Oct. 02, 2012: Mohamad Bouazizi’s Life and Death: Microcosm of Conditions Leading to Arab Uprisings


  1. CincottaLife Begins After 25: Demography and Societal Timing of the Arab Spring (Foreign Policy Research Institute, Jan. 2012)
  2. Awadallah & MalikThe Economics of the Arab Spring (Centre for the Studies of African Economies, Dec. 2011)
  3. From Resilence to Revolt: Making Sense of the Arab Spring (Research and Documentation Centre [WODC], Jun. 21, 2012), Chapter 2 (Surprise, Surprise!) and Chapter 4 (Engendering Transformations)

Sept. 25, 2012: US media coverage of Islam and the Arab World

In one of his most famous books – Covering Islam – Dr. Edward Said looks deeply into Western media’s representations of Islam during the 1979-81 “hostage crisis”, when Iranian students occupied the US Embassy in Tehran.  Said wrote that Islam is treated with “patent inaccuracy” and “expressions of unrestrained ethnocentrism, cultural and even racial hatred [and] hostility.”  Fifteen years later, in his introduction to the 2nd edition of that book, Said returned to this issue and found that “the media’s portrayal of Islam had grown even more exaggerated.  ‘Sensationalism, crude xenophobia, and insensitive belligerence are the order of the day, with results on both sides of the imaginary line between ‘us’ and ‘them’ that are extremely unedifying.'” (Bayoumi & Rubin, p. 170 – see first reading below).


  1. Bayoumi & Rubin, Islam as News, by Edward Said
  2. Khouri, The Arab Story: the Big One waiting to be told Nieman Report 2007;
  3. Khouri, The Arab Awakening (The Nation, Sept. 12, 2011),
  4. Burgard (ed.), Preface; Intro; Chaps 1 (The Challenge of Covering Islam), 2 (Religion & Nationalism, Rami Khouri) and 3 (Lessons from Iraq)

Sept. 18, 2012: Muslim & Arab Uprisings, post WW2

With the rise of the Cold War, America’s engagement with the Muslim world was viewed mostly through the same lens it used for the entire globe: American competition with the Soviet Union and “world Communism”.  From 1953-56, Iran and Egypt were the two most significant Muslim nations that fell into this Cold War competition.  Prof. Sullivan will discuss America’s overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Dr. Mohammed Mossadeqh, and the “saving” of President Gamal Abdel-Nasser from Israeli-British-French aggression in 1956.  Rami Khouri will explore how the 1970s and 1980s were a transitional period in the Cold War.


  1. Patrick Tyler, chapter 1 (“A World Of Trouble Arab Awakening”, pp. 19-63)
  2. David Painter,The US and Mossadegh 1951-1953
  3. Rami Khouri, A Bad Week of Criminals & Clashing Cultures
  4. Adam Baron, Yemen Inflamed (The Nation)
  5. Khairat al-Shater (Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt),‘Our Condolences,’ the Muslim Brotherhood Says – NYTimes

Recommended videos:

History of Iran, 1953 – 1979 – ?:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5459468 (Living in Tehrangeles, 2006)

Welcome to Fall 2012 Open Classroom

Welcome to the second year of our Open Classroom called “America, Islam, and the Middle East,” co-taught by Rami Khouri and Denis Sullivan.  See Syllabus INTL 2200 Fall 2012a.

The class is open to the entire Northeastern community: students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  And, it is open to the greater Boston community.  We welcome your participation in the presentations and discussions about the various topics we will cover this year.  We meet each Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at 20 West Village F (off of Leon Street) on the Northeastern campus.  (See “23F” on this map)  Our first class meeting is Tuesday September 11.

Given the revolutionary changes in the Arab world over the past two years, we will have several evenings devoted to the “Arab Spring” (a.k.a., Arab Awakening or Arab Uprisings).  We also will focus on America’s involvement in Middle East wars (starting some; avoiding others), peace-making (if any), and economic cooperation.  The “Question of Palestine” (and Israel), Iran, Turkey, and Islam in America are other topics we will explore.  And the Open Classroom allows for the general audience to pursue topics of their own interest and to respond to the ever-changing political landscape across the Muslim world, especially in the Middle East.

This blog will be updated weekly with the topics to be discussed.

For a look at last year’s Open Classroom, guest speakers’ presentations and video recordings, go here.