The Middle East: Period of Ottoman Domination

Spring Semester 2005

Portrait of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, by Bellini, The National Gallery, London

Alan Fisher 
Office hours:  by appointment
E-mail: fishera@msu.edu
Phone: 355-7500

In this course we will focus on the history of the Middle East [defined here to include North Africa and Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and the Levant, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, and those portions of Southeastern Europe under Ottoman rule] from the period of the Mongol invasions to World War I. This is a large area and a long period of time. Thus, we will not "cover" all subjects or information, but will rather concentrate on some themes that, together, allow one to understand in an introductory way the historical origins of the modern Middle East.

As with all elements of your education, in this course what you learn will be largely the result of your own efforts to learn--through critical reading, discussion, and writing. In-class time will be devoted to some "lectures" by the instructor, an occasional video presentation [for areas like the Middle East which few of you will have visited, a picture is worth the proverbial 1000 words], and discussion.

So that discussion can be more than one-way presentation of information [from instructor to student], it is essential that you complete the assigned reading for a given week before the classes of that week. I have provided the means for you to complete this reading and to respond to it individually prior to the class discussions of those readings; and I do expect that you do this in a timely fashion each week.

I will give you individual responses to each of your responses, via email, also in a timely fashion; I will also return your written assignments, with comments, no later than a week after their due date. 

You are encouraged to browse through the various elements of the syllabus below, using the additional readings and other WWW sites sections for your reports and written work if you need them, and to keep track carefully of the class schedule calendar throughout the semester.