HUM 213 Syllabus and Course Information  - Spring 2011
Culture & Literature of the Middle East - 4 credits
CRN # 21346 - Mon & Wed 8:25-10:05 am, Deschutes Rm. 1
URL of this webpage:

HUM 213 Brief Course Description
from current COCC Catalog

HUM 213 - Culture and Literature of Middle East
Introductory study of representative Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew literary texts in translation, placed in the context of films and other cultural media of the Middle East and Northern Africa.
4    Lecture: 4

What HUM 213 "counts as": HUM 213 is an approved COCC and Oregon state Arts and Letters discipline studies course option, and counts as a Cultural Literacy course, for students seeking lower-division college transfer course credits, COCC associates’ degrees and program certificates. For example, students who successfully complete HUM 213 (with a grade of “C” or higher) may count this course toward satisfying current Arts and Letters discipline studies (formerly known as humanities general education distribution) and new *Cultural Literacy requirements for the Oregon Transfer Module (OTM) certificate, the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree, for other COCC Associate degrees, and for COCC certificate programs. 
--See the current COCC College Catalog: Pathways to Success: Overview of COCC Degree Options (pages 35-49), including DISCIPLINE STUDIES COURSES: Arts and Letters discipline studies course options and*Cultural Literacy options--also available online:
--Please consult Cora Agatucci and/or your COCC academic advisor if you have questions.

Arts & Letters Discipline Studies Outcomes: As a result of taking General Education Arts & Letters* courses, a student should be able to:

  • Interpret and engage in the Arts & Letters, making use of the creative process to enrich the quality of life; and

  • Critically analyze values and ethics within a range of human experience and expression to engage more fully in local and global issues. 

 * “Arts & Letters” refers to works of art, whether written, crafted, designed, or performed,

         and documents of historical or cultural significance. 


Cultural Literacy: As a result of taking a designated Cultural Literacy course, students should be able to: 

  • Identify and analyze complex practices, values, and beliefs and the culturally and historically defined meanings of difference.

--See also HUM 213 Learning Outcomes, Arts & Letters Discipline Studies Course and *Cultural Literacy (CL) Outcomes below.

"Only connect." --E. M. Forster

Required Textbooks for HUM 213 - Spring 2011

Two required Middle Eastern novels will be assigned and studied in Spring 2011 HUM 213: 

Alsanea, Rajaa. Girls of Riyadh. Trans. Rajaa Alsanea and Marilyn Booth.
           2005. New York: Penguin Books, 2008.
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-311347-8
Textbook will be available for purchase from COCC Bookstore:

Grossman, David. To the End of the Land: A Novel. Trans. Jessica
          Cohen. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
ISBN-13: 978-0-307-59297-2
Textbook will be available for purchase from COCC Bookstore:

Other Required Readings

Additional readings will also be required.  HUM 213 students must be willing and able to access and complete most of these required course readings ONLINE by assignment deadlines.  While some required course readings will be provided to students as paper handouts distributed in class, most required course readings will be made available to students only ONLINE . . . posted on Cora's COCC HUM 213 instructional web via links to World Wide Web pages freely accessible on the internet, and/or posted in Cora's COCC password-protected Blackboard HUM 213 course site.  More information will be given in class.

Required In-Class Film Viewings

We will also be viewing in-class and studying some Middle Eastern films, listed below in alphabetical order:

Ajami (Israel and Germany, 2009). In Arabic and Hebrew, with English subtitles. Run time: 120 min.
Filmed on location in Ajami district of Jaffa, Israel; Nablus, Palestine [Occupied Territories]; and Tel Aviv, Israel.
Directors and Writers:
Scandar Copti (b. 1975, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel) and Yaron Shani (b. 1973, Tel Aviv, Israel).
(per IMDb): Crime | Drama
Rating: NOT U.S.A. MPAA Rated, but Cora's guess: R.
                See IMDb
Parents Guide for Ajami (2009)
For more information see IMDb - Internet Movie Database: Ajami (2009)

The Band's Visit [original title: Bikur Ha-Tizmoret] (Israel, USA, France, 2007). In English, Arabic and Hebrew, with English subtitles. Run time: 87 min.
Filmed on location in Yeruham, Negev Desert, Israel.
Director and Writer: Eran Kolirin (b. 1973, Israel).
Official Sony Pictures U.S.A website:

Genre (per IMDb): Comedy | Drama
Rating: U.S.A. MPAA Rated PG-13 "for brief strong language."
For more information see IMDb - Internet Movie Database: The Band's Visit (2007)
Bikur Ha-Tizmoret] URL:
See also
Dargis, Manohla. "Strangers in a Land That's Not so Strange." Movie Review: The Band's Visit (2007). NYT Critic's Pick. New York Times 7 Dec. 2007.  Web. 3 Apr. 2011. < >.

