Courses

Undergraduate Courses - Spring 2018

Feminist Political Theory: Iran and the West
This course in comparative feminist thought begins with a short survey of feminist thought in the West, studying first-wave liberal feminism, second-wave feminism, and Marxist feminism, before moving to feminist thought and critiques of feminism in 20th and 21st century Iran. It explores how conservative and reformist thinkers in Iran argue for reform in shari'a law as it relates to women, define the scope of political rights for women, depict the status of women in Islam, address Western feminisms, and draw connections between how women fare in the private sphere and how they fare intellectually, spiritually, socially, and politically.
Instructors: Nura Alia Hossainzadeh
The Idea of Iran: History, Memory, and the Making of a Cultural Identity
The course will introduce students to the history of the Iranian world through the lens of memory. Organized by theme, students will be introduced to a wide variety of ancient, medieval, and modern sources as they investigate the history of the various elements that are frequently invoked as essential to Iranian identity. The course will attempt to interrogate the notion of "Iranian civilization" through an investigation of a variety of themes ranging from geography and ethnicity to art and humanism to kingship and revolution. Students will work closely with archival and visual material in collections in and around Princeton.
Instructors: Daniel Jensen Sheffield
In the Shadow of Swords: War, Martyrdom and the Afterlife in Islam
How were just war, holy war, and martyrdom imagined and enacted over the centuries in Islamic societies? How do concepts of the afterlife inform attitudes towards war and martyrdom? We begin in the Late Antique world with a survey of noble death, martyrdom, holy war, and just war, in the Roman, Jewish and Christian traditions. We explore these topics in the Islamic tradition through case studies: the Arab conquests, the Crusades, Spain and the Reconquista, the Iran-Iraq war and contemporary jihadist movements. We use primary sources in translation (including fiction and poetry) and, for modern period, films and internet.
Instructors: Shaun Elizabeth Marmon
Political and Economic Development of the Middle East
Course introduces the study of political economy, focusing on major issues related to political and economic development in the contemporary Middle East. Focuses on interactions between political actors, social forces, political economy structures, and development strategies. Case studies include trends in the region, especially: Rentier economics and the political economy of authoritarianism; the growth of Islamic finance; the processes and outcomes of economic reform; the impacts of globalization and foreign penetration of the region; and the ways in which new industries and technologies are shaping the political economics of the region.
Instructors: Jessie Alethea Moritz
The Modern Middle East
An introduction to the history of the Middle East from the late eighteenth century through the turn of the twenty-first, with an emphasis on the Arab East, Iran, Israel, and Turkey.
Instructors: Max David Weiss
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Culture and Ethics
This course investigates the question of ethics and culture in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What is the relationship between culture and ethics? How does the conflict permeate everyday life, and how do Palestinian and Israeli artists, writers and filmmakers respond? How have they pushed aesthetic and ethical limits in representing extreme violence and loss? How does the cultural imagination transgress borders or challenge one-sided understandings of responsibility? Course material includes feature film and documentary film, literature, memoir, visual art, photography, theater, dance, rap music, and cookbooks, all in English translation.
Instructors: Lital Levy
Muslims, Jews and Christians in North Africa: Interactions, Conflicts and Memory
This has been as one of the main events of the modern times in North Africa: from the 1950s onwards, the Jewish local communities and the European settlers started to leave Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. We will study the various interactions between Muslims, Jews and Christians in this part of the Islamic world. How did Europeans transform North African Islam and local societies? We will as well explore the reasons why the local Jews and Europeans left en masse after the colonial period and how North African Muslims, Jews and former European settlers developed either a strong memory of a shared past or a mutual distrust even today.
Instructors: M'hamed Oualdi
Revolt
Talk about revolt and resistance is everywhere. But what do those words mean? In this course we will think about revolt and resistance by focusing on the case of the Middle East in a global context. We will study the "Arab Spring," the history of revolt in the Middle East, Occupy Wall Street, and different perspectives on what revolt and resistance mean. Readings draw on social theory, anthropology, sociology, history and the arts.
Instructors: Julia Elyachar
US Foreign Policy and the Middle East since 1979
This seminar examines the evolution of American diplomacy and military policy in the Middle East from the late Cold War through the "Unipolar movement" and 9/11 to the very recent past. Given the militarization of American policy, it pays particular attention to the use of force. It asks why military force has become the defining instrument of US foreign policy in this region, seeks to evaluate the efficacy of America's military interventions, and to identify the sources of American conduct. Prior coursework in international relations and Middle Eastern history is beneficial but there are no prerequisites.
Instructors: Michael Anthony Reynolds
Introduction to Islamic Theology
This course is a general survey of the main principles of Islamic doctrine. It focuses on the Muslim theological discourse on the concepts of God and His attributes, man and nature, the world to come, revelation and prophethood, diversity of religions, and the possibility and actuality of miracles.
Instructors: Hossein Modarressi
Mobilities, Borders and Social Dynamics in the Middle East
We will study the various forms of movements of populations in the Middle East in relation to social dynamics. The course will emphasize the urban and territorial impact of migrants' presence in several Middle Eastern cities by highlighting the forms of segregation and cosmopolitanism that result from differentiated legal and social statuses. The course will go beyond the single approach of legal integration by exploring cultural production and initiatives that are directly or indirectly related to the experience of migration and which bear witness to new forms of integration underlining migrants' agency.
Instructors: Amin Moghadam
Medieval Cairo: A Survival Guide
How does one write a history of quotidian life in a premodern society? This course takes history to the micro-level, with rigor. Sometimes the simplest questions (food, clothing, shelter, patterns of marriage and reproduction) can be the most challenging - and exciting - to answer. Our laboratory will be the medieval twin cities of Fustat-Cairo, a burgeoning metropolis astride the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and trans-Saharan trade routes and an excellent place for take-out food. You will have the opportunity to contribute to an evolving state of knowledge via primary sources and hands-on experiments.
Instructors: Marina Rustow
Junior Independent Work
Senior Departmental Exam
No Description Available
Senior Thesis
No Description Available

