Course On Middle East Offered

A geography topics course on the Middle East, an area of popular interest among Americans in light of current world events, is being offered at Western Carolina University in the spring semester.

WCU associate professor of geography, Jeffrey Neff, will instruct “Topics in Regional Geography – The Middle East” (GEOG 440) from 11-11:50 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Students who have achieved at least a junior standing may register for the course. Other students must receive permission from the instructor.

Neff said, “The objective of the course is to heighten students’ awareness of the environment, peoples and political/economic systems that give the Middle East its identity and significance.”

The goal of those interested in taking the course should be to “learn more about a critical world region they don’t know much about right now and need to,” according to Neff.

Topics that will be covered in the course include physical geography and environmental issues; historical geography of cultures and religion; economic and political systems, concentrating on 20th-century “western” influences and interventions; and terrorist origins, organizations and influences.

Particular countries and sub-regions within the Middle East will also be studied, such as the Fertile Crescent, the Persian Gulf realm, Afghanistan, Egypt and the Nile, Palestine and Israel, North Africa and Iraq.

Video and film sessions, interaction with local Middle Eastern community members, a Middle Eastern meal, guest speakers and individual student research projects will be among the course requirements and activities.

For additional information contact Jeffrey Neff at the department of geosciences and natural resources management at (828) 227-7367.