Section 1 (Friday 10am)

Jewish Studies 256

Power and Diplomacy in the Middle East

Spring 2013                                                                              TA: Zoe LeBlanc

Discussion Section 1                                                                Office: Buttrick Carrel 3-60

Friday 10-11am                                                                        Email:

Calhoun 219

Office Hours: Monday 9 – 10, Wednesday 9 – 10, or by appointment.

Why did 9/11 happen? What are the origins of the Arab Spring? When did the Israeli-Palestinian conflict start? What is the United States’ role in the Middle East?

All of these questions, as well as many others, will be explored in this course that examines the history of the modern Middle East, with an emphasis on American involvement in the region. This section meeting is intended to provide students with the opportunity to further engage with the material covered in lecture and make connections with the assigned readings.  As this is a university level course, it is expected that you will have attended weekly lectures and completed readings prior to section meetings.  Students are encouraged to bring questions and outside material that is relevant to the course (i.e. articles, clips, etc…) to section meetings.  The primary purpose of this hour is to stimulate debate, so coming to section prepared to participate is strongly advised.  In addition, students are welcomed to comment on the course blog and post links at

Attendance: Attendance is mandatory at all section meetings.  Unexcused absences will be subject to penalties.  If you are aware that you will be missing a section, please contact me as soon as possible so that we can work out an alternative solution.

Participation: Section participation is worth 25 percent of your final grade of the course. While attending sections are important component of that mark, it is not sufficient to achieve full credit.  Participating in section discussion, completing assignments, and demonstrating engagement with the material are all required and will be monitored throughout the semester.

Late Work: All assignments are to be handed in either in person at discussion section or by 5:00pm that day into my mailbox in the history department office at Benson.  Work that is turned in later than the due date will be subject to penalty.  Exemptions for due dates should be discussed prior to the deadline and will only be considered for legitimate reasons.

Grading and Office Hours: If you having any questions regarding the course, material being covered or more general academic concerns, please feel free to either see me during office hours or email me to schedule an appointment.  After all assignments and exams are returned, there is a twenty-four hour moratorium on discussing grades so that you have the chance to read my comments.  If you disagree with the grade you receive, I will be happy to review your work.  However, I reserve the right to either lower or raise the grade at my discretion.  I will do my best to reply to emails as quickly as possible but I cannot promise that I will be able to reply to queries the night before an exam or assignment is due, so please if you have concerns bring them to my attention sooner rather than later.

Plagiarism: As Vanderbilt student, it is expected that you will abide by the Vanderbilt Honor Code.  Any assignments or exams that contain plagiarism will immediately receive a zero and the student may face a review by the Vanderbilt Honor Code Committee.  If you are unsure about how to cite sources, please come speak with me prior to turning in an assignment.

Civility: This course covers a number of topics that are politically sensitive.  While discussion sections are a time to share and discuss a diverse array of opinions, any student who fails to behave in a civil and respectful manner will be asked to leave. You do not have to agree with every statement or topic discussed, but at the very least you must listen and consider the argument.  All are encouraged to participate and ask questions, and please let me know if for whatever reason you feel that section is not an inclusive environment.