Asian Civilizations before 1850

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					                                       The Islamic World
                                    History 2251, Spring 2008
Classroom: ED 206
Tuesday & Thursday: 9:30 – 10:45

Prof. Andrew Goss
Office Hours: T 12:30-2:30 pm (ED 145)
Tel: 280-6887

This course is an introduction to the history of the Islamic World. The lectures will narrate and analyze
the social history of Islamic communities, concentrating on how Muslims have lived, worked, and
worshipped, from the time of Muhammad until the very recent past. It will examine the rise and
definition of Islamic civilization and the making of Islam into a global religion. The will largely
concentrate on the history of the Middle East after Muhammad, but with some lessons covering the
Islamic world in Africa and Asia as well. While the course will touch on all aspects of Islamic history,
the principal focus will be on the relationship between Islamic politics, culture, and society, and there will
be less on the theology and religious history of Islam.


   Identify key places, movements, and figures from Islamic history
   Understand the development of Islamic societies in Arabia, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa
   Interpret the role of Islam in World history
   Evaluate the meaning of the Islamic revival
   Understand the roots of the twentieth century conflicts in the Middle East

Course Requirements

Midterm (25% of grade)
The midterm will be comprised of a map test, multiple-choice questions, identifications and short answer
questions, covering the first part of the class. These exams will test your familiarity with the lectures and
readings. Taking careful notes on both is therefore strongly recommended. I will be looking for evidence
of general knowledge, an organized and analytical approach to that knowledge, and an ability to combine
the raw materials of the course into pertinent and meaningful insights. If you will not be able to attend an
exam on the scheduled date, inform me beforehand. If you miss an exam, contact me immediately.
Make-up exams will be given on a Saturday morning at the end of the semester.

Ataturk paper (25% of grade)
As a class we will read, discuss, and analyze the biography of the first Turkish president, Ataturk. Please
finish reading this book by March 27th. All students are required to write a 800-word essay about this
book, following guidelines that will be posted on Blackboard. It is due on April 3rd, and must be turned in
via Blackboard (more details to follow).

Final (30% of grade)
The final exam will be comprised of a map quiz, multiple-choice questions, identifications, and short-
answer questions from the second part of the course, and one or two short essay questions covering the
entire semester. See above comments on the midterm.

Attendance (10% of grade)
Attendance in class is required. You must sign in on a sign-on sheet passed around during class. Three
absences are allowed—I do not need or want to hear reasons or excuses, unless they qualify for an
excused absence. Each absence after the first three will translate into the loss of one percent of your
grade (up to 10%). Excused absences will only be granted for: UNO official service (including athletics),
jury duty, or military service. These excused absences must be verifiable by me through an official
document, either a letter from a UNO official explaining your absence, a jury summons letter, or a letter
from your commanding officer.

Participation (10% of grade)
Participation will be graded at the end of the semester. There will be three possible scores: excellent,
passing, and fail. Excellent translates to full credit (100 points), passing translates to C credit (75 points),
and failing translates to zero points. Students who are familiar with the material, attend class regularly,
and at least occasionally make a stab at discussing the readings, will receive a passing grade. Students
who come to class, are careful readers, and who enthusiastically engage with the material, will receive an
excellent grade. A failing participation grade reflects little or no participation in the class material.
Students with frequent absences from class, regular tardiness, or other disruptive class behavior (like
leaving class right after signing in) will also receive a failing participation grade. Committing academic
dishonesty (see below) will also mean a failing participation grade.


Midterm 25% (250 points)                                    Paper 25% (250 points)
Attendance 10% (100 points)                                 Participation 10% (100 points)
Final 30% (300 points)


The required texts for the course are:

Goldschmidt and Davidson, A Concise History of the Middle East (8th edition)
Macfie, Ataturk

Both texts are available at the UNO bookstore. One additional short reading is available on the
Blackboard website for the class.

Other Notes

        Email and Blackboard
        All communications, including the posting of grades, will be done through Blackboard and email.
        As per university policy, you are expected to read your UNO email regularly, which I may use to
        distribute various announcements. Your paper must be turned in electronically via Blackboard.
        Blackboard is available at

        Student Conduct
        Civility in the classroom and respect for the opinions of others is very important in an academic
        environment. It is likely you may not agree with everything that is said or discussed in the
        classroom. Courteous behavior and responses are expected.

        Students with Disabilities
        Students who qualify for services will receive the academic modifications for which they are
        legally entitled. It is the responsibility of the student to register with the Office of Disability
        Services (UC 260) each semester and follow their procedures for obtaining assistance.

        Academic Dishonesty
        Academic integrity is fundamental to the process of learning and evaluation academic
        performance. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Academic dishonesty includes, but is
        not limited to, the following: cheating, plagiarism, tampering with academic records and
        examinations, falsifying identity, and being an accessory to acts of academic dishonesty. Refer to
        the UNO Judicial Code for further information:
Course Schedule

Date                Topic                                    Textbook Reading
T Jan 15            First day of class                       Ch. 1
Th Jan 17           Pre-Islamic Arabia and the Middle East   Ch. 2
T Jan 22            Muhammad                                 Ch. 3
Th Jan 24           Arab conquests                           Ch. 5
T Jan 29            Abbasid Caliphate                        Ch. 6
Th Jan 31           Sunni theology                           Ch. 4
T Feb 5             Mardi Gras!
Th Feb 7            Shia Islam & Sufi Mysticism              Ch. 7 (pages 87-94)
T Feb 12            Post-Abbasid Middle East                 Ch. 7 (pages 94-105)
Th Feb 14           Islamic Civilization, I                  Ch. 8
T Feb 19            Islamic Civilization, II
W Feb 21            Ottoman Empire                           Ch. 9 (pages 129-152)
T Feb 26            Safavid Persia                           Ch. 9 (pages 152-156)
Th Feb 28           Islam and Indian ocean trade
T Mar 4             Islam in Africa
Th Mar 6            Midterm
T Mar 11            Ottoman empire in the 19th century       Ch. 10
Th Mar 13           Modernist reforms                        Ch. 11
M/Th Mar 18-20      Spring Break
T    Mar 25         Islam, Colonialism and Nationalism       Ch. 12, Ch. 13 & Ch. 14
Th   Mar 27         New states: Turkey                       Macfie, Ataturk
T    Apr 1          The Creation of the State of Israel      Ch. 16 & Ch. 17
Th   Apr 3          Nasser’s Egypt                           Ch. 15
T    Apr 8          The 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars      Ch. 18
Th   Apr 10         Revivalist movements after the 1970s
T    Apr 15         Iranian revolution                       Ch. 19
Th   Apr 17         Afghanistan and the Taliban
T Apr 22            The Gulf Wars                            Ch. 20
Th Apr 24           Headscarves in French schools?
T Apr 29            Islam in the United States
Th May 1            Debating Islam in America                Ch. 21 (+ extra materials on Bb)

Wednesday May 7th   Final exam (ED 206)
10am – noon