Friday, August 22, 2008

Syllabus for Politics of the Middle East

Politics of the Middle East
ICP 224
International and Comparative Politics
American University of Central Asia
Fall Semester 2008
J. Otto Pohl, Ph.D.
Cholpon Chotaeva, Doctor of History

Meeting Time: Tuesday room 308 and Thursday CH 2 at 2:10

Course Description: This course will cover modern political developments in the Arab states, Israel/Palestine, Turkey and Iran since the First World War. In particular the course will focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict with an emphasis on the central role played by Palestinian resistance to Zionist ethnic cleansing and colonization. By way of historical precedent the course will cover the successful Algerian Revolution against the French. It will also cover the rise of various forms of nationalism in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The course will then contrast the political developments in these Arab states with those in Turkey in Iran. Finally, the class will conclude with a discussion of the current war in Iraq.

Requirements: The course will consist of assigned readings, lectures, discussion, two short writing assignments, an oral report and a research paper. There will be two short reflection papers of 600 to 800 words. The first one should be on the development of nationalism in an Arab state. The second one should be on how the development of nationalism in either Turkey or Iran differed from the Arab states. Students will also have to complete a 1500 to 2000 word research paper on some aspect of either the Arab-Israeli conflict or the war in Iraq. The paper is due the last week of class. In the three weeks prior to this deadline each student will be required to give a short oral presentation on the subject of their paper followed by a short question and answer session. Late papers will lose one letter grade for each day they are late. Students must come to class on time. Being more than fifteen minutes late will count as an absence. Students will lose one letter grade after four unexcused absences and fail the course after seven. Written proof of an emergency from a doctor or other appropriate authority is required for an absence to be excused. No mobile phones are to be visible during class. They are to be out of sight and turned off. I will eject any student from class that has a visible cell phone or whose cell phone rings during class. This will count as an unexcused absence. Finally, I (Dr. Pohl) have a significant hearing loss and may have to ask people to repeat their questions or statements from time to time. You can minimize this by speaking loudly and clearly. This syllabus is tentative and subject to change.

Readings: All the required readings are contained in the course packet.

Plagiarism Policy: Policy on Plagiarism and Citations: I have a zero tolerance policy regarding plagiarism. If I catch any student plagiarizing once I will fail them from the course and recommend to the chairman of the ICP department that they be expelled from the program. Plagiarism includes any verbatim copying of from a source without using quotation marks or setting the text up as an indented single spaced block quotation. If I find that more than four words in a row in your paper show up in the same order in a Google search and you do not have the words in quotation marks or set up as a block quotation I will fail you. Putting a footnote, end note or other citation after the copied words without the quotation marks or block quotation form is still plagiarism, you are claiming to have paraphrased verbatim text, and you will still receive an F for the course and be recommended for expulsion from ICP. Taking text from a source without citing it and rearranging the words so that it does not show up in a verbatim Google search is also plagiarism. I will also do Google searches to see if you have taken text and merely rearranged the words. You must either paraphrase the sentence by putting it completely in your own words and citing it with the proper footnote, end note or in text citation or quote the actual text verbatim complete with the proper citation. Completely paraphrasing sentences in your own words, but neglecting to cite the source of the information is also plagiarism. All information that would not be known to the average person on the street with no university education must be cited. When in doubt always cite a legitimate source. Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. Books published by university presses and academic journal articles found on JSTOR are legitimate sources. Other sources may or may not be legitimate. If you have questions about whether a particular source is legitimate you can ask me. Using Wikipedia or other illegitimate sources will result in a reduction of one letter grade for each citation in a paper.


