1. Contact Information
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course Description and Credit Hours
  4. Required Texts
  5. Course Objectives
  6. Student Learning Outcomes
  7. Other Course Materials
  8. Outline Of Topics
  9. Exams and Assignments
  10. Grading Policy
  11. Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
  12. Attendance Policy
  13. Custom Sections
  14. Statements on Academic Misconduct
  15. Statement On Disability Accommodations
  16. Severe Weather Protocol
  17. Pregnant Student Accommodations
  18. Religious Observances
  19. UAct Statement

Rel,Politics,Culture Mid East

REL 371-001Spring 2017 | 3 Credit Hours

Recitation or Discussion

Dr. Steve Jacobs

Contact Information

UA Campus Directory:


UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:

No prereqs found

1 Course in either Religious Studies or Judaic Studies or Permission of the Instructor.

Course Description

Course Description and Credit Hours

No description found

The reassertion of religious values for political ends in the Middle East suggests a need for reconsideration of the process of social change. Whereas in Western societies religion, in the main, has "seemingly" (?) declined as a political force (despite the current moment, at least in the United States), ethnic, cultural, and religious factors are dominant in personal behavior and political activity in the Middle East. Islamic revitalization can be related to the extraordinary wealth stemming from the production of oil in Islamic countries, the current hostility to Israel, the rise of various expressions of terrorism, and to the attempt to forge an Islamic political position vis-a-vis the challenges of Westernization and modernization.

Although Israel, unlike its Arab neighbors, is a political democracy in which there is no officially-sanctioned state religion, there remains a close and complex relationship between religion and politics. The question of whether Israel is a "Jewish state" or "state of the Jews" remains open. The same question can be posed of Islamic countries. Are they countries of Muslims or Muslim states? Muslim countries are thus faced with different choices. Can they accept a particular view of modern civilization and merge their cultures and identities with it? Or turn their backs on the West and return to a perceived lost theological/religious/political ideal? Or reach a harmonious balance between the West and their own inherited traditions? This course seeks to explore these and other complicated and complex questions through lectures, readings, media and student presentations, and will attempt to arrive at a class consensus regarding the future of the region, made all the more difficult as a result of the "Arab Spring" or "Arab Awakening" beginning in the last few years.

Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.

Required Texts

Required Texts from UA Supply Store:

Course Objectives

1. To acquaint students with a basic understanding of the countries which comprise the Middle East, especially their histories, religions, cultures, and politics, and other relevant data.

2. To acquaint students with the complexity of these various Middle Eastern nation-states, their interactions with each other and with the West, especially the United States, Great Britain, and Russia.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students ...

1, Students will be able to present orally via either PowerPoint, Prezi, or other media, an in-depth overview of two (2) Middle Eastern countries addressing their history, politics, cultures, religions, and other relevant information.

2. Students will write a substantive 3-5 page critique of William McCant's book The ISIS Apocalypse, demonstrating their writing fluency, proper formatting, and analytical insights.

3. Students will participate in a group debate as members of a team addressing "The Arab/Palestinian Conflict" by working in tandem with each other to present cogent arguments for resolving this ongoing and seemingly intractable conflict.

4, Students will write a substantive 3-5 page analysis of a Middle Eastern "Peace Proposal" from a list provided, demonstrating their writings fluency, proper formatting, and analytical insights.

5. Students will submit either a "traditional" Research Paper or Creative Project on a topic of their own choosing and giving evidence of both their writing skills and their research skills thus far acquired.

6. Students will provide evidence of their learning in this course, summarily, by their answers to the essay questions provided in the Final Exam.

Other Course Materials

Possible additional handouts provided by the Instructor. See also Blackboard Course Page for additional readings, etc.

Outline of Topics

1. What is the Middle East? 2. Islam: Past & Present. 3. Arab Nationalism: Past & Present. 4. Judaism: Past & Present. 5. Zionism: Past & Present. 6. Modern Turkey. 7. Revolutionary Egypt. 8. State of Israel. 9. Palestinian Authority. 10. Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. 11. Republic of Lebanon. 12. Iraq Today. 13. Iran Today. 14. The Arabian Peninsula. 15. The Middle East: Present & Future?

Exams and Assignments

1. Each member of this seminar/class is responsible for two (2) PowerPoint or Prezi presentations on two (2) Middle East countries, addressing its religion, politics, culture, and other relevant information--accompanied by a written 2-3 page narrative summary--and keeping the class up to date with weekly news reporting. (20%; 10% each)

2. Each member of this seminar/class is responsible for active participation in the ongoing discussions held as part of this class. (10%)

3. Each member of this seminar/class is responsible for a 3-5 page critique, properly formatted (MS Word, 12-point font, 1" margins, double-spaced) of William McCant's The ISIS Apocalypse. (15%)

4. Each member of this seminar/class is responsible for a 3-5 page critique of one of the so-called "Peace Proposals" from the list provided in the Resource Document included on Blackboard. (15%)

5. Each member of this seminar/class is responsible for contributing as a team member to the debate "Resolving the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli Conflict". (10%)

6. Each member of this seminar/class is responsible for a "traditional" Research Paper (7-10 pages, properly formatted, minimum of 6 sources) OR Creative Project (2-3 page commentary; bibliography), addressing a topic relevant to the Middle East. (15%)

7. Each member of this seminar/class is responsible for answering all the essay question on the take-home Final Exam. (15%)

Grading Policy

1, The Grading Scale is as follows: A+ = 99....; A = 94-98; A- = 90-93; B+ = 88-89; B = 84-87; B- = 80-83; C+ = 78-79; C = 74-77; C- = 70-73; D+ = 68-69; D = 64-67; D- = 60-63; F+ = 58-59; F = 54-57; F-50-53.

2. See "Seminar Assignments: page included in this syllabus: 20% = country presentations; 10% = class participation; 15% = critique of McCant's book; 15 % = critique of Peace Proposal; 10% = debate participation; 15% = Research Paper or Creative Project; 15% = Final Exam.

Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework

All missed responsibilities will be worked out on an individual basis with the Instructor.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is required unless otherwise noted.

Statement on Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the official Academic Misconduct Policy provided in the Online Catalog.

Statement On Disability Accommodations

Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as detailed in the Online Catalog.

Severe Weather Protocol

Please see the latest Severe Weather Guidelines in the Online Catalog.

Pregnant Student Accommodations

Title IX protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. If you are pregnant and will need accommodations for this class, please review the University’s FAQs on the UAct website.

Religious Observances

Under the Guidelines for Religious Holiday Observances, students should notify the instructor in writing or via email during the first two weeks of the semester of their intention to be absent from class for religious observance. The instructor will work to provide reasonable opportunity to complete academic responsibilities as long as that does not interfere with the academic integrity of the course. See full guidelines at Religious Holiday Observances Guidelines.

UAct Statement

The UAct website provides an overview of The University's expectations regarding respect and civility.