Sovereignty and Culture in the Middle East (Proseminar in Middle Eastern History)

History 103F.003

Fall 2016
Instructor (text): 
Aimee Genell
263 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 4-6P

This course analyzes the political and cultural history of state formation in the Middle East from the late eighteenth century through the early twenty-first century. It considers the transition from a world of multiple overlapping sovereignties to a world of territorialized nation-states. “Sovereignty” will be used a category to examine diverse phenomena in Middle East history including the nature of Ottoman political order, the expansion and collapse of modern empires and the rise of national states. Through comparative study, the course asks what is the nature of the state in the Middle East?  European powers constrained sovereignty in the Ottoman and Qajar Empires through legal and economic restrictions – practices that continued to varying degrees in the Middle East mandates, and later in states that attained full formal independence. As such, the course’s central themes include the relationship between states in the Middle East and European powers and later the United States, the role of law in imperial expansion, as well as changes in the definition of sovereignty. The first half of the course studies the Ottoman and Qajar Empires in a world of imperial rivalries and the second half considers the territorial and political reordering of the Middle East in the aftermath of World War I.

Course Books

Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Laden by Euben, Roxanne L and Zaman, Muhammad Qasim Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691135885 Required
The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood by Baron, Beth Stanford University Press. ISBN: 978-0804791380 Required