Class participation – 20%

Two reflection papers – 40% (20% each)

Oral report on research paper – 10%

Written version of research paper- 30%

Grading Scale:

100-96 = A
95-91 = A-
90-86 = B+
85-81 = B
80-76 = B-
75-71 = C+
70-66 = C
65-61 = C-
60-56 = D+
55-51 = D
50-46 = D-
45 and lower = F

Class Schedule:

Week One: Introduction to Course and Review of Syllabus

Week Two: The Mandate Period

Hourani, Albert “The Climax of European Power (1914-1939)” in A History of the Arab Peoples (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1991), pp. 315-332 and Andersen, Roy R., Seibert, Robert F., and Wagner, Jon G., “The Rise of the State System: 1914-1950” in Politics and Change in the Middle East: Sources of Conflict and Accommodation (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1982), pp. 74-93.

Week Three: The 1948 War and the Lasting Legacy of the Palestinian Refugees

Esber, Rosemarie M. “Rewriting the History of 1948: The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Question Revisited,” Holy Land Studies, vol. 4, no. 1 (2005), pp. 55-72, Alshaibi, Sama, “Memory Work in the Palestinian Diaspora,” Frontiers, Vol. 27, No. 2 (2006), pp. 30-53 and Khalidi, Rashid, “Observations on the Right of Return,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Winter 1992), pp. 29-40.

Week Four: The Algerian Revolution

Fanon, Frantz, “The Pitfalls of National Consciousness” in The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1965), pp. 148-205 and Gallagher, Nancy, “Lessons from the Algerian War of Independence,” Middle East Report, No. 225 (Winter 2002), pp. 44-49.

Week Five: Egypt under Nasser

Cleveland, William, “The Middle East in the Age of Nasser: The Egyptian Base” (Chapter 15) in A History of the Modern Middle East, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994), pp. 284-303.

Week Six: Political Islam

Milton-Edwards, Beverly, “Past, Present and Future Politics: Political Islam” (Chapter 5) in Contemporary Politics in the Middle East (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2006), pp. 134-158.

Week Seven: Nationalism in the Arab East

Devlin, John, “The Baath Party: Rise and Metamorphosis,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 96, No. 5 (December 1991), pp. 1396-1407 and Salibi, Kamal, “The Lebanese Identity,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 6, No. 1 (1971), pp. 76-86. The first reflection paper is due on Thursday.

Week Eight: The 1967 War and the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip

“Steering a Path under Occupation” (chapter nine) in Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal, The Palestinian People: A History, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. 274-311 and Andoni, Lamis, “Searching for Answers: Gaza’s Suicide Bombers,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Summer 1997), pp. 33-45.

Week Nine: Fall Break

Weeks Ten and Eleven: Turkey and Iran

Cleveland, William, “Democracy and Authoritarianism: Turkey and Iran” (chapter fourteen) in A History of the Modern Middle East, Second Edition, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000), pp. 267-292 and Keddie, Nikki, “The Revolution” (chapter 9) in Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003). The second reflection paper is due on Thursday of week eleven.

Week Twelve: The War in Iraq

International Crisis Group, “Where is Iraq Heading? Lessons from Basra,” Middle East Report No. 67 (25 June 2007), pp. 1-19.

Weeks Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen: Student Oral Presentations

Week Sixteen: Concluding Remarks and Final Paper Due


FLG said...

No primary sources?

J. Otto Pohl said...

Finding any resources here is a challenge. The library here is smaller than the one in Arivaca.

FLG said...

Understood. I still have some primary sources in PDF from my Theology of Islamic Politics class. If you are interested, send me an email. (My address is on my site.) And I can forward some of them over.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Your point about primary sources is a good one. I will consider it in future classes. Although it is not considered as important in political science as in history.

Thanks for the offer of the documents. But, I am covering the secular nationalist part of the course. Islam will be covered by Dr. Chotaeva. She told me she may assign additional readings in addition to what is in the syllabus.

On further consideration two of the pieces could be considered primary sources. Fanon actually did fight in Algeria. So in some ways _Wretched of the Earth_ is a first hand account.

Another piece is even more informed by personal observations and experience. The article "Memory Work in the Palestinian Diaspora" has a lot on the author's childhood growing up as a Palestinian in Iraq and then the US. The article talks about her experience as the daughter of a displaced Palestinian mother and exiled Iraqi father.