Digital Revision link


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.”







Blog week 5

The first thing that struck me when reading the article “From Ashes to Ashes” was the authors early explanation for why the political climate in Turkey shifted in the early 2000’s. The author states that Turkish votes saw a vote for the AKP party as a means to express, “…dissatisfaction with Turkish politics and the Turkish economy….” I thought that this was not unlike the public sentiment in the 2016 US election cycle – or honestly, in any instance of when a political “tide” changes. As always, Americans are “unhappy” with American politics and the economy, so Americans are supporting parties/individuals who promise them answers and improvements (even if they are just (small) hand-wavy improvements). This is not a phenomena which is new to the study of history, and it is not specific to the US – Turkey also experiences the same cycle of political “seasons.”

In the case of Turkey’s secular government, changes in leading party made dramatic changes to their secular state. The beginnings of this change, as seen in the Welfare party that came to power in the 90’s, were not necessarily bad based on the motivations of the movement. Welfare actually focused on some pretty important secularist issues, like religious freedom and ethnic minority rights. However it feels like the modern day AKP has no interest in upholding these things, or Turkey’s secularist past. Erdogon, the modern day leader of the party, was once quoted saying, “You will be either Muslim or a Secularist. These two cannot exist together.” It almost seems as though Turkey is moving away from being a Turkic civilization and becoming part of the Islamic civilizations. This was the beginning of the Islamic-governing system that has taken hold in Turkey. And it is interesting to read about all of these analyses as to how the political party leaders succeeded in getting things their way, but at the end of the day, Turkey’s elections were fair. Although the multi-party system probably leads to non-majority rule, the winner is still elected democratically and therefore represents something that the people of Turkey want in politics. The sentiment doesn’t come from no where.

As “The Clash of Civilizations” states regarding religious differences, “They will not soon disappear. They are far more fundamental than differences among political ideologies and political regimes. Differences do not necessarily mean conflict, and conflict does not necessarily mean violence. Over the centuries, however, differences among civilizations have generated the most prolonged and the most violent conflicts.” The author analyzes the future of conflict between “civilizations.” One level of these conflicts will be based in asserting the political and religious ideologies of “us” onto “them.”