Courses Taught

HIST 3583 - Minorities and Diversity in the Middle East

The Middle East has long been a melting pot, or mosaic, of different groups. Large parts of the region have even been ruled by minorities. This course will explore the history of social diversity in the Middle East, including ways that ethnic and religious minority groups interacted with rulers, the majority, and each other, whether peacefully or not. The effects of long-term social diversity will bring discussion to the contribution of minority groups to the Middle East as we know it today.

HIST 3513 – Modern Middle East

The importance of the Middle East to world history is as obvious today as it was in 1517, although it was not necessarily obvious for most of the period in between. This course will trace the transformation of the Middle East politically, socially, and economically through responses to external and internal challenges and new opportunities. Themes traced through the course will include the relationship between the Middle East and Europe, competing visions of modernism and reform, the social diversity encompassing varieties of Muslims as well as non-Muslims, and the importance of considering events from multiple historical viewpoints. Primary sources will provide us not only a range of (Middle Eastern and Western) viewpoints on the topics discussed, but also the opportunity to develop necessary skills for the study of history.

HIST 3503 – Islamic Civilization

How does a new religion develop and come to dominate a region? How do traditional societies adapt to new circumstances, and why do some people resist changing? How do societies deal with religious, ethnic, and linguistic diversity? The rise of Islam in the ancient and medieval Middle East allows us to consider these big questions in light of an epochal shift in world history. This course will trace the rise of Islam from the emergence of Muhammad in seventh-century Arabia as it became the dominant religion of political and social elites (and a growing portion of the general population) over the course of nine centuries. Primary sources will provide us not only a range of viewpoints reflecting the diversity of pre-modern Middle Eastern society, but also the opportunity to develop necessary skills for the study of history.

HIST 1713 – Survey of Eastern Civilization

What is history? Is it the study of the Western rise to pre-eminence? Is it primarily a study of our past, why we are great and where our ancestors went wrong? What was going on in Asia and East Africa, during the millennia before modern globalization? And why do we care? This class will explore the broad trajectories of history in the Middle East, India, Central Asia, and the “Far East” from pre-history until 1800, while challenging common modern American presuppositions about the past and about “eastern-ness.” Students will explore what makes history a distinctive way of approaching the past, and practice their understanding by reading primary sources in translation and making historical arguments. Students will come to see the broad range of cultures and societies labeled “Eastern,” what separates them from one another, and how some of them have been historically linked.