Week 1 turned out to be quite light on the reading. See below for the readings I did get to look at, my thoughts on/overview of them, and future posting possibilities.

Middle East in the Twentieth Century

There are three assigned texts for this class: William Cleveland’s A History of the Modern Middle East, James Gelvin’s The Modern Middle East: A History, and Charles D. Smith’s Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. My plan is to provide a summary of the readings and class lectures. Week 1 focused on the Middle East in the 19th century, with Turkey, the Arab Middle East, and parts of North Africa under Ottoman rule, and Iran under Qajar rule. We discussed the development of notions of modernity over the course of the 19th century in Europe and the Middle East, showing the ways in which the same modernization projects happening in Europe were occurring in the Ottoman Empire and Qajar Iran concurrently. We also looked at the lead up to World War I, which we’ll be discussing more fully Week 2.

I’m also going to (*fingers crossed*) use this space to keep you (and myself) up-to-date on my readings for the final assignment I’m undertaking for this class. I’ve decided to conduct a historiography* of sorts, using the opportunity of a class assignment to begin to situate myself in the literature I will be using for my dissertation project, as well as for my Middle East research paper next quarter (our program requires two two-quarter research series – this year I’ve been in the U.S. Research seminar; next year I’ll take the Middle East). So, I’ll be looking at memoirs, the vast majority written by women, from the Mandate period (1920-1945) in Syria and Lebanon. I’m excited to get this project going and have two on my list so far: Anbara Salam’s Memoirs of an Early Arab Feminist and Wadad Makdisi Cortas’ A World I Loved. More to come on this.

Scholarship of the Modern Middle East, Post-Colonial

No assignments for Week 1. Stay tuned next week for my summary of Stephen Hemsley Longrigg’s Syria and Lebanon under French Mandate.

The French Revolution, 1789-1815

Week 1 in this class provided an introduction to some of the social conflicts present in pre-revolutionary France. Along these lines, the assigned readings focused on providing a general historical background supported by a variety of primary sources from Laura Mason and Tracey Rizzo’s The French Revolution: A Document Collection, as well as some online sources.

Though this is the class that I’m a grader for, and not one that I’m taking, I’m going to include the readings for it in my weekly roll call. I think this class will provide good fodder for a discussion of pedagogy and pedagogical techniques related to readings, course content, and class structure.


*Historiography: the study of the study of history; or, how historians have examined a particular event, period, or person, with a particular focus on how that has changed over time, methods that have been employed in historical analysis, and the theoretical framework that has been used in that study


If you’re on the quarter system, how was your first week? If not, how’s the mid-semester point? Anyone on spring break?