This blog is a collaborative online project of students enrolled in HTS 2041: The Modern Middle East at The Georgia Institute of Technology for the Spring semester of 2013. Our course aims to understand the modern Middle East and North Africa today through the study of the history, politics, social and political institutions, arts and culture, and religious beliefs and practices of Muslims, as well as a the place of Islam and the Middle East in modern world history. The challenge to this undertaking lies in the sea of public (mis)information about the Middle East and Islam in recent years, especially since September 11, 2001, October 7, 2001, and March 20, 2003. The task is to try to understand the contours of Middle Eastern society and culture and the many manifestations of Islam since the 16th century, with emphasis on the Middle East in the Colonial period, the trauma of post-Colonialism, the rise of nationalism, and the various types of Muslim responses to modernity qua Islam, such as the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011.
On this blog students will reflect on the above in light of current events, our course readings and class discussions. We have made this blog public in an effort to take our thinking about history, politics, and religion in the modern world out of the university and into the public sphere. We welcome your comments and we hope you enjoy, are challenged by, and are stimulated by what you read here.