Course Offerings


Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization provides students with conceptual skills that will assist them in interpreting current events taking place in what was the core region of Islamic Civilization. Thus the regional focus on the field includes Southwest Asia (roughly South Asia to Egypt), the Eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Caucasus. At the global level of analysis its courses are particularly concerned with how the history, culture, politics and economics of the states and societies of this portion of Eurasia condition the human response to an accelerating impact of global change. Lectures, reading assignments and other course requirements are specifically designed to fit the curriculum of The Fletcher School and do not require a level of knowledge not relevant to the explanation of modern problems.

* This course is required for constitution of the field. ++ Any one of these courses may be used as the required course in the field. + Any one of these courses may be used as the second required course in the field Bracketed courses ( [ ] ) are those not offered during the current academic year.

DHP D260: Southwest Asia: History, Culture, Politics

A survey of Southwest Asian history from the conquest of the Crimea (1783) to modern times. Trade with Asia and Europe, Turko-Muslim empires and culture, Shi’ism and Persia, Great Power competition in Southwest Asia, colonialism, formation of modern states, development, fundamentalism, the end of the Cold War, regional violence, and the role of oil are emphasized. Fall semester. Professor Hess

DHP D263: The Arabs and Their Neighbors Since World War I

With a particular focus on the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Arab world, this course examines the evolution of nation-states in the Middle East from colonial rule to the present. Rise of nationalism and pan-Arabism; ideologies of internal unity and regional tensions; Islam as a political force; radical trends and the search for new alternatives. Fall semester. Professor Fawaz

DHP P201: Comparative Politics

The course will examine the main concepts and arguments in comparative politics and cover debates over such topics as the making of state power and the determinants of state-building and social change; the balance between states, societies and economies; the role of culture, institutions and development in state-building; and the role of external actors and international environment in sociopolitical change. The course relies on a theoretical overview but also draw on historical evidence and case studies. The course will provide students with an understanding of the main ideas and debates in comparative politics and also provide them with an analytical framework for examining global politics. Not offered 2009-2010. Vali Nasr

DHP D204: U.S. Public Diplomacy

This seminar will be a study in depth of the theory and practice of public diplomacy by United States. By means of lectures, readings and a term paper, students will explore issues of current relevance, including: how public diplomacy deals with foreign criticism of the United States; terrorism and radicalism issues; parallel activities by State and DOD; the role of the private sector; and creative uses of modern information technology. Special attention will be given to understanding the challenges facing public diplomacy professionals doing their jobs at embassies abroad. Fall semester. William A. Rugh

DHP D264: History of the Turks and the International Politics of Eurasia

An historical survey of the Turks designed to emphasize the geopolitical importance of the Eurasian steppe. Topics examined are: formation of Eurasian steppe empires; the era of Turko-Mongol invasions; decline of classical Islamic civilization; conversion of the Turks to Islam; the rise of Turko-Muslim empires; decline of Byzantium and the conquests of the Ottoman empire; expansion of Russia and the absorption of Turko-Muslims modernization movements among the Turks; the emergence of Modern Turkey; Soviets and Central Asian society; the collapse of the USSR and the emergence of modern nationalism in Central Asia; China and the New Great Game. Spring semester. Professor Hess

DHP D265: The Politics and Culture of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

The course establishes a basis for understanding modern political and cultural change in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. A major effort will be made to discover the causes and identify the consequences of the Iranian and Afghan revolutions. The modern political culture of each of the three states of this Turko-Persian region will be examined and compared with special attention to the disintegrative role of ethnic violence. Other topics studied are: modern development, fundamentalism, the role of Islamic law, education, the place of women in society, transfer of modern technology, ethnic politics, regional violence, and actions of Great Powers. Spring semester. Professor Hess

