Jul 14, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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INTL 2800 - Introduction to the Middle East

Credit Hours: 4.00

Prerequisites: None

This multi‑disciplinary introductory course offers a general survey of the arts, humanities, social science, history and geography of the Middle East. Topics will be drawn from historical and contemporary issues relevant to the analysis of the Middle East as a complex and rich regional system within a changing globalized world. The course will also explore Middle Eastern diversity and its expressions in music, art, literature, and film produced by the cultures of the region. Special attention will be given to the consistent contact between the West and the Middle East, beginning in the middle ages through the crusades and perpetuating to current times, as manifested in different western economic and military policies implemented in the region. In addition, the curriculum will touch on critical issues such as the veil and women’s rights, the Middle‑Eastern experience in the US, the war on terror, the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict, and the Arab Spring. A central objective of the course is targeted towards increasing sensitivity to racial bias and improving students’ awareness of multicultural issues.

Billable Contact Hours: 4

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Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, students will demonstrate knowledge of Middle Eastern peoples and their cultures.


  1. Identify and discuss significant topics of Middle Eastern geography and history.
  2. Identify and discuss significant topics of Middle Eastern politics and economics.
  3. Identify and discuss different art expressions in and about the Middle East.
  4. Recognize the contribution of Middle Eastern culture and sciences to the depths and breadths of humanities and social sciences.

Outcome 2: Upon the completion of this course, students will be able to compare and contrast the diverse ethnic groups and cultures of the world and the special challenges of developing regions of the globe.


  1. Identify ethnic and cultural differences in the world in general.
  2. Identify ethnic, social, and cultural related challenges of developing regions.

Outcome 3: Upon the completion of this course, students will recognize some of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic society and interconnected world, focusing on Middle Easterners in the United States.


  1. Identify some of the rights of Middle Easterners in the United States.
  2. Identify some of the responsibilities of Middle Easterners in the United States.

Outcome 4: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to apply critical thinking and writing skills to topics and issues related to the Middle East.


  1. Discuss Analytical methods and processes.
  2. Write essays presenting critical analysis.

  • Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
  • Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
  • Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
  • Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
  • Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.
CDO marked YES apply to this course:
Communication: YES
Critical Thinking: YES
Global Literacy: YES
Information Literacy: YES
Quantitative Reasoning: YES
Week 1:
Syllabus: Course and student introduction
The Middle East: Myths and stereotypes… (quiz)
Geography, climate and population of the Modern Middle East

Week 2:
The Middle East before Islam : the pattern of Mesopotamia’s conquest; conquest, consolidation, expansion, degeneration, conquest - The Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Chaldeans, the Persians…

Week 3:
The advent of Islam : Mohammed, the divinely-guided caliphes and the Umayyads and Abassid dinasties.

Week 4:
The Golden Age and foreign assaults: Cordoba in Andalousia and Baghdad - the Crusaders from the west and the Monghols from the east.

Week 5:
Rebirth after the Mongol Holocaust: The Othoman empire, the Safavids and the Moghuls.

Week 6:
Islam, Empire of faith: In-class viewing of documentary - Exam 1

Week 7:
West comes East: Merchants and consultants - the need for reform, industrialization, and constitutions.

Week 8:
Western colonialism: Sykes-Picot Agreement, the birth of the Jewish state and the rise of secular nationalists - Exam 2

Week 9:
The crisis of Modernity: The Arab defeats to Israel, the Palestinian question and the consolidation of dictatorships - Paper topic due

Week 10:
The United States and the Middle East: The cold war and the politics of oil, the Iranian revolution, the Iraq wars and the question of terrorism - Paper outline due

Week 11:
Political Economy of Development: Analysis of indicators of economic development - Incoherence of economic structures and development strategies in oil-rich and oil-poor countries - Economic costs of war and developmental challenges in the global economy.

Week 12:
Political Participation and Democratic Transition: Formal and informal networks of participation - Social movements, women and and the Arab Spring - Political Islam or the dilemma of democratization? - First draft of paper due.

Week 13:
Hibridity: post-colonial Middle Eastern identities and its expressions in the Arts and the Arab-American experience - Exam 3

Week 14:
Middle Eastern story-telling : from the oral tradition to the modern novel , “The Arabian Nights” and Tayeb Salih’s “Season of migration to the north”.

Week 15:
Orientalism: the manufacturing of the Middle Eastern ‘Other’ in Western arts - In-class viewing of the documentary “Reel Bad Arabs” - Final Paper due.

Week 16:
Review and Final Exam

Primary Faculty
Rahmouni El Idrissi, Amine
Secondary Faculty

Associate Dean
Parker, Catherine
Pritchett, Marie

Primary Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088

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