Monday, May 2, 2016

Reflection 7: Final Reflection Due on May 5

In your final reflection for the course, please read your very first reflection and think about the entire semester and what you have learned. Did the course fulfill your expectations, i.e. did you achieve what you wanted? Do you have a better understanding of the Arab World? Explain. Elaborate! This is not an evaluation of the course and the professor. I am more interested in your subjective opinion about how much you learned and what you wish we would have covered more or less. Your reflection should be honest, plain and to the point. Keep in mind that I do respect and value all opinions expressed in the reflections. Due on Thursday, May 5 by midnight.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Weekly Report 8: "Arab-American Writers" Due in Thursday, April 28 before 9:40 a.m.

Please find information about an Arab-American writer/poet and write a short biography of this person. Due on Thursday, April 28 by 9:40 am.

Weekly Report 7: "Arab-Americans" or "Muslim-Americans." Due on April 24

Weekly Report 7: "Arab-Americans" or "Muslim-Americans." Please find information about an Arab-American writer/poet/actor/ athlete/politician/… and write a short biography of this person. Due on Sunday, April 24 by 9 pm.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Weekly Report 6: "Alaa Al Aswany" or "Egyptian Literature" Due on April 10

Weekly Report 7: "Alaa Al Aswany and his role in the revolution in Egypt." or "Egyptian Literature Today - Who is who?" Find any article on-line about one of the 2 topics and write a report on that. Due on Sunday, April 10 by midnight.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Weekly Report 5: "The USA and the Arab World" Due on April 4

Weekly Report 5: "The USA and the Arab World" Find a recent article in any newspaper about the US involvement in the Arab World (politically, militarily, culturally, socially, whatever area is fine). The article must be from the last 14 days, March 20-April 3. Due on Monday, April 4 by midnight.

Reflection 5: Israel/Palestine & Fieldtrip to Washington, DC Due on April 3

Reflection 5 Consider the materials we have read about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, discussions we had in class and the lectures you heard by Professor Zaru and in the Palestine Center:  What do you think would be a just, durable and good solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem? Make sure that you explain what you think. Reflection is due by Sunday, April 3 by midnight. 

Weekly Report 4: "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" Due on March 27

Weekly Report 4: "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" Find a recent article (in a newspaper from Israel or Palestine) about the latest developments in the conflict. " Due on Sunday, March 27 by midnight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reflection 4: Guest Lecture by Dr. Boukhars. Due on March 24

Reflection 4 is about the lecture of Dr. Boukhars. Please consider what Dr. Boukhars talked about, especially how ISIS was created and what are the reasons for its rise. How did his lecture inform you about radical Islamist groups such ISIS and their ideology and theology? What did he say about the Sunni Shia divide? What political actors did he mention and what is their roles in the crisis in the Middle East and the Arab World? In the second part of his talk, he talked about the profile of the terrorists who committed the attacks in Paris and Brussels. Please summarize some of the 7-8 points he mentioned.   Due on Thursday, March 24 by midnight.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekly Report 3: Musicians of the Arab World. - Due on Feb. 28

Find information about  Musicians of the Arab World." Write a report on any famous musician (dead or alive) from any country in the Arab world.  Due on Sunday, February 28, by midnight.

Reflection 3: Concert or Drumming Session with Massamba Diop. Due on March 3

Reflection 3 is either about the evening concert by Massamba Diop ( or about the drumming session/ lecture by Jon Seligman and Massamba Diop.  How did you like the drumming session with Jon Seligman?

Elaborate on what you write and try to incorporate what you have read into your reaction.
You may want to incorporate what you have read about "Music of the Middle East" into your reflection. The article is available on Bb under Course Documents. Reflection is
due on Thursday, March 3 by midnight


Friday, February 19, 2016

Paper #1 Due on Tuesady, Feb. 23

Paper #1: Choose any specific topic related to Islam and write a paper discussing this topic, i.e. the story of Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’ān, Islamic Spain, Women in Islam, Jihad in Islam, Sunnis and Shiites in Islam, Sharia or Islamic Law, the 4 Caliphs, Mary and Jesus in the Qur’an, etc. Due on Tuesday, February 23.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reflection 2: Guest Lecture by Dr. Deveny Due on February 18

Reflection 2 is about Al-Andalus, the Islamic legacy of Spain and Dr. Deveny’s guest lecture. 
Here are some questions about the lecture by Dr. Deveny and also the readings that are due today. These questions should help you write your reflection and are meant as a guide for the midterm exam. Make sure that you spell Arabic, Spanish and other names and words correctly. You should use the list of terms that Dr. Deveny distributed in class. Just keep in mind that all of this will be part of the midterm. Reflection is due On Thursday, Feb. 18, by midnight.
  • Who ruled Spain prior to 711? What groups did live there?
  • Why should we study about Cordoba?
  • What does make Spain interesting for us?
  • Who and when did the conquest of Spain begin? Name the 2 leaders and discuss their heritage?
  • Why were the Muslim armies so successful in conquering Spain?
  • What is the Arabic name for Andalusia and where did it come from? What does it mean?
  • When, at which battle and by whom were the Muslim armies stopped?
  • Name at least 3 Spanish cities that played an important role during the Muslim rule?
  • Which architectural and historic monuments do you associate with these three cities?
  • What are the characteristics of Arabic-Muslim architecture found in mosques and palaces in Spain?
  • Who were the Mozarabs?
  • How many and what kind of books were the library in Cordoba in the 9th and 10th centuries? Why is this an amazing fact?
  • In what areas did the Arabic language influence the Spanish language and culture? Give concrete examples!
 Due on Thursday, February 18 by midnight.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Report 2: “Arab and Muslim contributiont Due on Feb. 14

