Upcoming programs

  • Winter Session 2020 online-course rosters will be available in late-September.
  • Summer College 2020 course rosters will be available in December.

Study the past, understand the present, prepare for the future

The modern Middle East has long been a place of political upheaval, shifting alliances, sectarian violence, and competing economic interests. With the far-reaching implications of continued instability in this region, it is critical for us to understand the sources—and the outcomes—of these continuing struggles.

In this timely course, taught by Ross Brann, the acclaimed M. R. Konvitz Professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies at Cornell, you'll examine the modern history and politics of this important region, beginning with the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century and concluding with Russian and Iranian involvement in the Syrian civil war and tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Through discussions, readings, and films, you'll map the modern Middle East and learn about its peoples, land, and resources (including oil), its rich cultural heritage, and its patterns of daily life. You'll also explore the region's history of social and religious reform and the dramatic and tragic effects of climate change.

You'll look at challenges of self-rule; discuss the causes and consequences of regional wars, failed peace accords, and 9/11; and speculate on the shape of things to come.