Spring 2021 - HIST 355 D100

The Arab Middle East in the Twentieth Century (4)

Class Number: 5711

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history. Recommended: one of HIST 151, 249.



An examination of this century's major themes in the history of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as well as other states of the Arabian peninsula. Topics to be investigated include the origins of Arab nationalism and Islamic reformism; the origins and development of the Lebanese question; the emergence of the politics of the military in Iraq and Syria, and the special role of the Jordanian and Arabian monarchies.


This course examines major themes in the history of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and the states of the Arabian Peninsula during the twentieth century. Among the topics students will explore are the legacy of the Ottoman Empire in the Arab world; the development of narratives of Arab nationalism; the political cultures of peasants, workers, and women; the influence of the military upon Arab societies; and the internal dynamics and interactions of monarchical and republican regimes. As the course focuses principally on social, cultural, and political developments within the Arab world, there is little coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


  • Three take-home tests 40%
  • Term paper 40%
  • Debate presentation 10%
  • Class participation 10%



Contending Visions of the Middle East, by Zachary Lockman

Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, by John Chalcraft

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).