Course Syllabus

Welcome. This is an upper-level seminar on the contemporary moment in Middle East media. 

Seminar participants will work together to explore frameworks, methods, and tools for understanding networked social movements in the digital advocacy ecology framed from the Middle East. Students will study the role of interventions, social media, and tactical tools to support civic agency and participatory action, as well as transform, disrupt or subvert changing urban, political, and social conditions in various local contexts throughout the region.

This is not a course on the history and politics of Islam and the Middle East. You do not need to have prior knowledge of the subject matter, although it will help. Class lectures and handouts will provide brief historical and political context, and background reading materials will help in furthering such knowledge. You should be pro-active in learning more about the regions we will be discussing through your own outside research and reading (keeping up with global affairs, gaining familiarity with political issues and countries, looking up historical events, watching/reading news from/about the region, etc.).


The course will use WordPress ( as the main online platform to provide: weekly syllabus updates, PDFs for all readings, events and resources. Students must use the blog to regularly reflect on readings, share relevant projects and report on their ongoing group projects. Please regularly check the website for syllabus updates.

In addition to the regularly readings and discussions, students will participate in the following:

  • Weekly blog writing (300-500 words) due Sunday by 10pm, and commenting (two comments on peers’ blog posts) before class on Monday.
  • Leading weekly discussions
  • Midterm: Outline and annotated bibliography due (schedule meeting with professor)
  • Final: 5-7 page research paper.


Please be respectful of one another’s opinions.
Be rigorous: do the readings thoroughly and carefully and bring all readings to class.
Be on time with work and to class!!!!!


Grading: All grades are final and are not subject to change. The following grading rubric will guide the evaluation of student work for the course:

    • Blog posts (30%): Blog posts are short, critical exercises to help students articulate the research questions they are having as they read and experience the course materials. They are expected to be well-written, thoughtful, and engaged. Each blog post should provide one golden nugget: an abstract for a thought piece. Weekly blog should be 300-500 words, have a title, metatags, and be posted to class website on Sunday night no later than 10pm, and commenting (two comments on peers’ blog posts) due the following day before class.
    • Leading class discussion (10%): Each week a team of students will lead the discussion. Might bring in more examples.
    • Peer-critique (10%): The ability to give and receive critical feedback.
    • Midterm (25%): Outline, annotated bibliography, and schedule meeting with professor
    • Final 5-7 page research paper (25%): Make an argument for why the media proposed at midterm matters.


I. The War on Terror

Monday, April 2 – The Oriental Image

Monday, April 9 – A History of the Present: 1972 to 2016

Monday, April 16 – U.S. Military, Guantanamo, and the Middle East

🙌Guest – Professor Lisa Hajjar (Sociology, UCSB)

II. Middle East Futures

Monday, April 23 – Future Tripping

🙌Future Tripping Event – Wireframe Studio

Monday, April 30 – Imagination

Monday, May 7 – Biographies (MIDTERMS DUE)

🙌Daughters of the Nile book talk 

  • Spencer, Samia I., Ed. 2016. Daughters of
  • he Nile: Egyptian Women Changing Their World. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Library Assignment with Middle East Librarian Heather Hughes

III. From Representation to Algorithm

Monday, May 14 – Revolution and Aesthetics

Monday, May 21 – Borders Again

Monday, May 28 – MEMORIAL DAY

Monday, June 6 – Final Presentations


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