Middle East Studies

Spring 2018 Featured Elective Courses

COLT 1431E Loss in Modern Arabic Literature
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 12:00-12:50 p.m.
Professor: Gregory Halaby

This course examines the literary expression of and response to various forms of loss, including military defeat, diaspora, and prison confinement in Arabic poems, short stories, and novellas from the 20th century through the post-Arab Spring. We explore how texts reimagine social and political geographies through diverse poetic and narrative techniques to enrich our understanding of the region and of central debates in its literary tradition. Though the topics may seem quite grim, we will find that many of the readings render forms of loss into aesthetics of beauty or empowerment. No knowledge of Arabic necessary.

HIST 1964L Slavery in the Early Modern World
Thursday, 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Professor: Adam Teller

There were multiple forms of slavery in the Early Modern world. We will look at three major systems: Mediterranean slavery and the Barbary Corsairs, Black Sea slavery and slave elites of the Ottoman Empire, and the Atlantic triangular trade. We will examine the religious, political, racial, and economic bases for these slave systems, and compare the experiences of individual slaves and slave societies. Topics discussed include gender and sexuality (e.g. the institution of the Harem and the eunuchs who ran it), the connection between piracy and slavery, and the roles of slavery in shaping the Western world. 

URBN 1870K Jerusalem Since 1850: Religion, Politics, Cultural Heritage
Tuesday, 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Professor: Katharina Galor

This seminar surveys the history of archaeological exploration, discovery, and interpretation in the contexts of social, political, and religious debates from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on the post-1967 period. It examines the legal settings and ethical precepts of archaeological activity and the developing discourse of cultural heritage. It analyzes the ongoing struggle to discover and define the city's past, to expose its physical legacy, and to advance claims of scientific validity and objectivity against the challenges of religious zeal and political partisanship, the latter both intimately related though not necessarily limited to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.