This course explores the role of empires in the Middle East from the 18th through the first half of the 20th century. During this period, various forms of imperial rule defined the region—from Ottoman rule to the British occupation of Egypt in the late 19th century to British and French mandate states in the region post World War I. The course will emphasize comparative approaches to exploring how these empires shaped the history of the Middle East. We will also examine the response of local populations to different forms of empire and the impacts on the independent states that succeeded them.
Through a close reading of primary and secondary sources, students will examine a number of case studies to assess how imperial policies shaped reactions and impacted historical change across the region. In analyzing the methods of imperial rule as well as multiple forms of resistance to it, we will also critically engage concepts like colonialism, imperialism, postcolonialism, and modernity. Students will have the opportunity to pursue their own research topic on a related topic.