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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. Following World War One, the region met new realities as the Ottoman Empire saw its last days and the British and French divided up the Arab East into independent countries under their occupation, with Turkey emerging as a nation-state. Egypt, from the late 19th century—already under British occupation—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 the rise (and decline) of revolutionary parties as it faced Cold War divisions. Both Turkey and Iran remained independent, however, internal strife would lead to coup d’états in Turkey and revolution in Iran. The region would also be witness to 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, now maintaining good relations with Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf States, there is no end in sight 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.