Spring 2022 - HIST 354 D100

Imperialism and Modernity in the Middle East (4)

Class Number: 4638

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: Tue, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2022
    Thu, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

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



This course examines the role of imperialism in the transformation of societies in the Middle East and North Africa over the last two centuries. Focusing mainly on the cases of Ottoman, British and French empire building, the course discusses the socio-economic, cultural and political changes brought about by the interaction of various segments of local societies with these imperial powers.


To this day, the encounters of peoples in the Middle East with imperialist politics shape the economic, political, and social realities of this region to a significant degree.  This course allows you to understand the role of imperialisms in the transformation of the societies in the Middle East and North Africa over the last two centuries, from the 1780s to the second Gulf War in 2003 and the Russian intervention in Syria today.  Focusing mainly on the cases of Ottoman, British, French, Italian, and U.S. empire building, we will discuss the socio-economic, cultural, and political changes brought about by the encounters of local women and men with these imperial powers.  Key themes of this course include differnnt forms of economic domination; colonial, imperial, and nation state building; as well as the emergence of political Islam and organized labour.  In this connection, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which these were contested, bypassed, and overturned through the actions of artisans, workers, journalists, farmers, nomads, bureaucrats, military men, bankers, merchants, and industrialists, and their competition over political influence and economic resources.


  • Mid-term examination 25%
  • Research Essay 25%
  • Final Examination 35%
  • Tutorial participation 15%



Thomas Kuehn, Custom Courseware

Alice Zeniter, the Art of Losing. Translated from the French by Frank Wynne.

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.