History 605

San Francisco State University

History 605: Islamic World II
Instructor: Maziar Behrooz
E-mail: mroozbeh@sfsu.edu
Webpage: http://faculty.sfsu.edu/~mroozbeh

Telephone: (415) 338-1776

Course Description: This course is a study of Islamic civilization (the Middle East), history, and culture from the 1700 to the present.  It focuses on a core region (the area between Nile and Oxus rivers).  Topics for the first part of the course include politics and society in the 18th and 19th centuries, the impact of European imperialism on the region’s economy and culture, the response of regional (especially Ottoman) reform movements.  Topics for the second half of the course include the transformation of empires into nation-states, the rise of Arab nationalism, Arab-Israeli conflict, and the history of Iran, particularly its two 20th century revolutions.  The course also seeks to explain the rise of political Islam in light of its historical context.  Students will be able to identify the political and social forces that have contributed to the modern Middle East.  Students will discuss and analyze the region in light of divergent processes toward modernity by comparing and contrasting a variety of roads to and choices about modernity in the Islamic world.

Spring 2019: Tue/Th. 2-3:15, HSS 108
Office Hours: Science 223, Tue/Th. 10:00-11:00 or by appointment

Course Outline:


Week 1: January 29-31

Introduction: geographic setting of the region; people of the region; historical background: decline of regional gun-powder empires: Ottoman Empire in decline; initial setbacks; 18th century Ottoman reforms; reforms of Selim III; Egypt under Muhammad Ali Pasha.


Reading: Hourani, History of the Arab Peoples, 209-265; Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1-54.


Week 2: February 5-10

Ottoman reforms in the first half of the 19th century: "the sick man of Europe"; reform under Mahmud II; Greek revolution; war with Egypt; Tanzimat reforms; the Crimean War.


Reading: Hourani, 265-279; Quataert, 54-110; e-reading: Lewis, “The Ottoman Obsession.”


Week 3: February 12-14

Ottoman reforms in crisis: Young Ottomans; Constitution; Sultan Abdulhamid II; the Armenian Question; Young Turks; 1908 revolution; WWI and the end of the empire.


Reading: Hourani, 279- 315; Quataert, 110-199.


Week 4: February 19-21

Iran in the 18th century: downfall of the Safavid empire; Afshars; Zands; unification under Qajars; status of the Shi'i ulama; early Qajar state; Middle Eastern Despotism.


Reading: Abrahamian, Modern Iran, 1-8; e-reading: Abrahamian, “European Feudalism.”


Week 5: February 26-28

Iran in the 19th century: early military setbacks; early reforms; the Babi movement; Amir Kabir and his reforms; colonial subjugation and capitulations; the Tobacco Protest. 


Reading: Abrahamian, 8-34.


Week 6:  March 5-7


Mid-term Exam I: March 7


Iran: Constitutional revolution (1906-1909); Iran during WWI; the end of the Qajars.


Reading: Abrahamian, Modern Iran, 34-63.


Week 7: March 12-14

Modernization and reform in Turkey: Modern republican Turkey under Ataturk; Modernization and reform in Iran: Modern Iran and the rise of Reza Shah Pahlavi.


Reading: Abrahamian, 63-97; e-reading: Zurcher, Turkey, “The Emergence of the One-Party State.”


Week 8: March 19-21

Emergence of Arab Nationalism; Egypt and the Suez Canal; Urabi revolution; Arab nationalism in the Ottoman empire; WWI and the Arab revolt; Zionism; the Mandate period.


Reading: Hourani, 319-353; e-reading: Dawn, “The Origins of Arab Nationalism” and Geddes, “Der Judenstaat,” “Husayn-McMahon Correspondence,” “Sykes-Picot Agreement,” “Balfour Declaration.”


Week 9: March 26-28   NO Class (Spring Recess)


Week 10: April 2-4

Arab nationalism after WWII: New States; Naserism and Ba'thism; Arab-Israeli conflict; Palestinians; the Persian Gulf War; the peace process.


Reading: Hourani, 353-459; e-reading: Farouk-Sluglett, “Iraqi Ba’thism.”


Week 11: April 9-11


Mid-term exam II:  April 11


Iran after WWII: Fall of Reza Shah; the Oil Nationalization Movement and Mosaddeq; the Tudeh Party and the USSR; the 1953 coup and the Cold War; from coup to reforms of 1960s.


Reading: Abrahamian, 97-123; e-reading: Gasiorowski, “The 1953 Coup in Iran.”


Week 12: April 16-18

Iran: The shah and his Reforms; major oppositional groups and thinkers


Reading: Abrahamian, 123-155; E-reading: Fischer, “Imam Khomeini.”


