Ivory Towers 101

I’m keenly interested in the way my book Ivory Towers on Sand is used in university-level courses on the Middle East. Here are two recent examples turned up by a quick search.

This past fall, Professor Rex Brynen, a political scientist at McGill University, assigned the book toward the end of his course on “Middle East Politics.” Brynen, who reviewed my book in the Middle East Journal (he didn’t like it), taught it alongside the 2003 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) presidential address by Lisa Anderson. Rex, I hope you did me justice. Syllabus here.

A fall course at the University of Arizona (headquarters of MESA) dealt with “Middle East Studies: Approaches, Themes and Controversies.” Professor Michael Bonine, a geographer, coordinated the course, which incorporated lectures by an array of faculty members from different departments. The syllabus mentions only one required reading, Ivory Towers, although other readings were to be assigned as the course progressed. The book probably loomed large toward the end of the semester, in two sessions on “Middle East Studies in Crisis?” (Is that really a question?) Syllabus here.

I don’t imagine I got much sympathy from the instructors in either course, but I commend them for making space for a dissenting view. If you assigned the book this past fall, or are using it this spring, send me the link. I might mention your course here, and your syllabus will become famous.