Summer 2018 - HIST 151 D100

The Modern Middle East (3)

Class Number: 5940

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 12, 2018
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby



An introductory survey of the changing societies of the Middle East since 1800. Emphasis will be placed on familiarizing students with the basic aspects of Islamic society, the influence of European imperialism, the modernization of traditional societies, the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the social and political ferment in the period since the Second World War. Breadth-Humanities.


The image of the Middle East as a locus of authoritarianism, oppression, terrorism, endemic violence, and of socioeconomic underdevelopment still dominates public perspectives on the past and the present of this region. This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the major themes of Middle Eastern history from the nineteenth century to the present. It aims to create a nuanced and critical understanding of the key political, social, and cultural phenomena, dynamics, and forces that have shaped the history of the region. In so doing, the course will help students place the contemporary events unfolding in several major countries of the Middle East in a historical context.

Major themes and topics to be covered include the imperial past of the region, modern state-formation, colonialism, the First World War, the rise of nationalism and nation-states, the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Arab socialism, Islamic movements, and the recent political upheavals in Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. In contrast to elite-centered approaches, we will emphasize, throughout the course, the importance of the agency of ordinary men and women in the major sociopolitical transformations that the region has undergone during the period in question.


  • 1500-word review essay (The essay will be based on materials distributed in advance) 25%
  • Mid-term examination 25%
  • Final examination 40%
  • Tutorial participation 10%



William L. Cleveland and Martin Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East, 6th edition (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2016)

Marvin Gettleman and Stuart Schaar, The Middle East and Islamic World Reader, 3rd edition (New York, NY: Grove Press 2012)

All other readings will be available in electronic form through the SFU library.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.