Panel Presentation Guidelines


You have spent a good deal of time this term exploring a topic of your own interest and choosing. This is your chance to tell us all what you’ve been doing! For this project you will edit down your research paper into a 3 to 5-minute oral presentation. In particular, I want you to focus on revising your writing for spoken word. For suggestions on this, see:

Your presentation should introduce us to your topic and your argument and should also acquaint us with the sources you used and the difficulties you encountered along the way. In addition to the 3-5-minute presentation, you will have an extra 5 to 7 minutes in which you can show off the media and digital artifacts you have collected. You should explain how you plan to integrate these materials with your written argument in your digital project. This will be a good opportunity for you to get feedback as you start work on the digital revision.



  • Do you present a concise overview of your project and a clear explanation of your argument?
  • Have you made thoughtful edits of your written project for an oral presentation?
  • Do you remain within the set time limit?
  • Have you come prepared with media and presentation materials, which you will use in your digital revision?
  • Do you speak in an engaging style and is your presentation organized in such a way that your arguments make sense to your audience?

Readings for Week 6

For Tuesday:

Kamrava, Chapter 11, “Challenges Facing the Middle East.” (20 pages, on courseweb)

Jack Goldstone, “Understanding the Revolutions of 2011.” (16 pages, on courseweb)

Shadi Hamid, “The Rise of the Islamists.” (11 pages, on courseweb)

For Thursday:

Maryam Jamshidi, “Chapter 6: Civic Entrepreneurship in Technology Startups,” in The Future of the Arab Spring: Civic Entrepreneurship in Politics, Art, and Technology Startups. (14 pages, available from Hillman Library as an e-book: )

Kathy Gilsinan, “The Confused Person’s Guide to the Syrian Civil War.”

MediaTenor and Georgetown University study of Islam in the news. (powerpoint presentation, on courseweb). For summary, see:

Nick Danforth, “Stop Blaming Colonial Borders for the Middle East’s Problems.”

William R. Polk, “Understanding Syria: From Pre-Civil War to Post-Assad.”

Eric Schmitt, “Al Qaeda Turns to Syria, With a Plan to Challenge ISIS.”







Week 2 blog posts

Good work on these posts, everyone. I am looking forward to discussing whether secularism is a precondition for modernity and how this debate intersects with those on orientalism.

As you all prepare your abstracts (due Tuesday by class time on this blog), I wanted to remind you of my office hours from 11-12:30 on Tuesday in 3901 Posvar. I am available to sit down with any of you individually to discuss what you’ve written.



Hi All,

Alex brought up some really important points that we didn’t have a chance to talk about yesterday, but which we will revisit on Tuesday after having read both Little’s “American Orientalism” and the “Ottoman Orientalism” article assigned for Tuesday. This is a very tricky subject, and it is still very much debated (just search YouTube for “Bernard Lewis” if you would like to hear another side of the argument).

If you’re interested, here are a couple blog posts and an article that deal with a 2014 Air France ad campaign. NOTE: these are not reputable news sources, and I do not necessarily endorse the viewpoints of the author. But I do think that this is a good example of how these debates play out in the real world…or at least the internet’s approximation of the real world:


For a harsh critique of Said: 




FBIS & Chicago Citation Guide

A follow-up on our meeting with Christopher and Lois:

I wanted to make sure you all got the link to the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). This was the CIA’s open source service until the early 2000’s. As a reminder, this collection is a selection of foreign news sources translated and sometimes commented on by the CIA’s open source officers. You can get there from here.

I am also posting the Chicago Manual of Style’s quick guide here. We will be doing citations in Chicago for this class. It is the style I know best, and it is the standard for historical writing.


Crash Course

Hi everyone,

Hopefully you have all had a chance to accept my invitation to the blog.

Following up on our discussion in class today, I wanted to suggest some videos to watch if you’re interested in getting some additional background information on the Middle East before Thursday.

These “Crash Course” videos are entertaining, informative and only 10-15 minutes long. If you’d like to know more about the history of Islam and the Middle East, they are a good place to start:


Hello, and welcome to HIST 1763, The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East. This is our course blog; it will serve as our digital discussion space for this term. The main purpose of the blog is as a space for posting weekly reading responses and some projects; however, you should not feel limited to these types of posts only. I encourage you to use this blog as a place to ask questions of me or your classmates and to respond and comment to as many posts as you would like. Find a news story you find pertinent or entertaining? Post it here!

The bare minimum of blog participation is your weekly post of either a reading response or comments to two of your classmates’ reading responses. Reading responses should be more than a simple summary of the reading. We’ve all done the reading; what’s interesting to me is  your reaction to it. Do you agree? Did anything surprise you? Did the assigned reading make you rethink any contemporary issues in the region? As for your comments on the posts of others, feel free to disagree – respectfully. This is a good space for us to begin debates and conversations that we will continue in the classroom.

These posts are part of your overall participation grade, which means you have lots of flexibility to experiment with ideas and think out loud. However, I do expect you to follow grammatical standards, not plagiarize the work of others, and to show good sense and respect for the opinions of others.