2016 - Spring

Issues and Ideas – Covering the Middle East

Course Number: JOUR-UA 505.002

Day & Time: Mon 3:30pm-6:00pm

Location: 20 Cooper Square, room 655

Instructor: Mohamad Bazzi

The Middle East is in the headlines every day. But the coverage is often bewildering, focusing on the latest death toll in Iraq, a terrorist bombing, or an ongoing political crisis. There is little historical or political context in most of this coverage.

This course will provide students with an understanding of contemporary issues in the Middle East (such as the rise of militant Islam; the roots of Sunni-Shia tension; the failure of Arab nationalism; terrorism versus national resistance; the problem of the nation-state) by reading works that combine history, political analysis, and narrative journalism. This historical and political background will help students to eventually write about the region with depth and nuance, and to evaluate the coverage that they read.

We will also discuss the challenges of reporting from a region with competing narratives, authoritarian regimes that have little respect for a free press, and places where journalists must work under constant danger. We will have occasional guest speakers who have worked as foreign correspondents or editors managing coverage of the region.