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History of the Middle East 2 (1500-present)


Admission requirements



The goal of this course is to introduce students to major intellectual, political, social and cultural issues and practices in the Middle East from 1500 until the present. We will focus on important events, movements and ideas that shaped the history of the Middle East from the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms, through the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, to the creation of modern states. The second half of the course will deal with contemporary issues ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict, the impact of the Iranian Revolution, the emergence of Islamic movements, and the recent “Arab Spring.” In addition, the class will be based on various types of readings ranging from primary documents, historical narratives, and historiography, to works of fiction and movies. This is intended to familiarize students with the craft of historical work and the process of creating the historiographies of the Modern Middle East.

Unit 1: Era of Reform and the Paradigm of Decline
Unit 2: Ottoman and Iranian Constitutional Revolutions
Unit 3: Western Imperialism in the Middle East
Unit 4: Nation-State Nationalism in the Middle East
Unit 5: Arab Nationalism
Unit 6: Modern Islamist Movements
Unit 7: Palestine and Israel
Unit 8: Arab-Israeli Conflict and Regional Politics
Unit 9: Islamic Revolution in Iran
Unit 10: Lebanon and Regional Politics
Unit 11: “Arab Spring”

Course objectives

Students gain an overview of the most important historical events and processes that took place in the past five centuries in the Middle East. They learn to connect political events and to contrast them with socio-cultural changes in the Middle East. On the basis of a textbook and primary sources they learn to analyze historical events and processes, and to contextualize them.

Through diversity of information, students learn the essential skills to select, reproduce, organize combine, and analyze knowledge production.

Time table

Time table

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Midterm exam (40%), final exam (60%), resit (100%)


Reading list

Cleveland, William. History of the Modern Middle East. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2009. ISBN: 978-0813343747

(Other selected readings)



Contact information