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HIST 261 The Middle East in the Islamic Era • 5 Cr.


Examines the political, social, and cultural history of the Middle East since the 7th century. Topics include the development of Islam, the rise and decline of Islamic empires, and the impact of modernization, the Arab-Israeli confrontation, and Islamic fundamentalism. Same as INTST 261. Either HIST 261 or INTST 261 may be taken for credit, not both. May be used as a social science or humanities credit, not both, at BC.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Through written essays and verbal class discussion, successful students will analyze relevant causes and effects in addressing such questions as:
    • In what environment did Islam take shape?
    • What are its central teachings?
    • After the incredible series of conquests that took them from India to Spain, how did the early Muslims adapt form simple Arabian political arrangements to the vast needs of World empire?
    • What elements made up the intellectual flowering of the “classical Age of Islam”?
    • What factors led to the rise of Islamic so-called “Gunpowder Empires”?
    • What led to their decline?
    • How did Muslims try to cope with intrusions by Western military and economic power since the early 19th century?
    • To what degree could they adapt Western ways to build national power?
    • What has the era of nation-state, international rivalries, and global communication meant for Muslim Peoples?
    • What do issues such as Palestine Islamic fundamentalism, secularism, and feminism mean for Muslims today?
    • What led to various confrontations and negotiations over the Palestine issues?
  • Successful students will present accurate timelines in written narrative forms (in written and oral analysis), such as exams or extended essays (including oral discussion, tests, and papers). They will be able to compare the timing of such events and developments as
    • The explosive origins and growth of Islam
    • Prominent leaders and institutions of the caliphates
    • Political disintegration and cultural flowering in the classical age of Islam;
    • The new Islamic empires of the 16th century;
    • The events of Western pressure
    • The establishment of Israel and repeated confrontations with it
    • The rise of Islamic fundamentalism.
  • Successful students will evaluate evidence and construct cogent, logical arguments in response to questions of both interpretation and content on such items as those listed above, thereby demonstrating the use of evidences in historical study. They will display this ability on written exams, assigned essays, and in class discussions.
  • Successful students will investigate primary source materials such as religious writing, eyewitness narratives and speeches learning to assess them in historical context and bringing analysis of the sources to bear in such issues as those listed above.
  • Successful student will investigate primary source materials such as religious writings, eyewitness narratives, and speeches, learning to assess them in historical context and bringing analysis of the sources to bear in such issues as those listed above.
  • Successful student will recognize historiographical debates and problems such as
    • The impact of Western dominance on the peoples of the Middle East
    • The debate over modernization
    • The results of the Cold War
    • Reasons for responses such as Arab nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism.

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Bellevue College
3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007-6484 U.S.A.
Work: (425) 564-1000