1. Declaration of Project Topic and list of sources - Due by class time September 29. If you are not in the Turkey Seminar, but are in the Islamic Middle East course, topics must address pertinent aspects of Islamic culture and Middle East history. Go to "Getting Started" for suggestions on topics and use the links below.
|Browse Middle East Database||Links to Quality Internet Resources|
|Islamic Middle East Bibliography||Footnote and Bibliography Format|
|Islamic Middle East Course Blog||Search NMH Library|
|Geography Section IME Blog||NMH Library LibGuide for Islam|
If you are in the Turkey Seminar, follow these directions:
Select a topic that addresses some aspect of modern Turkey or the Ottoman Empire. The project will count in your English class as well as in the Islamic Middle East and will be evaluated by all three instructors - Block, Schwingel, and Thornton. Your choice of topic must be approved by all three teachers.
Look over the list of suggested areas of inquiry below. We are willing to consider other suggestions not on the list.
Send a SWIS message to all three teachers with your proposed topic no later than next Monday (Sept. 29). There will be only one person per topic, first come first served.
Use the links on the web site or the Library to browse the suggested areas below until you find something that attracts you. We will then help you shape the idea until you have a workable, realistic topic in hand. Make your selection with care: you are going to live with your topic throughout the remainder of the semester; we will permit only minor shifts or alterations as you move ahead.
Early next month, we will spend a day or two working in the Library on the first round of research for your project.
More details will follow.
SUGGESTED AREAS OF INQUIRY
Ottoman Reforms: Tanzimat or Nizam al-jedid
Young Turks (CUP)
The Ottoman Empire and World War I
The Ottoman Empire up to World War I
Turkish Art and Architecture (Sinan)
Rumi and or the Dervish orders
Women in Turkey
Turkey’s constitutional crisis, winter-spring 2008
20th Century Constitutional Struggles: Army versus Islamism
Turkish literature (other than assigned)
Prime Minister Erdogan
AKP (ruling party)
Turkey and the Kurds
Turkey and the EU and other economic issues
Turkey in the context of US Foreign Policy
The Turks and the Armenians
Cyprus: Turks and Greeks
Environmental Issues in Turkey (water, dams, etc.).
Reforms of the Republic
Free Speech, Civil Liberties, Article 301
Directorate of Religious Affairs
Art, miniatures, other painting
Art, rugs and carpets?
Architecture, not mosques
Lady Mary Wortley Montague and other Western visitors
Fethullah Gülen movement (JCB has a book)
Islamic ritual, ceremony, bayramlar
Suleiman the Magnificent
poet Nazim Hikmet
poet Yunus Emre
Turkish music, arabesk (a style of popular music and maybe even a subculture)
Exchanges Between Turks and Greeks
History of Constantinople/Istanbul
2. Research Skills - visit to Dolben Library week of October 6 with orientation conducted by a librarian .
3. Research and Reporting: Some homework and class time during the week of October 6 will be devoted to your research on the project. Write a paper of about three to five pages, due date TBD. Give your paper an interesting and engaging title. Everyone in the section will present a short oral report on his or her research in class on October 17.
Oral reports will proceed according to the order of names on the list. The written report should contain an overview of your topic: introduction to the main ideas, personalities, and issues.
At this early stage your research should be based mainly in secondary sources: encyclopedia articles, books, and other materials about your topic. Professor Patrick Rael of Bowdoin College has provided a useful guide to working with secondary sources. Click here to read it: How To Read A Secondary Source. In later stages of your research, you should move on to primary source materials, which include works written by people who are main players in the phenomena you are studying (as opposed to secondary authors - like yourself - who are writing about the phenomena from a distance). See Professor Rael's How to Read a Primary Source.
A thesis is not required at this point. However, one will be required as the basis for your final paper in the course. Click here to read about what a thesis is and how to put one together.
Your essay must be fully documented (footnotes or endnotes plus bibliography). Consult the school writing handbook, Jane E. Aaron, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook for Writers for help with proper formatting in accordance with the Chicago Manual Documentation Style (pp. 118-125) or at this page. Note that Plagiarism (p. 77 of the School Handbook; see also The Little, Brown Essential Handbook for Writers) counts as a violation of the Major School Rule prohibiting dishonesty. Please review these references prior to submitting your work.
