In this course, we separate the Middle East from the many stereotypes that American media and politicians use to label the region. Our focus will be on cultural history, addressing Arab, Iranian, Turkish, Kurdish, Amazigh, Armenian, and Israeli societies—and how those societies overlap. Questions that we will address include:
- What do people mean when they say “the Middle East”? Is that term obsolete?
- How have religions emerged in the area? How do they inform people’s daily lives, from ancient times through modernity?
- What roles have arts played in the Middle East? When we talk about Middle Eastern literature, architecture, visual arts, and music, what exactly are the artworks that compel our attention?
- How did the tiny nation of Qatar win the fierce competition to hold the 2022 FIFA World Cup?