Political Science 375:
Dusable Hall Room # 246
Class Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00-6:15pm
Instructor: Mazen Nagi
Office: Academic Advising Center, 100H (Between Parking Deck and Library)
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 11:45-1:15 in Academic Advising Center, OR Thursdays from 1-2:30pm in the Academic Advising Center Satellite Office in Grant South B-Tower Basement, OR by appointment
its significance, 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. The first portion of the course will focus on the
major conflicts that have shaped the region. Additionally, time permitting;
various theories on leadership and legitimacy in the
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 Thursday, at the beginning of class, students will be asked to
introduce new stories related to
The textbook (see below) 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 of the textbook will be placed on two-hour reserve in the library. 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. Any other readings assigned will be placed on Blackboard where students can retrieve them at will.
Monte Palmer. 2007. The Politics of the
There are five basic requirements. The first is written examinations. The midterm exam will be given on Thursday February 26. The final exam will be administered on Thursday May 6 from 4:00-5:50pm. Both the midterm and the final will each account for 20% of the final course grade. A study guide will be distributed before each exam. In order to pass this class, all exams and tests must be completed.
second requirement is the submission of 14 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 requirements will involve a short but important test. A geography test,
which will be given Thursday March 25, will examine students’ basic knowledge
The fourth requirement is a short essay paper of 5-7 pages. This paper will be due at the beginning of class on Thursday April 22 (and will be returned the day of the final exam). The essay paper will account for 20% of the final grade. Requirements for the paper will be discussed in class in class.
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 during current events discussions, and (d) completing any additional tasks that may be assigned.
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. Essentially, each missed class after the first two will result in a 2% deduction from the final grade. Missing no more than two classes will result in full points for 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 =20%
c. Current Events =15%
d. Geography Test =15%
e. Essay =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.52) 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: Thursdays at the beginning of class
Midterm Examination: February 25
Geography Test: March 25
Essay Paper Due: April 22
Final Examination: May 6, 4:00-5:50PM
January 12: Course Introduction-Syllabus
Lecture-Knowledge, Media Bias
January 14: Video-Inside Islam
January 19: Regional Background-Regional Characteristics
January 21: Regional Background-The Rise of Islam
January 26-28: Regional
February 2-4: Egypt-Political History & Contemporary Politics
Begin Israel-Political History
Febrary 23: Finish
February 25: **Midterm Exam
March 2-4: Begin Syria-Political History & Contemporary Politics
March 6-15: SPRING BREAK-NO CLASSES
**Midterm will be returned
Syria-Political History & Contemporary Politics
March 23-25: Finish Syria-Political History & Contemporary Politics
**March 25-Geography Test
Begin Saudi Arabia-Political History, Contemporary Politics
March 30, April 1: Saudi Arabia-Political
History, Contemporary Politics
April 6-8: Iraq-Political History, Contemporary Politics
April 13-15: Iraq-Political History, Contemporary Politics
April 20-22: Iran-Political History, Contemporary Politics
April 22-**Term Papers Due
April 27-29: The Palestinian Authority/HAMAS (time permitting)
May 6: Final Exam 4:00pm-5:50pm
**Term papers will be returned