History of the Middle East
Directions: choose three questions to answer. My expectation is that you will do so using as many resources as you need. The citation format is MLA parenthetical. The focus of the midterm is the material that we have studied to date in the course. I have presented the questions in multiple ways so that you can explore the broader dimension of the topic. Each question should be about 250 words – typed – 12 font – double-spaced is fine. The final question can be used as one of the three required. Be sure to revise your answers at least once – you have plenty of time to do so!!
1. What are the foundations of monotheism? How is Abraham linked to all three religions of the Middle East that are monotheistic?
2. What is the origin of the leadership struggle within Islam that resulted in the divisions of Sunni and Shia? What ideas do these groups share? What is the basic difference in their religious fundamentals? Do they live together peacefully or is this a bitter and violent divide? Use examples to prove your point.
3. Describe the holy texts of Islam: Qu’ran, Sunna and Hadith. What is their content and how do they relate to the concept of Sharia law in Islam? How are they used in an Islamic theocracy like Iran?
4. The history of the Middle East was impacted by the invasion of the Mongols, the spread of the Black Death, and the conflict with Western Catholic nations during the Crusades. Outline these three crises – when do they occur and how do they affect the people and power bases of the Middle East? Explain how the interaction may have been both negative and positive for the Middle East.
5. What was the origin of the Ottoman Empire? Who were the Seljuk Turks and how does their arrival in the Middle East change the power dynamic of the existing Islamic centers of power? Explain what groups were in power and where they were found when the Turks arrived. What was the furthest extent of the Ottoman Empire and when does the Empire dissolve? What was its role in WWI? Why did the Young Turks commit genocide against the Armenians?
6. One of the most complex issues in the Middle East is the role of women in Islamic culture. Explore the contrast between the Prophet’s initial views on women and the changes that emerged as Islam reflected male dominance and power. Why is Khadija important in this discussion? How are women portrayed in Qu’ran? Give at least two specific examples of the laws and customs that limit women’s lives in Muslim nations. If the example is specific to one nation – please indicate that in your answer.
7. Create your own question and answer it in full. Please submit the question as well as the answer if you choose this option.