Henry Chambers

Office: Tahoe Hall, 3080, Department of History.

Office Hours:TTh 9-10: AM

Tues/Thurs 7:30-8:45 AM in Library 53

Broadcast on Cable Channel 71






History 143B: Modern Middle East: 1800-2000

California State University, Sacramento

Fall, 2002




The course examines major Middle East conflicts in their historic contexts. Conflicts often seen as contemporary political disputes have deep historic roots. In this region created from the remains of the Ottoman Empire, states and societies still struggle to create an identity as well as free themselves from the colonial Western domination that followed World War II. At the same time they cope with the necessity of adapting to the demands of the modern world. The course selects several topics and countries to provide a focus for understanding the historical forces that drive the present states in the region.

Topics include: the Late Ottoman Empire's struggle to resist Western domination, Turkey's drive to establish a secular ethnically Turkish state and its accompanying ethnic atrocities, the Arab experience with colonialism and imperialism, the rise of Arab nationalism and Zionism, Persia's role as an outsider, but Islamic state, state and nation building, Islam and its several forms, Islamic renewal and its political effects, modernism and traditional societies, familial life and the Islamic/Arab woman, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Palestinian-Israeli struggle over Palestine.

The course will pay special attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the role of the United states in the region. Thus students will read a general history of the region, a specialized historical account of the Arab-Israeli conflict, an edited collection of essays on the diverse origins of the conflict that reflects contemporary historiography, and an historical monograph on the region.

Learning Objectives

  • A knowledge of the regional variety of cultures and histories
  • An understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a complex struggle for the same land based on the most recent historical scholarship.
  • An understanding of the forces of Western colonialism/imperialism, Arab nationalism, Zionism, and political Islam on the region.
  • Students will analyze a monograph on a topic that intrigue them and write a five page paper on it..
  • Students will hone their composition abilities.


The following assignments are due on the dates indicated.



Due Date

Midterm Essay/Short Answer Exam


October 22

Take Home Essay at Course Conclusion


December 15

Paper I on Selected Monograph


October 8

Paper II: Topic from Ilan Pappe's Readings: The Israel/Palestine Question


November 19

Online Quizzes



Grade Scale













Reading Materials


1. William Cleveland. HISTORY OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST. 2d edition. Westview Press, 2000.

2. Charles D. Smith. PALESTINE AND THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT. 4th edition.. Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2000.

3. Ilan Pappe. THE ISRAEL/PALESTINE QUESTION. Routledge, 1999.

4. A monograph selected from a course list or approved by the instructor. Available in the CSUS Bookstore will be: Mokrane Guezzou, RETURN OF THE PHARAOH; Syed Qutub, MILESTONES; John Esposito, UNHOLY WAR. TERROR IN THE NAME OF ISLAM, Oxford, 2002; and E. Rogan and Avi Schlaim (editors), THE WAR FOR PALESTINE, Cambridge, 2001.


Weekly Topics and Readings:

Traditional Cultures and Islamic Foundations

  • Introduction to Middle Eastern History
  • Mohammed as a Religious Reformer
  • Sunni/Shia Religious, Social, and Political Divisions.

Readings: Cleveland, MODERN MIDDLE EAST, pp 1-39; Smith, PALESTINE, pp. 1-17.

Sept. 3-5.

Arab Middle East Under Ottoman Rule

  • Decay and Reform in the Ottoman Empire
  • Mohammed Ali and Modernist Reform in Egypt
  • Economic Collapse, Cotton, and Peasants

Readings: Cleveland, 40-101; Smith, 8-16.

Sept. 10-12.

Western Imperialism, Arab Nationalism, and Zionism

  • French and British Incursions into the Middle East
  • Suez and British Control of Egypt
  • Syrian Arab Renewal
  • Origins of Zionism

Readings: Cleveland, 102-145; Smith, 25-57.

Pappe. pp. 1-48.

Quiz # 1 online Sept. 19.


WWI and the Dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire

  • Modernism and the New States
  • Western Powers Creation of New States: the Mandates
  • Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate

Readings: Cleveland, 146-171; Smith, 58-108.


Paper I on 19th and Early 20th Century Middle East Monograph


Oct. 8.
Turkey and Iran: Building Secular States
  • Attaturk and the Conflict between Islam and Secularism
  • Religious and Ethnic Minorities: Greek, Armenian, and Kurd
  • Turkey's Tortuous Path to a Turkish State in Post WWII.
  • Reza Shah and the Establishment of Modern Iran

Readings: Cleveland, 172-189, 267-292.


