Welcome to Jewish Studies 256 Course Website!

Course Description

This course will examine the international history of the modern Middle East, with an emphasis on the involvement of the United States.  The primary focus of the course will be on the period after the Second World War, when America became the most important outside power in the region.  Among the topics the course will explore are: the American relationship with the state of Israel, and its impact on overall American policy toward the region; the reasons behind the significant increase in American attention to the region after the October 1973 war, the energy crisis, and American attempts to mediate the Arab-Israeli/Palestinian-Israeli conflicts; the history of America’s relationship with Iran, from its tacit alliance during the years of the Shah’s rule, through the hostility toward the Islamic Republic; the background to the first Gulf War and American policy toward Iraq; the attack of September 11 and the Iraq War.  Finally the course will look at the future of the American position in the Middle East and the impact of the Arab Spring.

Required Texts:

Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, eds. The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict, 7th Edition (Penguin Books, 2008)

Aaron David Miller, The Much-Too Promised Land (Bantam, 2008)

Lloyd C. Gardner, Three Kings: The Rise of an American Empire in the Middle East After World War II (New Press, 2009)

Peter L. Hahn, Crisis and Crossfire: the United States in the Middle East Since 1945 (Potomac Books, 2005)

Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran (Random House, 2004)

Additional readings may be distributed throughout the semester.

Course Requirements:

Midterm:  20%

Final:  30%

Paper Draft:  10%

Final Paper:  15%

Section participation and activities:  25%

Course Policies:

If you have to miss your regular section time one week you may attend another section with the permission of the instructors.

Appeals of grades must be submitted in writing.

For all examinations, papers, and other assignments students are expected to observe the Honor Code. If you have any questions about the application of the Honor Code please ask the instructor.

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