First Week

Welcome to the class!

Our first week we will start with a general orientation into the history of the modern Middle East, focusing on imperialism and the rise of nationalism after World War I.

For Wednesday, I’d like you to read this article on Arab nationalism in the 20th century. This article hits all the major beats: imperialism, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (b. 1918, d. 1970), the Six-Day War with Israel. Don’t worry about “getting” the article if the Middle East is a totally new topic for you. It’s dense, but I just want you to start gathering a general awareness of the major competing movements in the region.

After you read that article, you might choose to browse these somewhat elementary pages from PBS. You study these maps of the Middle East throughout the 20th century.  you can amuse yourself with this Middle East geography quiz. Leave a comment to let the class know how you did.

On Friday we’ll start reading from our textbook Battle for the Arab Spring. This introduction picks up on the themes introduced in Wednesday’s article and begins to connect them to the revolutions that started in 2010/2011.

If you have any questions as we get started, please leave them as comments below or email them to me at

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