4. The final draft of your project (25% of your final grade), is due TBD. The normal expectation is a paper of about ten pages of prose followed by Endnotes and a Bibliography both organized in standard form. (consult Jane E. Aaron, Little, Brown Essential Handbook for Writers, or, go to this page. More on documentation in class) The expectation is that you will use at least six sources (a mix of encyclopedias, books, articles, and other sources). Papers without footnotes and bibliographies will not be accepted. Click for complete details.
N.B. Written reports accompanying oral reports should not be considered completed sections of the final paper but rather parts of a "work in progress" which we expect you to revise as the Term passes along. The shorter report should emphasize information rather than analysis. The final paper should emphasize interpretation, analysis, and critical assessment in addition to information.
Begin by browsing the History of the Middle East Data Base (many of the links to particular subjects below will take you to the database). Use the links at the top of this page. Consult the text study guides for ideas. In addition, consider some of the following possible topics:
Bedouin, Marsh Arabs of Iraq, Kurds, Berbers, Druse, Alawites, etc. Prominent political figures: Ataturk, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ahmed Ben Bella, Muamar Qaddafi, Yasir Arafat, Ruhollah Khomeni, Hafez al-Asad, David Ben Gurion, Anwar al-Sadat. Prominent writers, thinkers, philosophers, scientists: Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Khaldun, al-Ghazzali, etc.
Marriage (including the Shiite custom of muta, or "temporary marriage"), parenting, familial relationships, education. In February, 2004, reforms in Morocco's family law (Mudawana) gave women more rights in marriage and divorce.
3. Women and/or Men in the Middle East
4. Developing Countries in the Region
Population, urbanization, industrialization, environmental concerns, water usage. The issue of water in particular is becoming critically important. Some say that the next war in the Middle East is likely to involve conflicts over water resources.
5. Religion (see Overview of Islam)
Muhammad, Shiites and Sunnis, beliefs and rituals (consider an in-depth study of one of Islam's "five pillars: creed, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage), customs, the Qur'an and Hadith, philosophy, art, architecture, music, civilization, contributions to science, medicine, the Sufis (Islam's mystics), Islamic revivalism (Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, Muslim Brotherhood), militant Islamic movements ( Islamic Jihad, Takfir wa al-Hijra, Hizbullah, HAMAS, the Taliban, etc. -- go to Models of Islamic Revivalism on the Middle East History Database for more, as well as the study guide for our Kepel text.). Islam and other religions. Islam and secularism (Ataturk in Turkey, for example), Islam versus the West (Christian and Secular).
7. The Modern Era
8. Literature, Entertainment, Media
Novels, poetry, plays, stories, folktales, etc. Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said ("Adonis"), Iraqi poet Mohammed Mahdi al-Jawahri, Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish, Egyptian novelists Naguib Mahfouz and Yusuf Idris, Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih, Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani. Prominent writers on women's rights: Nawal al-Saddawi, Fatima Mernissi, Amina al-Said, Qasim Amin (Yes, he's a man.). Entertainers like Norwegian Muslim stand-up comic Shabana Rehman.
Islamic banking (significantly different from Western banking practices), industries, economics, the place of Middle East commerce in the global economic order.
10. The Middle East in United States Foreign Policy
U.S. and Middle East Relations After "9/11," The Tripoli War (1801), The Suez Crisis (1956), the U.S. and the Arab-Israeli conflict, the U.S. and the Iranian Revolution (1979), the U.S. and Lebanese civil wars (1958, 1975-1989), the U.S. and Afghanistan, Taliban, Foreign policy and oil, etc.
Concluding Tips and Caveats:
- Use only web material from universities, published journals, and other sources that have undergone rigorous editing or peer review and that are widely recognized in academic circles for quality scholarship and authority. You may not use Wikipedia as a cited source in any papers submitted in this course (more on this in class).
- Do general keyword searches in the Library's online catalog.
- Search InfoTrac, JSTOR, ProQuest, and other electronic resources for journal and periodical materials (accessible via your Virtual Desktop).
- Most important of all, ask a librarian for help.