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Islam, The Middle East, and The West

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This course will introduce the student to the history of the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the twenty-first century. The course will emphasize the encounters and exchanges between the Islamic world and the West. By the end of the course, the student will understand how Islam became a sophisticated and far-reaching civilization and how conflicts with the West shaped the development of the Middle East from the medieval period to the present day. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: identify and describe the nature of pre-Islamic society, culture, and religion. They will also be able to describe the subsequent rise of the prophet Muhammad and his monotheistic religion, Islam; identify and describe the elements of Islamic law, religious texts and practices, and belief systems; identify and describe the rise of the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties in the Middle East. Students will also be able to compare and contrast the two empires; identify and describe the emergence of the Umayyad dynasty in Spain. Students will also be able to analyze the conflicts between Muslims and Christians on the Iberian Peninsula; identify and describe the Crusades. They will be able to describe both Muslim and Christian perceptions of the holy wars; identify and describe the impact of the Mongol invasions on the Middle East; compare and contrast the Ottoman and Safavid empires; analyze the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the beginning of European imperialism/domination of the Middle East in the 1800s; identify and describe how and why European powers garnered increased spheres of influence after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the end of World War I; analyze and describe the rise of resistance and independence movements in the Middle East; identify and describe the rise of Islamic nationalism and the emergence of violent anti-Western sentiment; analyze (and synthesize) the relationship between the Middle East and the West between the 600s and the present day; analyze and interpret primary source documents that elucidate the exchanges and conflicts between the Islamic world and the West over time. (History 351)
Community College / Lower Division
Material Type:
Assessment, Full Course, Lecture, Lecture Notes, Reading, Syllabus, Textbook
The Saylor Foundation
Date Added:
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
Media Format:
Audio, Downloadable docs, Graphics/Photos, Text/HTML, Video




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