RelS / Anth / MdES 145
Middle Eastern Traditions
Spring Semester, 2010
Dr. Mira Z. Amiras
Middle East Studies Program, Humanities Department
Class Time / Location:
Mon 1:30 – 4:15
Mon & Wed 12:00-1:15 and 4:30-5:45 PM
or by appointment
Clark Hall 437
Humanities Office for my mailbox: Clark Hall 419
Office hours / email
|| Please do not
email drafts or assignments
Download class assignments here
and download Middle East Studies Minor Form here as well
This course focuses on the Middle East and North Africa as a complex culture area encompassing shared
and competing values, religious traditions, ethnicities, and ecological concerns.
The goal of the course is
to give students a framework for understanding, and even predicting, the lines of religious, cultural, and
political conflict and alliances within the region and in the larger global context.
We will begin by
examining longstanding traditional patterns that persist, and are shared across ethnic, religious and
We will then explore the contribution this shared legacy has made to contemporary
disputes in the region. In addition, we will examine cycles of religious revitalization, (and so-called
fundamentalisms), competing ideologies, relations between minority and majority populations, and the
legacy of pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial experiences on the peoples of the Middle East, as well
misunderstanding—the complex dynamics of the region.
The course will conclude with consideration of
the viability of competing potential resolutions to current controversies in the region.
Middle Eastern Traditions is an upper division G.E. course.
It has a significant amount of
reading and writing, and requires passage of the WST.
In addition, completion of 100W is required—
although in the Fall Semester, 100W may be enrolled in concurrently with this class.
Courses used to
satisfy Areas R, S and V of SJSU’s G.E. studies must be taken from three different SJSU departments.
Required and Recommended Readings
Select books from each of the 3 categories below:
Select ONE book from those listed below
(See First Research Project)
Bates and Rassam
PEOPLES AND CULTURES OF THE MIDDLE EAST
A HISTORY OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST
CARAVAN: THE STORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST
THE WORLD OF ISLAM
THE MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA: AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL VIEW
Fromkin, D. et.al.
CRADLE AND CRUCIBLE: HISTORY AND FAITH IN THE MIDDLE EAST