When I started this course at the beginning of the semester, my expectations were that I would be introduced to the Arab world and become engaged with issues that I did not have a previous knowledge of, such as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In this aspect, my expectations were fulfilled.
I learned so many things during this semester that it is difficult to know where to start. I enjoyed learning about the contributions that Arabs have made to society. I have also learned a lot about literary contributions from the Arab world. As an English major and someone who loves literature in general, I was very much interested in the different types of literature that have been written by Arab authors. I was intrigued by the theme of identity that ran through so many of these novels and look forward to reading some of these myself for fun during the summer.
The guest speakers that came to the class presented many different perspectives on history, politics, and culture from the Arab world. I enjoyed all of these lectures. Dr. Zaru gave a very thought-provoking talk, as her lecture centered around her personal experience. It was one thing to learn about these events taking place in Israel and Palestine, but it was quite a different thing to hear first hand experience from someone from Palestine. It made the events much more real. Dr. Leahy’s explanation of the politics involved was also very helpful in understanding the complicated events taking place in the Arab world.
All in all, though the SIS requirement has now been dropped from the McDaniel Plan, given the chance I would take this class again simply because I learned so much valuable information. Though I do not plan to go into a field such as politics and am not an Arab Studies major, the knowledge I learned from this class has helped me to become a more informed, global citizen that can continue to learn more about this part of the world and work to educate others about the many misconceptions that they have about this region and the Arab people.