First-Year Seminar: The New Arab Gulf: Migrants, Weirdos, and Rebels


The Arab Gulf (also known as the Arabian Peninsula, or the Persian Gulf) is a central yet understudied region of the modern Middle East. The six oil-rich countries (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman) have been allies of the United States for decades, hosting some of the U.S. largest military bases, and spending billions on US arms sales every year. The Gulf region has also been a main destination for blue-collar workers from the Arab world, South and East Asia, and more recently from Africa. Historically, the region was a central point on the trade routes between the Indian subcontinent, West Asia, Africa, and into Europe. These routes involved spice and tea trades, pearl and gold trade, and what is known as the Indian Ocean slave trade. In addition to its colonial history and economic power, the Gulf region has become a place of cultural production, capital, and infrastructure, representing a shift away from the traditional centres of Arab culture like Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq. It hosts remote campuses of western universities such as New York University Abu Dhabi, Georgetown Doha, or global branches of western arts institutions like the Louvre and Guggenheim. Moreover, most of the major literary and arts awards, funds, grants, and galleries in the Arabic-speaking world are now located in the Gulf region, established and funded as government initiatives. Parallel to this growing infrastructure, the Gulf region is also a hub of ideas and movements where diverse groups come to critique and contest conceptions of identity, class, gender, and race, against official histories. This course will explore the following set of special topics to help us learn about the region, its politics, cultures, and societies: Petro-capitalism, Race and Ethnicity, Migration, Ecology, Gender and Sexuality, and Pop Culture. We will be studying the region through an interdisciplinary lens that involves fiction, non-fiction, literary criticism, scholar
Course Attributes: EN H; FYS; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

First-Year Seminar: The New Arab Gulf: Migrants, Weirdos, and Rebels
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