Spring 2018

Documents and Institutions in the Medieval Middle East
Seminar is part of a multi-year collaborative project devoted to reading Arabic documents from the medieval Middle East in Hebrew and Arabic script. Students contribute to a corpus of diplomatic editions, translations and commentaries to be published in the project's collection of texts. We introduce the most common legal and administrative genres: letters, lists, deeds, contracts, decrees and petitions. Our goal is to make this material legible as historical sources by combining philology, diplomatics, attention to the material text, and institutional and social history. Prerequisite: good reading knowledge of classical Arabic.
Instructors: Eve Krakowski, Marina Rustow
Feminist Political Theory: Iran and the West
This course in comparative feminist thought begins with a short survey of feminist thought in the West, studying first-wave liberal feminism, second-wave feminism, and Marxist feminism, before moving to feminist thought and critiques of feminism in 20th and 21st century Iran. It explores how conservative and reformist thinkers in Iran argue for reform in shari'a law as it relates to women, define the scope of political rights for women, depict the status of women in Islam, address Western feminisms, and draw connections between how women fare in the private sphere and how they fare intellectually, spiritually, socially, and politically.
Instructors: Nura Alia Hossainzadeh
In the Shadow of Swords: War, Martyrdom and the Afterlife in Islam
How were just war, holy war, and martyrdom imagined and enacted over the centuries in Islamic societies? How do concepts of the afterlife inform attitudes towards war and martyrdom? We begin in the Late Antique world with a survey of noble death, martyrdom, holy war, and just war, in the Roman, Jewish and Christian traditions. We explore these topics in the Islamic tradition through case studies: the Arab conquests, the Crusades, Spain and the Reconquista, the Iran-Iraq war and contemporary jihadist movements. We use primary sources in translation (including fiction and poetry) and, for modern period, films and internet.
Instructors: Shaun Elizabeth Marmon
Introduction to Islamic Theology
This course is a general survey of the main principles of Islamic doctrine. It focuses on the Muslim theological discourse on the concepts of God and His attributes, man and nature, the world to come, revelation and prophethood, diversity of religions, and the possibility and actuality of miracles.
Instructors: Hossein Modarressi
Islam and Government in Iran and Saudi Arabia
Seminar focuses on contemporary Iranian politics and political thought but also studies Islam and government in modern and contemporary Saudi Arabia. This dual focus allows students to compare and contrast two models of Islamic government rooted in distinct traditions of political and legal thought. On one hand, we study Khomeini's theory of Islamic government and theories of state in Iran in the period after Khomeini. On the other, we study the theory of sovereignty that shapes the Islamic government in Saudi Arabia, a theory in which, unlike in the Iranian case, Islamic law is not applicable to all political matters.
Instructors: Nura Alia Hossainzadeh
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Culture and Ethics
This course investigates the question of ethics and culture in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What is the relationship between culture and ethics? How does the conflict permeate everyday life, and how do Palestinian and Israeli artists, writers and filmmakers respond? How have they pushed aesthetic and ethical limits in representing extreme violence and loss? How does the cultural imagination transgress borders or challenge one-sided understandings of responsibility? Course material includes feature film and documentary film, literature, memoir, visual art, photography, theater, dance, rap music, and cookbooks, all in English translation.
Instructors: Lital Levy
Junior Independent Work
Late Medieval-Early Modern Islam
This seminar focuses on Islamic thought and society during the 17th and the 18th centuries. Our key concerns are two: to understand what Islam, and Islamic thought, looked like in the late medieval and the early modern world; and to think about how we should try to approach the study of Islam in that world. A good deal of our focus is on South Asia, though we also read about other regions, including Iran and the Arab Middle East. The required readings are in English. For those interested, some weeks might have supplementary readings in Arabic as well.
Instructors: Muhammad Qasim Zaman
Material Culture in Medieval Cairo
No description available
Instructors: Marina Rustow
Medieval Cairo: A Survival Guide
How does one write a history of quotidian life in a premodern society? This course takes history to the micro-level, with rigor. Sometimes the simplest questions (food, clothing, shelter, patterns of marriage and reproduction) can be the most challenging - and exciting - to answer. Our laboratory will be the medieval twin cities of Fustat-Cairo, a burgeoning metropolis astride the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and trans-Saharan trade routes and an excellent place for take-out food. You will have the opportunity to contribute to an evolving state of knowledge via primary sources and hands-on experiments.
Instructors: Marina Rustow

