Current Courses

The staff at the Crown Center teach innovative courses at Brandeis University to advance the students' knowledge of the region.

Fall 2019

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ECON 122B – The Economics of the Middle East

Tuesday and Thursday, 5-6:20 p.m.
Prof. Nader Habibi

The main goal of this course is to familiarize the students with the patterns of economic development and the evolution of economic institutions in the Middle East and North Africa region after World War Two. In addition to analyzing the current economic conditions of the region the course will also look at how regional instability and political institutions of MENA countries have affected their ability to implement economic reforms. Another important topic that will be covered in detail is the impact of oil wealth on political and economic development of the region.

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HIST 134B – The Ottoman Empire: From Principality to Republic by way of Empire

Tuesday and Thursday, 2-3:20 p.m.
Prof. Amy Singer

The Ottomans in history: how did a tiny principality grow from 1300 to be a global empire by 1550 and become a modern nation state by 1923? Who were the Ottomans? What are their legacies in today's world?

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HIST 165A – Starting from Food: New Perspectives on the Middle East and Islam

Tuesday and Friday, 11 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
Prof. Amy Singer

Studying food — consumption, production, distribution, regulation, representation — illuminates every aspect of human history. This course explores texts, images, objects, local supermarkets and your experience to consider questions of power, identity, faith, taste, and more in Middle Eastern and Islamic history.

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HIST 178A – The Middle East and the West: Historical Encounters

Wednesday, 2-4:50 p.m.
Prof. Naghmeh Sohrabi

In media and policy discourse, more often than not the Middle East and the West are pitted against each other as conflicting or at least opposite categories. With an eye towards the formation of the modern Middle East in the aftermath of WWI, this course analyzes the history of Middle East and Western encounters. In doing so, it traces the development of the idea of the “Middle East” and the “West” as geographic, cultural, political, and economic concepts. It also examines the ways in which Middle East/West encounters shaped significant developments of concepts such as citizenship, knowledge and technology transfer, integration into the global economy, and gender relations on both sides.

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POL 11B – Introduction to Comparative Politics

Monday and Wednesday, 3:30-4:50 p.m.
Prof. Eva Bellin

This course introduces key concepts and questions in comparative politics and seeks to provide students with a grounding in the basic tools of comparative analysis. It applies and evaluates competing theoretical approaches (cultural, institutional, social-structural, and leadership-centered) to explain several important phenomena such as (1) democracy and democratization; (2) revolution; and (3) ethnicity and ethnic conflict. It also explores recent debates about the importance of civil society and political institutions in shaping political outcomes. Cases will be drawn from Africa, Asia, Western Europe, the Americas, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.