CSP 24 Diversity and Secularism in the (Ottoman) Middle East

These days much is written about religious discord in the lands of the former Ottoman Empire (Iraq, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Turkey). While the wanton violence of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) towards minorities was unprecedented, the general problems faced by minority populations in the region are well-documented. Some argue that inter-religious strife in the Middle East is a consequence of the failure of secularism to take root in the region, while others pin the blame on a general Islamic intolerance towards other faiths. However, other scholars attribute religious conflict in the region to factors such as the imposition of secularism and modern liberal governance. This class is an inquiry into these arguments. Accordingly, we will examine the region’s historical experience with: religious tolerance, minority status, sectarian identity, secularism and the emergence of modern democratic forms of governance.

Credits

4 units

Prerequisite

Open only to first year frosh