Find an article on-line (preferably from a newspaper from the Arab or Muslim world) about  “Arab and Muslim contributions to world civilization.” Find information on a Muslim or Arab Noble Prize winner or someone who has invented something or had a huge impact on world civilization and write a short report on this person and what her/his contributions. Due on Sunday, February 14, by midnight.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Weekly Report 1: "Syria"

You can submit here your weekly summary of one article you have read in one of the newspapers or magazines listed on the syllabus. Keep in mind that you ought to use a different newspaper or magazine each week. Make sure you include the Internet address (URL) of the article you have read.

The topic for this week's weekly report is "Syria." What the heck is going on there? The latest news." Find an article on any non-American newspaper (from the Middle East or Europe) about the latest developments, especially about the peace talks in Switzerland that are goun on right now, and write a summary of that article and post it on your Blog. Make sure to add the URL of the source you have used. I'll ask 2 students (randomly) to report on what they have read.

This weekly report is due on Sunday, February 7 by Midnight.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Reflection 1: Why did you choose to take this class?

Your first blog entry is a personal (subjective) reflection about the course and what you know about the Arab World. Please be as honest and direct as you can. I appreciate and respect every opinion, no matter whether I agree with you or not. Here are some questions, I want you to reflect about:

  • Why did you choose to take this class?
  • What are your expectations? What do you hope to get out of this class?
  • Have you ever been to the Arab World? When? What did you do?
  • What were your views about the Arab and Muslim world prior to 9/11?
  • Did the events of September 11 change your views about Arabs and Muslims? How and why?
Image Source:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Welcome to the Arab World - اهلا وسهلا في العالم العربي

Since 9/11 many people have lamented the lack of knowledge students and other people have about the outside world, especially the Middle East, the Arab and Muslim cultures. In ancient times, the present Middle East was the “cradle of civilization” and the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What is the Arab World today? It is an unknown and misunderstood world in turmoil.
This course will offer an introduction to and an overview of the history, culture, politics and current events of the Arab world in the Middle East and Africa. The students will also be introduced to the Arab-American community and its contribution to culture and politics in the United States. One integral part of the class is a weekly discussion of current events in the Arab World, i.e. the situation in Iraq, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen, US policy toward the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the US war on terrorism.
Required Books:

  1. Al Aswany, Alaa. The Yacoubian Building. New York, London, ... Harper. 2002
  2. Margaret K. Nydell. Understanding Arabs. A Guide for Modern Times. Boston: Intercultural Press. 4th Edition 2006
  3. Salih, Tayeb. The Doum Tree of Wad Hamid. On Blackboard under Course Documents
  4. Zepp, Ira. A Muslim Primer. 2nd edition. Fayettevile: University of Arkansas Press, 2000
  5. Films and other readings can be found on Blackboard under Course Documents or are on reserve at the library.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Weekly Report 4: “Musicians of the Arab World" Due on Feb. 28

Weekly Report 4: Musicians of the Arab World." Write a report on any famous musician (dead or alive) from any country from the Arab world.  Due on Sunday, February 28 by 9 pm.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Evening Concert on Wednesday by Massamba Diop

Evening Concert on Wednesday by Massamba Diop, Forum, 7 pm. ALL MUST ATTEND THIS CONCERT.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Reflection 6: Lecture by Dr. Leahy Due on April 7

Reflection 6 What issues did Dr. Leahy cover in her lecture?  How does that relate to the relationship of the USA to the Arab World/ Middle East? Do you agree or disagree with her characterization. Why? Why not? Explain and elaborate! Due on Thursday, April 7, by midnight  
The USA and the Arab World: 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Paper #2: The Yacoubian Building. Due on April 21

Paper #2: Discuss one of the issues presented in the book The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany, e.g. How does the author portray Egyptian society in the 21st Society? Why do you think that the book was controversial in Egypt and the Arab World? What is the role of sexual desires and homosexuality in the novel? What are the roots of radical Muslim movements as portrayed in the book? Gender relations in the book; class differences; role of women in Egyptian society; police brutality and corruption in Egyptian society, etc. Paper is due in class on Thursday, April 21.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Reflection 7: Lecture by Ms. Andrea Shalal. Due on April 28

Reflection 7 What and whom did Andrea Shalal talk about? Give specific examples of some of the writers she talked about. How did her talk change your attitudes towards and enrich your knowledge of Arab-Americans? Which writer did you like the most and why? Due on Thursday, April 28 by midnight.