in Syria. Despite Israel achieving peace with Egypt and Jordan, maintaining good relations with Saudi Arabia, and now having peace with most Gulf States, there is no end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with Israel continuing to occupy Palestinian territory. No less important, we will track the role of the Islamist movements in these states. In addition, we will explore questions related to the different societies, such as gender, identity, and alternative voices.