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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
Battles and Bibles: 1776–1913

E-Seminar 2
Wars and Fantasies 1914–1960

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 3, Getting It Wrong: 1953–1979

Taught by: Richard W. Bulliet

E-Seminar Description
In a series of five e-seminars, Professor Richard W. Bulliet, a leading scholar of modern Islam, examines the history of America's relation to the Muslim world. In Getting It Wrong: 1953–1979, the third e-seminar in the series, Professor Bulliet analyzes the period when Americans began to pay attention to Islam. Bulliet attributes this growing awareness in part to the rise of black Muslims in the United States, and he describes how and why many Americans began to travel to the Middle East to gain firsthand knowledge of the Muslim world. Bulliet shows how crucial misperceptions about Islam persisted into the 1970s among American tourists, government officials, and scholars, so that all were caught off guard by the Iranian revolution in 1979.

Over the course of the five-part series, America and the Muslim World, Bulliet examines the legacy of misunderstanding between the two cultures, the forgotten wars that took place 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).

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
•    Raise awareness of the tendency among Americans in the past to misunderstand Islam and the Muslim world.

•    Introduce students to the history of Islam in the United States.

•    Put into perspective key events in the history of relations between the United States and the Muslim world.

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1. Muslim Worlds
     Muslims in America
2. Israel and the Arabs
     Early Terrorism
3. Changing View of the Middle East
     Firsthand Knowledge
4. Religion and Government
     Supremacy of the State
5. New Leadership
6. Iranian Revolution

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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
Eickelman, Dale F., and James Piscatori. Muslim Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Humphreys, R. Stephen. Between Memory and Desire: The Middle East in a Troubled Age. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1999.

Turner, Richard Brent. Islam in the African-American Experience. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

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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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