Saudi Arabia: 21st Century Kingdom

Saudi Arabia: 21st Century Kingdom
4 sessions, 8 hours 

This course examines the evolution and emergence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia whose transformation, within less than 100 years, from a loose tribal confederation to a modern, dynamic nation-state, is unparalleled in the recent history of the Middle East. As the Kingdom’s power and influence have grown, so, too has its importance in the international arena.

Within the context of history and culture, discussion will focus on the challenges inherent in modernizing a traditionally conservative society. Topics will include religion, education, the role of women, and economic diversification, as well as Saudi Arabia’s assertion as a regional hegemon. Bilateral relations with the United States, historically and currently, will be analyzed.

Based on first-hand experience in the Kingdom and throughout the wider region, the instructor will offer valuable historical perspectives through lecture and films, relevant observations, field notes, and photographs.

Instructor: Freelance writer, consultant, and educator for more than forty years, Linda Pappas Funsch is a specialist in modern Middle East studies and Islamic history. She has studied, worked, and traveled extensively throughout the region. Introduced to the Arab world as an undergraduate at the American University in Cairo (Egypt), she earned an MA in Near Eastern Area Studies at New York University.

Ms. Funsch served at the League of Arab States mission to the United Nations, edited The Arab World magazine, administered grants for the Ford Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon, and directed the American Research Center in Egypt. A frequent speaker at universities and scholarly symposia, she has taught at the undergraduate level at Iona College (NY), Mount St. Mary’s University and Hood College. She has led two ILR-sponsored study visits to the Middle East, including Egypt (2008) and Morocco (2013).

Author of several published articles, Linda Funsch’s latest book, Oman Reborn: Balancing Tradition and Modernization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), has been translated into Arabic. Following a nation-wide book launch in Muscat in 2017 it won critical acclaim throughout the countries of the Persian Gulf.

ILR331 Saudi Arabia: 21st Century Kingdom
4-Digit Number: 5622
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., 11/8/17 – 12/6/17
No Class: 11/22/17
Location: Sweadner Hall
Tuition: $40 Fee: $99 Total: $139
MD residents age 60+ pay fee only.



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