Pages

Graduate - Spring 2018

Themes in Islamic Culture: Middle Eastern History
This semester the course will be a chapter and paper clinic. Each participant will be expected to submit at least one draft chapter or paper to the seminar, and will receive intensive comments and suggestions on both form and substance from the other participants and the instructor. Chapters and papers may relate to any period or aspect of Middle Eastern or Islamic history.
Instructors: Michael Allan Cook
Persian Historiography from the Mongols to the Qajars
This course is designed to introduce advanced students of Persian to later Classical Persian prose from the Mongol conquests of the thirteenth century down to the middle of the nineteenth century, when significant innovations were introduced into Persian literary style. Over the course of the semester, students gain familiarity with texts composed in Iran, India, and Central Asia in a variety of literary genres including history, biography, hagiography, and travelogues. Each week's classes consist of excerpted readings from primary sources along with secondary sources related to the readings.
Instructors: Daniel Jensen Sheffield
Recovering the Voices of the Oppressed in Middle East and North Africa
Historians of modern North Africa have frequently complained about the scarcity or absence of "local" sources for writing its history. Instead they have often relied on European colonial sources. This course explores this in the context of the voices and testimonies of the oppressed. We first discuss theoretical approaches that aim to recover the voices of such people during pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial times and then focus on specific North African cases, such as slaves, women, "queers", and victims of authoritarian postcolonial regimes.
Instructors: M'hamed Oualdi
Islam and Government in Iran and Saudi Arabia
Seminar focuses on contemporary Iranian politics and political thought but also studies Islam and government in modern and contemporary Saudi Arabia. This dual focus allows students to compare and contrast two models of Islamic government rooted in distinct traditions of political and legal thought. On one hand, we study Khomeini's theory of Islamic government and theories of state in Iran in the period after Khomeini. On the other, we study the theory of sovereignty that shapes the Islamic government in Saudi Arabia, a theory in which, unlike in the Iranian case, Islamic law is not applicable to all political matters.
Instructors: Nura Alia Hossainzadeh
Themes in World History, 1300-1850: The Mediterranean
The course introduces students to recent theoretical literature on writing the history of the sea/ocean and to the historiography on the early modern Mediterranean (1300-1850). The relationship between Mediterranean history and global history is also considered. The Ottoman Empire, the Venetian Republic and North Africa all figure prominently.
Instructors: Molly Greene
Readings on World War One and the Middle East
The study of the Middle East in World War I has advanced rapidly over the course of the past decade. This course surveys the burgeoning literature on WWI in the Middle East and addresses such questions as how did Ottoman strategic performance impact the war; what was the experience of "total war" in the Middle East and how did it shape governance; what was the relationship between war and imperial collapse; and what are the motives for demographic engineering and mass killing? No prerequisites.
Instructors: Michael Anthony Reynolds
Documents and Institutions in the Medieval Middle East
Seminar is part of a multi-year collaborative project devoted to reading Arabic documents from the medieval Middle East in Hebrew and Arabic script. Students contribute to a corpus of diplomatic editions, translations and commentaries to be published in the project's collection of texts. We introduce the most common legal and administrative genres: letters, lists, deeds, contracts, decrees and petitions. Our goal is to make this material legible as historical sources by combining philology, diplomatics, attention to the material text, and institutional and social history. Prerequisite: good reading knowledge of classical Arabic.
Instructors: Eve Krakowski, Marina Rustow
Themes in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence
Selected topics in Islamic law and jurisprudence. The topics vary from year to year, but the course normally includes reading of fatwas and selected Islamic legal texts in Arabic.
Instructors: Hossein Modarressi
Late Medieval-Early Modern Islam
This seminar focuses on Islamic thought and society during the 17th and the 18th centuries. Our key concerns are two: to understand what Islam, and Islamic thought, looked like in the late medieval and the early modern world; and to think about how we should try to approach the study of Islam in that world. A good deal of our focus is on South Asia, though we also read about other regions, including Iran and the Arab Middle East. The required readings are in English. For those interested, some weeks might have supplementary readings in Arabic as well.
Instructors: Muhammad Qasim Zaman
Modern History of the Caucasus
No description available
Instructors: Michael Anthony Reynolds
Material Culture in Medieval Cairo
No description available
Instructors: Marina Rustow
Space in Perspective: Theories and Practices
No description available
Instructors: Amin Moghadam