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Course Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to

  1. Unpack the different political, social, cultural, religious/philosophical, and economic layers that make up the modern Middle East.
  2. Explain how nationalism, political Islam, socialism, interaction with Europe and the United States, and globalization have shaped the region from 1800 until the present.
  3. Describe how different scholars have approached the Middle East.
  4. Explain how Middle Easterners and Westerners have viewed each other over time and what impact such impressions have had on international and intercultural relations.
  5. Identify and explain the importance of some influential thinkers, politicians, activists, and intellectuals in the modern Middle East, including, but not limited to, Muhammad Abduh, Gamal Abd al-Nasser, David Ben Gurion, Namik Kemal, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ali Shariati, Sayyid Qutb, Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani, Michel Aflaq, Hoda Shaarawi, Saddam Hussein, Theodore Herzl, King Faisal bin Abdulaziz, etc.
  6. Write an argumentative, cogent, 10-page paper by the end of the course that is supported by primary source material.


Since this course will require a substantial amount of technical reading, you must be able to read quickly and thoroughly. Academic reading is not like reading a novel. In academic reading, we do not have to capture all of the fine details that authors provide; instead, we must focus on their main points and look for the evidence that the authors use to support their points.

In addition, you must possess the ability to write argumentatively. This means that you should be able to develop a question in your mind and formulate a method of answering that question. You must know how to provide evidence to back up assertions. This style of writing is not like creative, artistic writing, but is more akin to scientific writing. For instance, “I believe a, and x, y, and z show why a is true.”

Course Materials

These are the required texts for the course:

You will need to purchase Gelvin’s book either online or through the BYU bookstore. Amin’s and Lochman’s books are all available on ebrary. Additionally, the course includes several articles which are available through JSTOR, EBSCO, and other article databases that you can access through the BYU Library’s website.

Supplemental Materials

You will also use these sources:

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Summary: 20 computer-graded quizzes; 2 tries each. 2 written assignments and a final essay; may resubmit each once for a fee.

Lesson Quizzes

After each lesson, you will complete a computer-graded quiz based on the required readings. You have two opportunities to take each assignment, and the higher of the two scores will be the one that counts.

Writing Assignments

For the two written assignments, you will choose a topic from the options provided and write an essay of 750 to 900 words answering the question.

Final Paper

For the final paper, you will write seven double-spaced pages (or 3500 words) on a related topic of your choosing.

You will generate your own research question, send it to me for approval, and, after I approve your topic, build a research paper around that question.

In order to choose your paper topic, look through the chapters of Gelvin and Bunton, identify which region and time period you are interested in, think of a set of questions that interest about that place and period, and develop a clear statement of your research topic.

You will submit your final essay in several sections:

Note: These assignments are part of the overall research paper, and are not graded separately. However, you must turn them all in, and in sequence, before you submit your final paper. You will not be able to submit the next assignment until I have received and sent you feedback on each part of your research paper.

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Summary: 1 proctored, computer-graded final exam. May retake once for a fee.

The final exam consists of matching, multiple-choice, and true/false questions covering all the material from the course. It is closed book and notes, but there is no time limit. You must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

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These items will count toward your course grade:

Lesson Quizzes 1.5% each, 30% total
Writing Assignments 10% each, 20% total
Final Paper 35%
Final Exam 15%

Grading Scale

Your course grade will be determined based on these percentages:

A 100–93%
A− 92–90%
B+ 89–87%
B 86–83%
B− 82–80%
C+ 89–77%
C 76–73%
C− 72–70%
D+ 69–67%
D 66–63%
D− 62–60%
E (fail) 59–0%

Remember, you must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


20 computer-graded quizzes; 2 tries each. 2 written assignments and a final essay; may resubmit each once for a fee.


1 proctored, computer-graded final exam. May retake once for a fee.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Course Duration

Students have 12 months from the time they register to complete this course. One 3-month extension is allowed for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514