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LHUM 1307: Understanding the Middle East

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QSO 300 Final Project Milestone Two Guidelines and Rubric LHUM 1307: Understanding the Middle East

LHUM 1307: Understanding the Middle East
Research Paper Assignment
General Description
Your final research paper should offer interpretation. This means merely presenting
information about a certain country or event is not sufficient to get a passing grade. In
your final research paper you’re required to offer interpretation on your chosen topic.
Obviously, in order to offer an interpretation, you need to do a thorough analysis of the
topic first. Your essay should be minimum 1000 words (more is fine).
Choosing a Topic
Your final paper should offer an interpretation of your topic by drawing on related facts
and ideas in a way that is both interesting and understandable to your audience. Your
job is to teach your audience something (assume that your audience knows little to
nothing about your topic and it is your job to explain it in a clear and logical way). In
other words, how does your topic clarify a certain question related to the Middle East?
A good way to start is to begin with a question, and then answer that question in your
paper. You should choose a topic that interests you. Avoid topics that are too broad. For
example, “Conflict in the Middle East” is too broad. It might be better to choose a more
focused topic such as “The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Historical Analysis.”
Alternatively, you can choose a news article or report online and offer your
analysis/critique of it. An example would be the article “The Palestinian Right of Return:
a Realistic Approach” (accessible at ) and offer
your interpretation of the insights therein.
Instructions on How to Write a Good Research Paper
A good research paper is obviously based on research. So do your research, collecting
facts and ideas.
The introduction introduces the specific research question, the context of the paper,
and a brief overview of the paper. It is a good idea to point out the central theme of
your paper (or your “thesis statement”) at the outset. Introductions starting with stock
phrases such as “In this paper I will argue …” or “This essay will discuss…” are considered
to be weak.
The body section of your paper should give a brief description of the facts and the
historical processes you are studying. Be sure to discuss the actors, the problems, and
the facts that are relevant to your analysis.
The Analysis/Interpretation section of your paper applies the concepts, approaches,
ideas, and facts you’ve presented in order to come to a final interpretation about your
topic. An interpretation is your take on the topic. It could be a solution you propose or a
new perspective that has been overlooked. How does your analysis/interpretation help
us understand or explain a seemingly inexplicable aspect of the case you’re studying?
How does your interpretation help us understand the “Middle East” better?
In your conclusion, summarize your findings and whatever other conclusions you
derived from the research. You can also point out shortcomings or advantages in
common understandings of the Middle East on the basis of your investigation of the
case. If there are policy implications, please mention them.
LHUM 1307: Understanding the Middle East
Since this is a research paper, you are required to consult at least THREE external
sources IN ADDITION TO drawing on relevant course materials. This means your
bibliography will include at least 4 sources: specific references to relevant course
materials + at least three external sources. You must include both in-text citations and a
bibliography. Use either APA or MLA styles in your citations.
Include a title page with your specific topic clearly mentioned on it.
12-point font (Arial or Times New Roman)
Alphabetized bibliography (not numbered or bulleted), formatted with a “hanging
End of week 13 – Sunday December 1, midnight
This assignment is worth 25% of your final grade.
I will use the following rubric to mark your research papers (please see rubric at the end
of this document). This rubric will be attached to your paper on Blackboard for your
Suggested Topics for Your Research Paper (you are not limited to these)
Topics concerning politics and conflict:
• Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958
• British Policy in the Middle East, 1916-1920
• The effect of universal ideologies on international politics in the Middle East
• The Origins of the Iranian-American Alliance, 1941-1953
• The Origins of the Iranian-American Conflict, 1979-present
• Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, 1948-present
• American Jews, Israel, and the Peace Process
• Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law
• The impact of the Arab-Israeli conflict on international (or domestic) politics
• Nationalism in the Middle East (you can pick a specific country or discuss
• The Kurdish Struggle for Independence / Ethnic Conflict in the Middle East
• Patterns of discord and collaboration among Arab states
LHUM 1307: Understanding the Middle East
• The effect of regional movements (Pan Arabism, Pan Turkism, Pan Iranianism,
Zionism, radical Islamic movements) on Middle Eastern Politics
• Is Islam the Solution to Middle East’s problems? (discuss in the context of the
Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Iranian Revolution, Hamas in Palestine, or
Hezbollah in Lebanon)
• Democracy, Radical Islam, and international cooperation in the Middle East. Can
the three coexist?
• Are the problems in the Middle East proof that a “clash of civilizations” exists?
(hint: you can look under Week 14 for ideas on this topic!)
• Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Middle East
• American Role in The Middle East
Topics related to culture and arts:
• Islamic Civilization’s Contributions to Humanity
• Visual Culture in Muslim Middle East (grand mosques, tilework, calligraphy,
painting, manuscript illustrations)
• “My religion is love:” Sufism in Muslim Lands
• Women and the Islamic Civilization
• Conquering Global Stages: Post-revolutionary Iranian Cinema
• Naguib Mahfouz and the Egyptian Novel
• Orhan Pamuk and the Turkish Novel
• Art, Literature, and Resistance in the Middle East
• Middle Eastern Music (specify topic)
• Middle Eastern Cuisine (specify topic)
* Please see next page for the evaluation rubric used to assess your paper

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