Middle East & the West

Term: Spring 2011

Subject Code: GHIS

Course Number: 5129

The first objective of this course is to explore the diplomatic, military, economic and cultural contacts between societies of the Middle East and the West, concentrating on American-Middle East relations in the period since 1945, to explore the broader implications and possibilities of cross-cultural contact and understanding within the context of the global system. The second objective of this course is to examine Western knowledge and views of the societies and culture of the Middle East. Is the acquisition of knowledge about societies and cultures enough to be a true citizen of the world? Should we examine the development of societies according to their own standards, or can we, and should we, compare societies to a set of universal standards of political and economic practice? How do we know that our knowledge of another culture is objective - not biased by our own experiences, expectations and norms? The third objective of this course is to provide a venue in which to examine critically American policy in the Middle East. What have been the underlying assumptions and goals of American policy? How did these develop, and how have they changed over the past 60 years? To what extent does current American policy represent the best in "world citizenship," and to what extent do existing policies support or contradict stated American objectives in the Middle East?

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