Center for Global Affairs
The Contemporary Middle East
This course examines the changing landscape of a region critical to global stability. We examine the political, socio-economic, and cultural aspects of the Arab world, Iran, Israel, and Turkey and their far-ranging transformation. Topics include the role played by various ideologies in shaping the evolution of the Middle East since the advent of modernization, the origins, development, and impact of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle, post-Cold War regional dynamics, and the struggle between Islamists and secularists. We review the domestic structures and regional roles of such local powers as Egypt, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Issues such as civil society, demography, resources, the media, and globalization provide guidance in projecting the direction of change. We assess the role of outsiders, whether sovereign states or international institutions, and their contributions to the region's adjustments. Emphasis is placed upon current events and their relationship to the recent history of the Middle East.