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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 2
U.S. Policy in the Persian Gulf

E-Seminar 3
Revolution, U.S. Policy, and Cold War Politics

A Series of Three E-Seminars

E-Seminar 1, Islam, Revolution, and the Modern State

Taught by: Gary Sick

The first in a three-part series on Iran, this e-seminar explores the fundamental question of how Iran can create a new form of Islam that will respond to the realities of the modern world. Gary Sick, Adjunct Professor of International Affairs and Acting Director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia University, introduces us to the modern Iranian state. First, he looks at changes Iran has undergone in the twenty-plus years since the Iranian revolution and the role of Islam in this ongoing evolution. Next, he examines Iran's tumultuous relationship with the external world—including the close ties to the West under the shah's regime, the harshly isolationist stance following the revolution, and today's increasing awareness of the need to take part in the international community. Finally, Professor Sick discusses Iran's unique role in the Middle East—from its extremely pro-Palestinian position to its ongoing tensions with Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

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Professor Sick explores why, following the revolution, Iran sought to transform the world in its image.
Professor Sick introduces us to a nation that is still actively struggling to find its balance between the competing influences of Islam and nationalism, economics and independence, and populism and autocratism. While the election of opposition candidate Mohammad Khatami and the popularity of philosopher and theologian Abdol Karim Soroush have accelerated the pace of change, the future direction of Iran remains highly uncertain.

NOTE: The content in this e-seminar was captured before the events of September 11, 2001.

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

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

Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements

1. Introduction
2. An Islamic State
3. Foreign Affairs
4. The International Economy
5. The Middle East
6. The Modern State
7. Conclusion

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Gary Sick served on the National Security Council staff under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan. He was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis and is the author of two books on U.S.-Iranian relations. Professor Sick is a captain (ret.) in the U.S. Navy, with service in the Persian Gulf, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. He was the deputy director for International Affairs at the Ford Foundation from 1982 to 1987, where he was responsible for programs relating to U.S. foreign policy. Professor Sick has a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, where he is Senior Research Scholar, Adjunct Professor of International Affairs, and acting director of the Middle East Institute. He is a member of the board of Human Rights Watch in New York and cochairman of the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch / Middle East. He is the executive director of Gulf/2000, an international research project—on political, economic, and security developments in the Persian Gulf—being conducted at Columbia University with support from the W. Alton Jones, Rockefeller, Ford, Soros, and MacArthur Foundations.

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Recommended Reading
Arjomand, Said Amir. The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Bakhash, Shaul. The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution. New York: Basic Books, 1984.

Bill, James A. The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

Christopher, Warren, et al. American Hostages in Iran: The Conduct of a Crisis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.

Keddie, Nikki R. Roots of Revolution: An Interpretive History of Modern Iran. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

Potter, Lawrence G., and Gary Sick, eds. Security in the Persian Gulf: Origins, Obstacles, and the Search for Consensus. New York: Palgrave, 2002.

Ramazani, Rouhollah K., ed. Iran's Revolution: The Search for Consensus. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.

Sciolino, Elaine. Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran. New York: Free Press, 2000.

Sick, Gary. All Fall Down: America's Tragic Encounter with Iran. New York: Random House, 1985.

Sick, Gary. October Surprise: America's Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan. New York: Times Books, 1992.

Sick, Gary, and Lawrence G. Potter, eds. The Persian Gulf at the Millennium: Essays in Politics, Economy, Security, and Religion. New York: St. Martin's, 1997.

Surush, `Abd al-Karim. Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam: Essential Writings of `Abdolkarim Soroush. Translated and edited by Mahmoud Sadri and Ahmad Sadri. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Vakili, Valla. Debating Religion and Politics in Iran: The Political Thought of Abdolkarim Soroush. Council on Foreign Relations, Occasional Paper No. 2, January 1997.

Wright, Robin. The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran. New York: Knopf, 2000.

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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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