Location of Cultures in the Modern Middle East

Location of Cultures in the Modern Middle East: Newspapers, Coffee-shops, Homes and Schools

Spring Semester
Dr. Yoni Furas


Short description:

Broadly speaking, cultural history offers a prism that looks beyond, challenges or compliments historiographies that remain confined to great men and dramatic events. Instead, cultural history is interested in studying the mundane daily practices of communities and ordinary women and men as a valid reflection of a specific period. The course focuses on the social history of the modern Arab Middle East (1850-1950), through the examination of cultural production and consumption. We shall discuss the role of political and economic change in inventing, re-shaping and challenging traditions and cultural practices. Through four cultural sites: newspapers, coffee-shops, homes and schools, our discussions would delineate the emergence and evolution process of a modern public sphere and its dialogue with or influence on questions of identity, class, ethnic and religious divisions. The readings for the course include primary and secondary sources that highlight the links between the personal and private and the collective and public.  



Mid Term: Hand-in essay, 1 page (10%).

Final requirement: Hand-in paper, 6-10 pages (70%).

Attendance and participation (20%)

Students are required to carefully read the reading materials and come prepared to class with either (preferably) a hard copy or a digital copy of the text. Participation in our discussion, based on the reading material is part of the final grade.



Attendance is mandatory. Students are permitted a maximum of three unexcused absences without penalty. Any additional absences will affect the final grade and may result in failure of the course.


Academic conduct:

Plagiarism is taken extremely seriously. Any instance of academic misconduct which includes: submitting someone else’s work as your own; failure to accurately cite sources; taking words from another source without using quotation marks; submission of work for which you have previously received credit; working in a group for individual assignments; using unauthorized materials in an exam and sharing your work with other students, will result in failure of the assignment and will likely lead to further disciplinary measures.

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