Islamic World

History 220: The Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was the longest lasting Muslim empire from its inception at the turn of the 14th century to its demise at the end of World War I. This course will begin with the empire's origins in the steppes of Central Asia and the advancements in gunpowder technology that aided its military conquests including the coveted Byzantine capitol of Constantinople. The Ottoman model of administration in the Balkans and the Arab lands will be discussed along with its impact on everyday life in the provinces. The rise of competing nationalisms brought about the loss of formerly held Ottoman lands, the Young Turk revolution, and, ultimately contributed to genocide against the empire's Armenian subjects. Readings include secondary texts as well as primary sources; grading will be based on exams and a short final paper assignment.

Prof. Semerdjian, 4 credits, TuTh 1:00-2:20

-Open to first-year students.
-Counts toward the College's Cultural Pluralism and Alternative Voices Requirements


History 230: International Relations of the Middle East

The history of international relations in the Middle East is the primary focus of this course as it examines the impact of U.S. and European foreign policy from the 19th century to the present. The course also pays special attention to the foreign policy of regional players in the Middle East. Course coverage includes the creation of the modern Middle East map, oil diplomacy, the diplomatic negotiations after World War I, and the influence of U.S. Cold War policy in the Middle East, particularly as it applied to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and Iraq. Case studies of contemporary "hot spots" will vary; past case studies have included Israel, Iran, Iraq, Syria and an examination of non-state actors and the phenomenon of suicide bombing. Assignments include media analyses, primary source analyses, as well as a short final paper.

Prof. Semerdjian, 4 credits, MW 1:00-2:20

-Open to first-year students.
-Counts toward the College's Cultural Pluralism and Alternative Voices Requirements


History 322: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

What are the origins of the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis? This course will present several perspectives on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It will examine the origins of the conflict in 19th century Zionism, the conditions of the late Ottoman Palestine, and World War I diplomacy. The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 resulted in the first Arab-Israeli War and several other wars followed such as the Suez War (1956), the Six-Day War (1967), and the Yom Kippur War (1973). In addition to these wars, the course will examine the peace process, rising Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation during the Intifada, and Israeli peace movements. The course will finish with the current status of the conflict. Student assignments will include media analysis of the conflict, document analysis, a final research paper and participation in a peace conference to be held during the final examination period of the course. It is recommended that students take at least one course in Middle Eastern history prior to taking this course.

Prof. Semerdjian, 4 credits, MW 2:30-3:50

-Counts toward the College's Cultural Pluralism and Alternative Voices Requirements