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Gen Ed 1123: Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East



Gen Ed 1123 offers you a semester-long opportunity for intensive study and historical analysis of a single Islamic movement, or a person, event or text related to it.

Your grade, in part, will be determined by the quality of the primary and secondary sources you select, and in part by the skill with which you use them in writing your term essay.

This Research Guide is designed to help you make smart choices about where (and how) to look for potential sources.  The Gen Ed 1123 Writing Guide advises you on ways to incorporate these sources, strategically and ethically, into an essay form.  

Reading, writing, and research rarely happen in isolation from each other in the academic world, so we recommend that you use the two guides together and see them as complementary and "in conversation."

Certain sections of each guide will be far more powerful if you move between them, and every now and then, we've included text boxes and links to remind you to connect the process of tracking research down to the act of writing research up.

Here's the best advice we can can give you at the start: 

  • First, make sure you've read and understand the aims of the project, its structure and content, as identified in the Writing Guide. Talk with your TF if anything's unclear. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the different requirements and Grading Criteria.


  • Make your work meaningful: choose someone or something you want to know more about, someone or something that matters to you. Be reasonably sure that the topic can sustain your interest and will reward the intellectual energy you'll have to commit to it over many weeks.

And remember: 

  • In the end, our research guide only presents you with representative selections of what's available, in astonishing variety and depth, in the Harvard libraries.

If the resources listed in this guide don't suit your project -- or if you're wondering what else is out there, let us help you explore.  Contact one of the librarians listed below. We'll set up a time to meet.

Good luck with your work and enjoy your research adventure! 




Sue Gilroy, Librarian for Undergraduate Writing Program and FAS Library Liaison to Social Studies, Lamont Library 

Ali Boutaqmanti, Arabic Language Librarian, Middle Eastern Division, Widener Library

Sarah DeMott, Research Librarian and Liaison to Middle Eastern Studies, Lamont Library

Emily Coolidge Toker, Learning Technology Specialist and Liaison to Middle Eastern Studies, Lamont Library




TOP LEFT: Pakistani students of a madrassa, or Islamic school, learn how to read verses of the Quran, during their daily classes in a Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 12, 2014.  (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen). Via AP Images

BOTTOM LEFT: Algeria, Sahara sand dunes at sunset.  Photo courtesy of The World Factbook

Gen Ed 1123 Writing Guide. Click here to open.