Module Code MH2002

Module Title

Introduction to Middle Eastern History

Module Description

This module provides an introduction to Middle Eastern History from the dramatic reconfiguration of the Middle East in late Antiquity to its contested and contentious recent past. It explores political, social and cultural life across the Middle East through the comparative treatment of several themes. These will normally include states and authority; social dislocation and transformation; belief and literary expression; identity; and cross-cultural engagement. It will also define and explore key moments of transition, including the spread of Islam, Turkic irruptions and European encounters. Collectively these have profoundly influenced the modern Middle East.


List of Lecture Titles

Lectures will be arranged thematically, and are intended to provide a rough chronological framework of the history of the region.


List of Tutorial Topics

Students will sign up for a tutorial group; each group will six to eight students. There will be a total of nine weekly tutorials, which will be devoted to discussion of key historical topics, through close analysis of selected primary source material, and through investigation of scholarly interpretations. 
Tutorials will be on a selection of the following topics: the Pre-Islamic Middle East; Religion and State in early Islam; Byzantium; Travel and Urban Life in the Islamic Middle East; Religion and Nationalism; Revolutions in the Modern Middle East; Modern Arabic Literature.


Recommended Reading

Specific works will be recommended for each topic, and readings will be made available electronically.  Useful overviews include:

R.S. Humphreys, Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry (Revised ed., Princeton, 1991)

I.M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies (Cambridge, 1988, 2002)