Oct. 1-3.

Arab Struggle for Independence

  • Egypt, Iraq, and Transjordan to 1945
  • British Colonial Imperialism in Egypt
  • Iraq and the British Mandate
  • What is an Iraqi?
  • Transjordan and British Hegemony in the Middle East


Readings: Cleveland, 190-210

Quiz #2 online - Oct. 10.


Arab Struggle for Independence to 45

  • Syria, Pan Arabism, and the French Mandate
  • Syria's Religious Minorities: Alawite, Shia, Orthodox, Jew
  • Lebanon: A Confessional State Under French Domination
  • Ibn Saud and the Conquest of Arabia: Tribal Rule or Modern State


Readings: Cleveland, 212-231. Oct.15-17.

Midterm Exam


Oct. 22.

Mandate Palestine

  • British Support of Zionism
  • Zionist-Arab Political Structures
  • Zionist Settlements
  • Arab Revolt of 1936
  • British White Papers
  • British WWII Middle East Policies


Readings: Cleveland, 233-266; Smith, 109-166.

Pappe, Part II, pp. 53-95, 97-160.

Quiz #3 - October 29

Oct 24-29.

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War and After

  • World War II and the Holocaust
  • David Ben Gurion and the Yishuv
  • Truman and Recognition of Israel: American Policy Divided.
  • Jewish and Arab Military Preparedness
  • Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Catastrophe
  • Israeli Revisionist Historiography


Readings: Smith, 167-222.

Pappe, 169-220.

Quiz #4 - November 5.

Oct 31-Nov 5.

Nasser and Pan Arabism

  • Border Wars and Ben Gurion's Aggressive Retaliation
  • 1952 Free Officer Coup in Egypt
  • Socialism and Pan Arabism
  • Syed Qutub and the Muslim Brotherhood
  • Aswan, 56 Suez War, and Nasser's Ascendancy



Readings: Cleveland, 293-334; Smith, 223-277.


Nov. 7-12

Paper II on Ilan Pappe Text


Assigned topics.

November 19

The 1967 War and the Radicalizaation of Arab Politics

  • A Watershed Event for Israel and Arab Regimes
  • Resolution 242" Land for Peace?
  • Rise of the PLO: Terrorism or National Struggle?
  • Israeli Settlements
  • Sadat and the 73 War

Readings: Cleveland, 336-362; Smith, 278-300.

Pappe, 221-243.


Nov. 14-19.

War and the Search for Peace: Lebanon and the West Bank

  • Likud Israeli Politics
  • Jerusalem and Settlement Policies
  • United States as Israeli Patron
  • 1978 Camp David Accords
  • 1982 Invasion of Lebanon and the Israeli Moral Crisis.

Readings: Cleveland, 363-384; Smith, 301-405.

Quiz #5 November 21

Nov. 21-26.

Thanksgiving Holiday



Nov. 28.

Secularism and Islam in the Arab World

  • Consolidation of Authoritarian Rule In Syria and Iraq: Baathism
  • Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States: Oil and Traditional Monarchies
  • Hamas and Political Islam.


Readings: Cleveland, 385-457.

Quiz #6. Dec. 5.

Dec. 3-5.

A Region In Disorder or Transition: 1997-2002?

  • Palestinian Intifada and Israel: Palestine at What Cost?
  • Gulf War: 1990/1: American Intervention and Dominance
  • Middle East Peace: Rabin, Arafat, Peres, Netanayu, and Sharon.


Readings: Cleveland, 458-525; Smith, 406-516.

Pappe, 247-266.

Dec. 10-12.


Take Home Essay Composition Due Friday of Exam Week - DECEMBER 20



Each student will prepare two papers, 4-5 pages in length. One on a monograph of the student's choice from the four available in the bookstore, on the instructor's bibliography, or one approved by the instructor. The second paper will be an analysis of one the topics from Ilan Pappe's edited collection of essays.

Six online ten question quizes will be available throughout the term, taken within WebCt. Each quiz can be retaken a second time with the highest grade posted. The five highest quiz grades will count toward the course grade.

A Distance and Distributed Education Survey is available for students to take for extra credit at term's conclusion.

The course will have a midterm essay and short answer exam. Study questions will be provided . No comprehensive exam will be given. Rather a take home essay 8-10 pages in length is due Friday of exam week on a topic provided by the instructor. All papers should contain all ements of smooth English composition, with introductions, conclusions, proper paragraph construction, topic sentences, consistent verb tenses, and complex sentence structures worthy of a college graduate.

Page updated: December, 2002.