This course focuses on the modern Middle East, and traces developments within the region since the seventeenth century to the contemporary period. We will try to grasp the complexity of the modern Middle East not so much by tracing the chronology of key historical events, but by focusing on a particular set of themes through which knowledge about contemporary Middle East has been produced and our understanding of the region has been shaped. By the end of the term, students are expected to develop the ability and the knowledge to engage the following questions: What is the sociopolitical history through which the Middle East has come to occupy a particular place within Western popular and scholarly imaginary? How do we understand the struggles and histories of the region outside of this framing? How have the operations of modern power and governance shaped these struggles? How do we begin to develop an analytical language that reflects the concerns of the diverse inhabitants of this region that does not get caught in the polemical language of “the West versus the East”?