History 275A – Approaches to Ancient & Islamic Near East History

This course surveys the important texts written on the history of the Ancient Near East and the Islamic world. Each week there will be a discussion of important authors and their contribution to the study of the Near East from Antiquity to the present. Students will be introduced to the historiographical and methodological changes that have taken place in the past century in the Near East/Middle East Studies discipline in Europe and the United States. You are required to have read the assigned texts and be prepared to have an in-depth discussion about the material and write a response to these discussions. The final paper will be based on the historiographical approach to a topic of your choice in consultation with the professor.

Week 1: Orientalism and the Near East

  • E. Said, Orientalism, Vintage, 1979.
  • R. Irwin, Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents, Overlook TP, 2008.

Week 2: The Mesopotamian World

  • Van De Mieroop, Marc. A History of the Ancient Near East, 3000–323 B.C. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2004.
  • Lynn Rainville, “Locating the “People Without History” in Histories of the Ancient Near East” Reviews in Anthropology, Volume 35 Issue 1 2006, pp. 37-59.
  • Z. Bahrani, “Mesopotamia: Imaginative geography and a world past,” http://books.google.com/books?id=xnKeGWr7ATcC&dq=Archaeology+Under+Fire&printsec=frontco ver&source=bl&ots=xYlhQavp5l&sig=1yX0a_TbH44yxBKG3lZrgHIZF08&hl=en&ei=Qb­ySqPnHJKcswPAicHRDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false
  • D. Potts, “The Gulf Arab states and their archaeology,” http://books.google.com/books?id=xnKeGWr7ATcC&dq=Archaeology+Under+Fire&printsec=frontco ver&source=bl&ots=xYlhQavp5l&sig=1yX0a_TbH44yxBKG3lZrgHIZF08&hl=en&ei=Qb­ySqPnHJKcswPAicHRDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Week 3: Pre-Islamic Arabs Hoyland, Robert G., Arabia and the Arabs: from the Bronze Age to the coming of Islam, Routledge, 2001.

Week 4: Persians Lindsay Allen, Persian Empire, Chicago Univ. Press, 2005. Bruce Lincoln, Religion, Empire, and Torture: The Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Postscript on Abu Ghraib, Chicago University Press, 2007.

Week 4: Alexander, Hellenomania and Colonial Mentality

  • A. Kuhrt & S. Sherwin-White, From Samarkand to Sardis: a new Approach to the Seleucid Empire, UCP, 1989.
  • Stanley M. Burstein, The Hellenistic Period in World History, American Historical Association Pamphlet, http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/BURSTEIN.HTM
  • Ernst Badian, The Alexander Romance, The New York Review of Books, Sept. 1974, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/9399

Week 5: Islam & Conquest of the Near East

  • Hugh Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changedthe World We Live In, Da Capo Press, 2008.

Week 6: Approaching Islam: Early Phase

  • HAR Gibb, Mohammadanism, An Historical Survey, Oxford Univ. Press, 1961.
  • A. Hourani, A History of the Arab People, Harvard Univ. Press, 1991.

Week 7: Islamic History: Early phase

  • Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, vol. I
  • Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, vol. II

Week 8: Islamic History: Middle phase

Week 9: Islamic History: Advanced phase

  • I. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, Cambridge, 2002.
  • J.P. Berkey, The Formation of Islam, Cambridge, 2003.

Week 10: Islamic History in the context of World History

  • M.G. Hodgson, Rethinking World History, Cambridge, 1993.
  • History 275A – Approaches to Ancient & Islamic Near East History image

    Tuesdays 4:00-6:50

    Place: HH 108