DHP D267: The Globalization of Central Asia and the Caucasus

The course establishes a basis for understanding modern political and cultural changes in Central Asia and the Caucasus through the application of concepts derived from an understanding of the process of Global change. A major effort will be made to describe how the role of external factors in combination with internal conditions framed the problems new leaders had to confront when the Soviet Union collapsed. Special attention will be devoted to the place of ethnic and sectarian violence. Other topics studied are: economic development, transfer of modern technology and its environmental impact, ethnic politics, fundamentalism as a response to rapid change, politics of oil and the new ‘Great Game’ in Central Asia. Fall semester. Professor Hess

DHP P260: Islam and the West

Going beyond the simplistic notion of a great civilizational divide, this course lends historical depth and comparative context to the currently vexed relationship between Islam and the West. It puts both categories ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’ under the spotlight of searching analysis. After providing some essential background, the course concentrates on the colonial and post-colonial encounter between Muslim and Western societies and polities. It does so with particular but not exclusive reference to the South Asian subcontinent. Organized along both historical and thematic lines, the course studies both the domains of culture and politics, thought and practice, in their interaction in order to elucidate the aspects of dialogue, tension and confrontation between the worlds of Islam and the West. Fall semester. Adjunct Professor Jalal

DHP P262: Contemporary South Asia

Organized along both historical and thematic lines, the course surveys politics, economy, and society in late colonial India and offers a comparative historical analysis of state structures and political processes in post-colonial South Asia, particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Among the themes considered are the reasons for the partition of 1947, the nature of the colonial legacy, the origins of democracy and military authoritarianism, the history of development, the shifting balance between central and regional power, the ongoing clash between so-called secular and religiously informed ideologies and the impact on inter-state relations in the subcontinent. Not offered 2009-2010. Ayesha Jalal

DHP P263: Islam and Politics: Religion and Power in World Affairs

Islamic ideas and actors play an important part in global politics today. Their impact on political change, international security, and economic and social trends has shaped international relations in recent years. The rise of Islamist activism has been central to this development. This course will examine the role that Islamism plays in politics in Muslim countries; trace the origins and development of its formative ideas; introduce the key forces that represent it; and analyze its development and conception of politics and international relations. The course is interested in providing students with a firm understanding of what Islamism is but how to analyze it in the context of global politics. Fall semester. Vali Nasr

DHP P264: Iran in Global Politics

This course provides a basis for understanding the political, economic and security dimensions of Iran’s role in World politics. It was a frontline state during the cold war before it became the home to a major Islamic revolution that changed the face of the Muslim world. Iran’s role in international politics since then has an important determinant of stability in the Middle East. As the only Islamic state produced by an Islamist revolution Iran experienced a unique path to development, experimenting with political, religious and economic reforms, which is consequential for the future of the Muslim world. This course will seek to explain the making of Iran’s politics and provide students with the basis to analyze its role in global politics. Not offered 2009-2010. Vali Nasr

EIB B284: Petroleum in the Global Economy

This course covers the structure of the international petroleum industry and its role in the international economy. The first half will address the technical, commercial, legal, economic and political basis of the industry and the business models for key segments, including exploration and production, refining, marketing and natural gas. Drawing on this knowledge base, the second half will consider key issues of the petroleum industry, including the resource base, pricing, environmental impacts, alternative energy sources and geopolitics. Open to students who have basic Excel skills and have completed EIB E200, EIB E201, EIB B200 or equivalent. Fall semester. Bruce Everett

EIB B227: Islamic Banking and Finance

The course is a comprehensive introduction to Islamic banking and finance. In addition to providing religious background, the course discusses the political and economic context of the creation and evolution of Islamic institutions. The course also focuses on the underlying principles of Islamic finance and explains how Islamic products (murabaha, mudaraba, musharaka, ijara, sukuk, takaful, Islamic mutual funds and derivatives, etc.) work. The final part of the course will discuss Islamic finance in the context of the “war on terror” and the recent global financial meltdown. Spring semester. Ibrahim Warde