Week 13: April 23-25

Iranian Revolution: emergence of political Islam; Soviet invasion and the Afghan war; American hostages in Tehran; the Iran-Iraq war.


Readings: Abrahamian, 155-196


Week 14: April 30-May 2

Political Islam in the Middle East: major thinkers of the movement; "al-Afghani"; Hasan al-Banna; Sayyed Qutb; Ayatollah Khomeini; Ali Shari'ati.


Reading: Esposito, chapters 1-3; E-reading: Haddad, “Sayyid Qutb;” Iqbal, “Democracy and the Modern Islamic State,”


Week 15: May 7-9

What is an Islamic state? Case examples and degrees of success; class discussion.


Reading: Esposito, chapters 4-6


Week 16: May 14-16

Discussion of Islamic Movements in the region and finishing lectures and open discussion of various issues.


E-reading: Haeri, “Temporary Marriage;” Kramer, “Islamic Notions of Democracy.”



Abrahamian, Ervand, A History of Modern Iran

Esposito, John. The Islamic Threat

Hourani, Albert. A History of the Arab Peoples

Mahfouz, Naguib. Palace Walk (Optional)

Quataert, Donald. The Ottoman Empire 1700-1922


Additional reading will be emailed to you.


There will be two mid-term exams (25% each) and a final exam (50%).  The mid-term exams will be taken in class, will be essay questions, and students will have options. 


Final exam will be take-home.  Your exams will be based on the required readings and class lectures. All papers must have proper citation from reading material and lectures.  


Final exam is due on May 21 before noon.  (Questions and instruction will be emailed to you  10 days before due date)


Note:  Class attendance is essential in receiving the desired grade in this course. 


Extra Credit: You may write a review of Palace Walk (no more than five pages, typed, double space) for seven points credit toward your final grade.


Important: Do not miss any exams unless you have a very good reason and have prearranged everything with me. 


Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. 



Academic Senate policy #S07-244 requires that the following statement be included on the syllabus: “Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor.  The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process.  The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email dprc@sfsu.edu).”


Academic Senate policy #F14-257 requires that the following statement be included on the syllabus: “SF State fosters a campus free of sexual violence including sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and/or any form of sex or gender discrimination. If you disclose a personal experience as an SF State student, the course instructor is required to notify the Dean of Students. To disclose any such violence confidentially, contact:  The SAFE Place - (415) 338-2208; http://www.sfsu.edu/~safe_plc/  Counseling and Psychological Services Center - (415) 338-2208; http://psyservs.sfsu.edu/ For more information on your rights and available resources: http://titleix.sfsu.edu



Study Questions


Part I:

1) Explain and analyze Ottoman reforms under Selim III and Mahmud II.  Explain their differences and degree of success.

Under Mohammad Ali Pasha (1805-1848) Egypt went through an intensive period of reform.  Explain the reforms.  How successful were they?

Explain and analyze the Tanzimat reforms.  What were they designed to achieve? How successful were they?

Both Young Ottoman and Young Turk movements aspired to reform and save the Ottoman Empire.  What were their differences and degree of success?

Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers during WW1.  What was the role of the empire during the Great War and how do you assess its performance?

Part II:

What was the state of reforms in the 19th century Qajar Iran? How do you explain it?

What was the state of Shi'i ulama establishment in Qajar Iran in relation to reforms, the Qajar court and the population at large?

Based on lecturers and course readings, how do you explain Iran's 1906-1909 Constitutional revolution?  Which forces provided the movement's leadership, what were their goals, what were the revolution's causes?

Kemal Ataturk and Reza Shah initiated a number of modernizing reforms in Turkey and Iran.  Compare and contrast the two.  Which one was more successful? Why?

What is Arab Nationalism?  Describe both the Movement's ideological orientation and political platform.  Use your knowledge of both Nasser's Egypt and Ba'ath party of Iraq\Syria to discuss the political aspects of Pan-Arabism.

What are the basic issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict and why is the problem so difficult to resolve? What do you think of the current peace process, can it succeed?

Part III: final exam

How do you explain Iran's 1979 revolution?  What were its causes, describe the forces that participated in it, who provided the movement its leadership, and why was it successful in such a brief period?

How do you explain the revival of Islam as a political force in the Middle East?  What is the movement's agenda and how successful has it been so far?

In the West, Political Islam is depicted as a threat to Western interests.  Based on class lectures and readings, explain political Islam in light of the above observation.  How realistic is this assessment?

Based on lectures and readings, chose three of the following personalities and describe their political thinking:

Khomeini; Seyyid Qotb; Rashid Rida; Al-Afghani, Shari’ati.