The Middle East

History 12

Fall 2018
Archana Gubbi Prakash
101 Life Sciences Building Addition
Day & Time: 
Tue/Thu 9:30–11am
Class Number: 

An introduction to the history of the widely misunderstood region known today as the “Middle East,” from the 7th century to the present day. Framed by contemporary concerns, the course will trace how a variety of factors like social life, family, gender, sexuality, politics, culture, economy, class and religion interacted over time in a region dominated, yet not necessarily defined by Islam. Students will be challenged to think critically, interpret primary sources and engage with relevant historical methods, learning to discern and craft historical arguments through an engagement with the major debates in the field. Subjects covered include the long-term social and political continuities in the ancient Middle East leading up to the foundation of Islam; the prophet Muhammad and his community; the Rightly- guided Caliphs and the early Arab conquests; the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires; the political fragmentation of the Near East; the Crusades; the Mongol invasions; the rise of the Ottoman and Safavid empires; the formation of the modern Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, interrogating the impact of colonialism and capitalism, modern state formation, nationalism, neo-liberalism, and the rise of political Islam in the region at large.

Archana Prakash received her Ph.D. in Middle East History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and previously taught courses on the history of the Middle East and Islam at Stanford University. Her research examines how Egyptians transformed European knowledge by implementing it through modern education in Egypt, as well as how Egyptian ideas about education and knowledge evolved over the course of the nineteenth century.