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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
Battles and Bibles: 1776-1913

E-Seminar 3
Getting It Wrong: 1953–1979

E-Seminar 4
The Voice of Islam: 1979–1991

E-Seminar 5
A Moment of Includsion

America and the Muslim World
A Series of Five E-Seminars

America and the Muslim World
E-Seminar 2, Wars and Fantasies: 1914–1960

Taught by: Richard W. Bulliet

E-Seminar Description
In the second installment of this five-part series, Professor Richard W. Bulliet, a leading scholar of modern Islam, contrasts the period after World War I with the period immediately following World War II, in terms of real and imagined American engagement in the Muslim world. Although a major American role as protector of Kurds, Armenians, and Syrians was proposed after World War I, it never came to pass. Britain and France instead became the mandatory powers in the region.

In the period following World War II, Americans started studying the Middle East in universities, though the curriculum was incomplete and reflected Western prejudices about the complexity of these parts of the world. A desire to study the Middle East in secular terms led to major misunderstandings that would significantly impact American policy in the decades to follow.

This series of e-seminars examines the history of America and its relation to the Muslim world. America and the Muslim World analyzes, from an American perspective, the legacy of misunderstanding between the two cultures; the forgotten wars, now more than a century ago, between America and parts of the Islamic world; and the emergence of a significant Muslim population in the United States through immigration (primarily from the Middle East and Southeast Asia) and conversion (primarily among African Americans). Professor Bulliet also considers the changes in American attitudes that are likely to result from the growing Muslim presence "at home."

E-Seminar Length:3-5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE

Interested in this
Go to the e-seminar now*.

Note: Columbia students, faculty, staff, and alumni will need to use their University Network ID (UNI) to access e-seminars.

E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading |
Additional Information |Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Learn a series of largely unknown events in America's history.

•    Contrast American policy toward the Middle East in the post–World War I period with the post–World War II period.

•    Study how teaching about the Islamic world has changed over time in the United States.

•    Trace how Americans' understanding of Islam has affected U.S. foreign policy.

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1. Before World War I
2. World War I
3. Into the Muslim World
4. Contrasting Aftermaths
5. Foreign-Area Studies
6. The Two World Wars
7. Conclusion

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Professor Richard W. Bulliet was born in Rockford, Illinois. He received his B.A. (1962), M.A. (1964), and Ph.D. (1967) degrees from Harvard University, where he taught for six years. After two years at the University of California, Berkeley, and one year as a Guggenheim Fellow, he joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1976. At Columbia he has taught all periods of Middle Eastern history; the history of technology and of domestic animals; and the core-curriculum, "great books" courses on European traditions, social and political thought, literature, and art. He served for twelve years as Director of Columbia's Middle East Institute.

Prominent among Professor Bulliet's publications are three works on Islamic social history, with an emphasis on Iran: The Patricians of Nishapur (1972), Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period (1979), and Islam: The View from the Edge (1993). The Camel and the Wheel (1975), his book on the history of technology, won the Dexter Prize of the Society for the History of Technology. He coedited the four-volume Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East (1996). The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History (1997), which he coauthored, has been widely adopted as a college textbook in world history. His most recent book is The Columbia History of the Twentieth Century (1998), which he conceived and edited.

Professor Bulliet has written, in addition to his scholarly work, four novels involving the modern Middle East. The Mystery Writers of America nominated his first novel, Kicked to Death by a Camel (1973), for an Edgar Award in the category of "best first mystery." He wrote The Tomb of the Twelfth Imam (1979) shortly before the Iranian revolution, which it predicted. His third novel, The Gulf Scenario (1984), describes the ease with which a determined ruler could (like Saddam Hussein) take over the countries of the Persian Gulf. His fourth and most recent novel is The Sufi Fiddle (1991).

Professor Bulliet has traveled widely and often in all parts of the Middle East and Islamic world. He served four years as Executive Secretary of the Middle East Studies Association, and one summer as faculty-in-residence at CBS, where he helped the Program Practices Division formulate network attitudes toward docudramas. He hosted the 14-part educational television series The Middle East, produced by TVOntario. He has granted hundreds of interviews to print and broadcast journalists on issues relating to the Middle East and Islam. He lives in New York City with his wife, a scholar of Vedic Sanskrit and ancient Indian religion.

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Recommended Reading
David Fromkin. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: Avon Books, 1990.

Thomas Naff, ed. and comp. Paths to the Middle East: Ten Scholars Look Back. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993.

Charles Issawi. Growing Up Different: Memoirs of a Middle East Scholar. Princeton, N.J.: Darwin Press, 1999.

David W. Lesch, ed. The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment. 2d ed. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1999.

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Additional Information
Who should take this course? Teachers and students of American history, world history, and the history of religion; lifelong learners; citizens interested in world events and the reasons behind various strands of contemporary U.S. foreign policy.

Reading assignments: There are no required reading assignments in this course, though Professor Bulliet has recommended a number of books for those who wish to pursue the seminar topics further.

Taking the seminar: This seminar is delivered entirely on the Internet. You may access the seminar and participate in discussions at any time during which the seminar is open. There are no set times in which you must be online.

This seminar includes a discussion board for students to pose questions or comments related to the topics presented in the seminar.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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