Office Hrs. MWF 9-9:55, and by appointment if necessary Office: 476 Dusable
its significance, the
Employing a comparative approach, the primary purpose of this course is to make sense of this significant but often confusing region of the world. While this investigation cannot ignore religion, culture, and social life, it is important to remember this is a political science course and these topics will not be the major emphasis. Rather, the vast majority of our time will be devoted to studying the politics, governments and foreign relations of several Middle Eastern states. This country-by-country examination will be preceded by background information, including political history since World War I, with a focus on the major conflicts that have shaped the region.
is important to note that this course is intended for students with little or
no knowledge of the
course has three specific objectives, and one more general objective. The first
is to facilitate a basic understanding of the leaders, events, and issues that
As mentioned, the
presumption is that students have little or no background in the subject
matter. For that reason, each class will have a lecture component. However,
questions and comments about the material are encouraged and always welcome.
Also, members of the class should be prepared to respond to questions the
instructor might ask about a lecture topic, assigned readings, or contemporary
events. We will spend a good portion of our time discussing and dissecting
To maintain a contemporary focus and facilitate a
more interactive class setting, we will track and discuss events throughout the
semester. Each Monday, at the beginning of class, students will be asked to
introduce new stories related to
The textbook and readings used for this course were selected to provide the most up-to-date material as possible as well as maintain a high quality of academic intellectualism. For those students faced with limited budgets, a copy all materials will be placed on two-hour reserve in the library. Please return any library materials in a timely fashion so that everyone is guaranteed reasonable access. If possible, however, I would encourage students to have a personal copy of the book not only for use during the semester, but for future reference as well.
1. Monte Palmer. 2007. The Politics of the
There are five basic requirements. The first is written examinations. The midterm exam will be given on Friday October 12. The final exam will be administered on Monday 10 from 10pm-11:50am (please note that this is not the normal meeting time for the class). The midterm will comprise 20% of the grade, while the final will account for 30%. In order to pass this class, all exams and tests must be completed.
second requirement is the submission of 10 neatly clipped or photocopied
articles with an accompanying well-written, seven to eight sentence paragraph
that reacts thoughtfully to a news story that bears a clear relationship with
third requirement involves short but important test. The test, which will be
given Friday October 26, will examine students’ basic understanding of
The fourth requirement is an 8-10 page research paper. Each student will submit a topic abstract, which is due on October 5. The requirements will be more thoroughly laid out in class, however, in general, you will select a topic related to the class material and explore it greater in depth. Please begin thinking about topics early on during the semester. The paper is due November 19. This requirement is worth 20% of your final grade.
Lastly, class participation will contribute 10% to the final course grade. Components of this grade include: (a) regular attendance (no more than three absences to secure full marks in this category; more than seven unexcused absences will result in automatic failure of this class without exception), (b) regular and thoughtful participation during lectures and discussions, (c) introducing and discussing materials from the New York Times, and (d) completing any additional tasks that may be assigned.
In general, relevant class participation will be evaluated according to the following scale:
A = regular and thoughtful participation
B = occasional and thoughtful participation
C = regular attendance (no more than three absences)
D = less than regular attendance
F = little or no attendance
Attendance will generally be taken at the beginning of each class session. Moreover, being tardy will be treated the same as being absent. This is done in order to keep classroom disruptions to a minimum and provide a better teaching and learning environment. At the end of the semester, the total number of class meetings is divided by the number of times that the student was present. The resulting percentage will then be converted into a letter grade. Missing no more than two or three classes will result in an “A” for this portion of the participation grade. As previously mentioned above, more than seven unexcused absences will result in automatic failure of this class without exception.
Components of the Final Grade
a. Midterm Exam =20%
b. Final Exam =30%
c. Current Events =10%
d. Geography Test =10%
e. Research Paper =20%
f. Participation =10%
1) Make-up Exams: Make-up exams will only be given in extraordinary circumstances. If such circumstances arise, please contact the instructor as soon as possible and before the scheduled exam. To keep the process fair for everyone in the course, students may be asked to support requests for make-up exams with documentation. A missed examination without prior notification and a documented excuse will result in a zero and a grade of “F” for the course, as opposed to an incomplete.
2) Students with Disabilities: The instructor recognizes that some students require special testing environments because of documented physical and learning disabilities. If such arrangements are necessary, the instructor should be informed early in the semester. Please do not wait until exam time.
3) Late Assignments: The only out-of-class assignments other than readings are the current events requirements, which, as mentioned, must be turned in at the time due; there will be no exceptions unless the student has an excused absence.
4) Submitting Materials: Assignments should be handed in to me personally, or given to a department secretary to be time-stamped. Assignments placed under my office door or sent with a friend tend to disappear at times. If a student selects one of these modes of delivery, he or she does so at their own risk.
5) Extra Credit: Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis to raise final course grades. Like make-up exams, such assignments raise major questions of equity. If the need arises to provide some sort of extra-credit assignment, the entire class will be given the opportunity to complete it.
6) Handouts: Handouts, including study guides, are a privilege for those students who attend class on a regular basis. No student is entitled to supplemental materials simply because they are registered for the course.
7) Incomplete Requests: Such petitions will be granted in extraordinary circumstances. The instructor reserves the right to ask for documentation to verify the problem preventing completion of the course by the normal deadlines. If the student does not present documentation from a university office or official, the matter will be left to the instructor’s discretion.
8) Academic Dishonesty: Please refer to the NIU Undergraduate Catalog (p. 47) section entitled “Academic Integrity” for details. In general the point is that students should do their own work and learn the proper rules of citation and paraphrasing.
9) Class Participation: It is recognized that class discussion comes more easily for some than others. By temperament or habit some people are “talkers” and others “listeners.” While the preference is that students volunteer to participate, I may at times call upon individuals if that is the only way to bring them into the discussion. If you are particularly uneasy about speaking in class, please see me. There are some things I can suggest that may help to make participation easier.
10) Unannounced Quizzes: The instructor reserves the right to conduct “pop quizzes” if during the course of the semester it becomes apparent that students are not completing the reading assignments in time for discussion in class.
News Article Submissions: Mondays
Paper Topic Abstract Due October 5
Midterm Examination: October 12
Geography Test: October 26
Paper Due: November 19
Final Examination: December 10
August 27, 29, 31: Course Introduction
Bias in the Media, Video-“Islam-Empire of Faith”
September 3, 5, 7: Regional Definition & Background
The Rise of Islam
September 10, 12: Regional Background-continued
September 17, 19, 21: Egypt-contnued
September 26, 28:
October 1, 3, 5:
October 5 *** ONE PARAGRAPH ABSTRACT ON PAPER TOPIC DUE
October 8: The Palestinians
October 12: **Midterm Exam---
October 15: The Palestinians-continued
October 17: **Midterm will be returned
October 19: The Palestinians-continued
October 22 24, 26:
October 31, November 2:
November 5, 7, 9: Saudi Arabia-continued
November 12,14, 16:
November 19: Iraq-continued
November 26: Iraq-continued
November 28, 30:
December 3, 5: Iran-continued