NEAR EASTERN STUDIES
NES 321 / POL 369 Iran since the Revolution
Mirjam Künkler - Spring 2015
The course examines the formation and development of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution. It considers, in particular, how the Iranian regime has adapted to changing domestic and international economic, social and political conditions and sustained itself enface grave social and economic challenges and international isolation. Topics of discussion include:
Social Movements and Political Reform, Clerical Opposition and Dissident Theology, Changing Interpretations of Religious Law, Missed Opportunities in US-Iran relations, Iran's role in the Middle East, and the nuclear question.
NES 325 / HIS 338 / HLS 323 Christianity along the Silk Road
Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic very similar to the language spoken by Jesus in first-century Palestine. Aramaic-speaking Christians in the Near East soon adopted Syriac as their literary language; by the early fourteenth century, Syriac Christianity spread from the western Mediterranean to China. In this seminar we shall be exploring the origins of Syriac Christianity in the Near East and its spread along the Silk Road before 1500.
NES 366 / SOC 366 Street Politics: Revolutions and Social Movements in the Middle East
Kevan K. Harris
Revolutions and social movements are at the center of contemporary politics in Western Asia and Northern Africa. Of course, most of them have not produced outcomes the protagonists intended. Yet the old Middle East order is likely kaput. Why did it happen, what are the variations, and how is it playing out today? This seminar explores the recent wave of Middle East social protest through the historical sociology of revolutions, states, and social movements. The 20th century produced plenty of all three as well as theories about why they intertwine. By paying attention to them, we can learn to think as revolutionaries and tyrants alike.
NES 540 / COM 540 Studies in Later Persian Literature 1200 - 1800 A.D.
Course acquaints students with the literature of the second great classical language of Islam and its legacy of epics, chronicles, lyric poems, mystical writings and imaginative tales from the traditional Persian-speaking world - including not only from present-day Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan but also from Anatolia, Central Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Continuation of NES 539. Treats the literature from 1200 to 1800.
NES 412 Global History: The Modern Middle East
Although the Middle East is often seen as exceptional, it is part of our globe: through connections and in being part of worldwide processes. This seminar's double goal is to study the Middle East from this perspective, and thereby also to explore how the modern world emerged. We will use Irye, Osterhammel, and Rosenberg, ed., A History of the World, 2 vols., covering 1870 to the present, as the backbone of the course; and in parallel read case studies on the Middle East in the world, including global cultural patterns, social webs, economic ties, imperial action, state building and international system, and the spread of political ideas.
HIS 425 Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire
Overview of the history and historiography of the Mongol Empire, including its Inner Asian nomadic origins, expansion, and acculturation to or eviction from the societies of Russia, the Middle East, Central Asia, and China. We will discuss political history alongside the diplomatic, cultural, and technological exchanges engendered by the Mongol Empire and the methodological considerations of modern research on the subject. Class time will include topical mini-lectures and extensive discussions of primary and secondary sources, with occasional library and museum visits to view and discuss manuscripts and artifacts from the Mongol period.
HIS 210 The World of Late Antiquity
Jack B. Tannous
This course will focus on the history of the later Roman Empire, a period which historians often refer to as "Late Antiquity." We will begin our class in pagan Rome at the start of the third century and end it in Baghdad in the ninth century: in between these two points, the Mediterranean world experienced a series of cultural and political revolutions whose reverberations can still be felt today. We will witness civil wars, barbarian invasions, the triumph of Christianity over paganism, the fall of the Western Empire, the rise of Islam, the Greco-Arabic translation movement and much more.
HIS 555 / HLS 555 Monotheism and Society from Constantine to Harun al-Rashid
Jack B. Tannous
The goal of this seminar will be to introduce students to some of the most important ideas and debates surrounding the two major religious revolutions of Late Antiquity: the triumph of Christianity and the subsequent emergence and world conquests of Islam. The course will focus on extensive reading in both primary and secondary literature and students will be introduced to and trained in using major instrumenta studiorum for this period; texts may also be read in Greek, Syriac, and Arabic. No prior knowledge of Late Antiquity, Christianity, or Islam will be assumed.
CLA 217 The Greek World in the Hellenistic Age
Brent D. Shaw
The Greek experience from Alexander the Great through Cleopatra. An exploration of the dramatic expansion of the Greek world into Egypt and the Near East brought about by the conquests and achievements of Alexander. Study of the profound political, social, and intellectual changes that stemmed from the interaction of new cultures, and the entrance of Rome into the Greek world. Readings include history, biography, and inscriptions.
WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL
WWS 556F / NES 559 Topics in International Relations - US Diplomacy, The Arab Gulf States and Their Neighbors
Barbara K. Bodine
Seminar examines the political, social, economic and strategic dynamics within the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and their neighbors. Course explores the context and complexities of these regional actors, the effect of recent US policies, the impact of the Arab Awakening and opportunities and limitations of US influence on national interests. Topics include sectarianism, Islamism, political liberalization, post-oil globalized economies; intra-GCC and intra-regional rivalries and competitions, and the rise of new powers, including Turkey, India and China