MAAS-514 Politics of Empire: Middle East
Fall for 2013-2014
The 2003 Iraq war has led to renewed interest in the notion of “empire” as a key dynamic in international politics. But in the Middle East, the question of empire never went away. For many people in the region, the colonial division of the Ottoman Empire into individual states under European tutelage, Western efforts to keep anti-Communist regimes in power during the Cold War, and the more recent phenomenon of globalization are all examples of the ongoing trend whereby the Middle East has been subjected to imperial domination by the West.
This course aims to contextualize contemporary debates in IR with a historical overview of empire in the Middle East from the nineteenth century to the present day, as well as providing the conceptual tools to understand the workings of colonial and imperial power in the region. The course focuses on the changes introduced to Middle Eastern societies by colonialism, the implications of these changes for regional states after independence, and more recent socio-political developments sometimes categorized as neo-colonial forms of domination.
While case studies will range from the French occupation of Algeria in 1830 to the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, the course will adopt a thematic rather than narrowly historical approach. Each session will consider one aspect of the empire debate (e.g. theories of imperialism, Orientalism, colonial knowledge, cultural political economy, counter-insurgency practices, space, urban development, neoliberalism, modernity, etc.). The seminars will look at case studies in light of relevant concepts and debates in international relations, political sociology and post-colonial theory, making the course suitable for students with interests in history, anthropology, or cultural studies, as well as political science and international relations.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '13: Neep D (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.