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Important Note:
This is the syllabus for last year’s version of this course.The Summer 2013 class will follow the same overall structure and usemany – but not all – of the same readings. Deliverables will be broadly thesame (discussion posts, two short papers, one longer paper). The textbook is still Cleveland & Bunton’s
History of the Modern Middle East 
in 2013 we will use the new 5 
edition of the book, not the 4
edition asmentioned here.
Online Course: July 2 – August 10, 2012
Instructor: Gordon RobisonEmail:grobison@uvm.edu Office Hours: Skype - By Appointment Throughout our class I will be in the Middle East. I will be happy to discuss issueswith students by email or, at a mutually agreeable time, by Skype. Please note that my location (Doha) is seven hours ahead of ET, so some flexibility in scheduling maybe required.The last 18 months have been, to put it mildly, a time of upheaval throughout theMiddle East. Regimes that had been in power for decades have fallen. Countries longconsidered models of stability have seen popular uprisings, revolutions, even civilwar. These upheavals, in turn, have presented American policymakers withunprecedented challenges.This class will look at the region’s history and politics with a particular emphasis onthe last 20 years in an attempt to understand the regional, their motivations and thechallenges confronting both Middle Easterners themselves and Americanpolicymakers who must deal with the region.
Discussion Board 40%Two Short Papers (15% each) 30%Final Paper 30%The two short papers will be due at the end of the second and fourth weeks of thecourse respectively (NOTE: by end of the week I mean 10pm Eastern Time onFriday). These papers should be 800-1000 words in length, not including any
necessary citations. The final paper is due by 11am Eastern Time on Saturday, June30. It should be no more than 2500 words in length, not including citations.All three of these papers are analytical in nature. What I am looking for is evidencethat you have thought carefully about the issues raised in the assignment andreached a conclusion that you can support with facts by means of a thoughtfulargument. Such an argument should also address potential weaknesses in your ownposition or possible objections to it. An analytical paper requires research, but it isnot a research paper. Background reading and research should be an important element in formulating your argument, but the purpose of the research is todemonstrate that you know what you are talking about and have thought about it thoroughly. A good paper builds its argument, analysis and conclusions on aframework of research and avoids the trap of using the research as a crutch. If, inreading your final draft, you have a paper that begins with a thesis statement, laysout several pages of facts and ends with one or two paragraphs along the lines of 
"Therefore, in conclusion, it is clear that..." 
stop right there and start again. What youhave written is a research paper, and you need to give this another shot beforeturning in the assignment.Put another way, in these papers I want to know what you think – but I also need tosee that you have reached your conclusions in a thoughtful manner and that you canmarshal facts and evidence to support them.In writing these papers you may wish to use sources beyond those assigned for theclass, but you are not required to do so. In selecting outside sources it is important that you cite only reliable, authoritative material. Avoid sources that are polemicalin nature. Avoid anything that comes from a content farm or an aggregator. Nevercite Wikipedia (note, however, that while individual Wikipedia entries cannot beconsidered reliable at any given point in time, the sourcing found at the bottom of the site's better entries can be a useful guide to sources which are authoritative).The Additional Resources tab in the course menu lists a number of websites andbooks that may be useful either in researching these papers, or simply if you wish toread further on a particular topic.Please note that 
sources – whether class materials or not – must beacknowledged with proper citations. That means footnotes or endnotes or a 'WorksCited' page that is referenced through in-text citations which include page numbers.
 A bibliography alone is not sufficient 
. When citing material gathered over theinternet you must include the full url (not just "nytimes.com") and include both theoriginal publication date and the date the material was accessed for the purposes of your research. Any of the standard citation formats are acceptable, though I do ask that you pick one and stick to it. Also please note that grammar, spelling, sentencestructure and punctuation all count. Inattention to any of these will result in asignificant reduction in your grade.
All papers must be submitted in the form of an MS Word document via theassignment dropbox in blackboard. If you typically work in Pages or Open Officeplease convert your paper to a .doc or .docx format 
uploading it toblackboard.
 About the Discussion Board:
 The discussion board represents the largest single portion of your grade. Beyondthat, however, those of you who have taken an online course before will alreadyknow that the discussion board is likely to be the key element of your learningexperience. The discussion board is designed to replace the face-to-face interactionwe all would have in a traditional classroom. In some ways, obviously, it is a palesubstitute for a genuine conversation among people sitting in the same room. Manypeople find, however, that the opportunity to think through their comments and seethem in print before distributing them to the rest of the class makes them morewilling to participate, and to do so in a more substantive way, than might otherwisebe the case. At its best, online discussion can result in better, more thoughtful,dialogue involving everyone in the class.Each week I will begin by posting one or two questions on the class discussionboard. These should be considered conversation starters. You must post aresponse/answer to each of my initial queries during the week in which they areposted. You should also feel free to begin threads of your own, to react to thepostings of other students, and to continue discussions from previous weeks. Theremust, however, be a direct response to each of my new questions each week. Inaddition, you must make two or three additional postings per week (depending onwhether I put out one or two questions), so that you reach a minimum of four (notethat the first and last week of the course each require fewer posts). The board's'week' runs from Monday to Sunday.Posting more often than the minimum is encouraged (and will benefit your grade)but is not mandatory. As noted above, I encourage you to keep individual threadsgoing beyond the week in which they are introduced (this is a good way to build upa record of extra posts).The discussion board is supposed to be a real conversation carried out amongeveryone in the class. It can only become that if people are accessing it regularlyover the course of the week. For that reason, how you space your posts out over thecourse of the week will be a significant element of the grade you receive for thoseposts. You are free to go in and post four items at 11:58pm on Sunday night, but donot expect these to be graded as highly as four items of comparable quality spacedout over the course of the entire week. To get the best grades your posts shouldindicate that you have been on the site and engaging with the material, with me andwith your fellow students three to five times over the course of the week.

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