Bliss [original Turkish title: Mutluluk] (Turkey and Greece, 2007). In Turkish, with English subtitles. Run time: 105 min. 
Filmed on location in Bodrum, Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; Karaman Taskale Village, Turkey; and Marmaris, Turkey.
Abdullah Oguz (b. 1958, Istanbul, Turkey)
Film Adaptation based on 2002 novel
Mutluluk by Zülfü Livaneli (b. 1946, Ilgin, Konya, Turkey), who is also a popular Turkish folk musician and composer, a prominent and controversial Turkish politician and journalist.
English version of Livaneli's official web site:
Genre (per IMDb): Drama
Rating: NOT U.S.A. MPAA Rated, but Cora's guess: PG-13.
                See IMDb Parents Guide for Bliss (2007) [AKA: Mutluluk]
For more information see IMDb - Internet Movie Database: Bliss (2007) [AKA Mutluluk]

As I announced on Day 1 in class, we will also view and study at least one Iranian film.  Based on in-print DVD availability, I have decided on:

Offside (Iran, 2006). In Persian / Farsi, with English subtitles. Run time: 93 min. 
Filmed on location in Tehran, Iran.
Director: Jafar Panahi (b. 1960, Mianeh, Iran)
Genres (per IMDb): Comedy | Drama | Sport
Rating: U.S.A. MPAA Rated PG "for language and some thematic elements"
For more information see IMDb - Internet Movie Database: Offside (2006)

If time allows, we may also view [clips from] other Middle Eastern films: TBA.

HUM 213 students are NOT required to purchase or rent DVD's of the above primary film texts  - NOR the expensive equipment necessary for at-home viewing.  Instead, required film viewings will be scheduled during regular class meetings.  If students miss a scheduled in-class film viewing or wish to re-view a required film, required films will be placed on COCC Barber Library Reserve: 

To check out library reserve items: Bring your valid COCC student ID card to the Circulation desk on the main floor of the library during open library hours, and be prepared to reference the film title, course, and instructor in making your request to check out a library reserve item.  HUM 213 DVD's may be "checked out" for a maximum of three hours and must be viewed "in-library" on library equipment during open library hours.
COCC Barber Library Hours - Spring Term:

Another option (as a HUM 213 student pointed out)  is renting films - at your own expense - from local or online rental agencies - if you have the means and necessary equipment to do so - for outside-class viewing on your own time. Be aware, however, that NOT all required Middle Eastern films are available for rental. 

Other Course Requirements:

Academic Calendar & Final Exam Schedule for 2010-2011:
Final Exam Schedule Fall 2010 - Spring 2011:

Adhere to COCC Student Rights and Responsibilities

HUM 213 Learning Outcomes,
Arts & Letters Discipline Studies Course Outcomes, and Cultural Literacy Outcomes
(or what you will learn in HUM 213)

HUM 213 Learning Outcomes

Three major HUM 213 course learning outcomes (or course objectives) were approved by the Humanities Dept. in 2007:
1. "Build knowledge of language arts and cultures different from one’s own . . ."
Specific Outcome 1 objectives and approaches focus on studying Middle Eastern significant literary works and cultural documents in their contexts (e.g. relevant historical,
artistic, religious, linguistic, geo-political, socio-economic, and other background contexts, which these works express or represent); on tracing relationships between Middle Eastern works and their background contexts, as well as on identifying translation issues (i.e. challenges of translating Middle Eastern language works into English).
2. "Apply this knowledge to cross-cultural comparative analysis . . ."
Specific Outcome 2 objectives and approaches focus on developing skills in comparative cross-cultural analysis to identify and understand significant differences and similarities among Middle Eastern primary works and contexts, as well as between Middle Eastern and U.S./Western cultural works and contexts. Outcome 2 also includes "Identify[ing] topics of personal interest, unanswered questions, controversial claims and alternative viewpoints arising from one's cross-cultural comparative study for further research and investigation."
3. "Construct and communicate persuasive cross-cultural interpretations . . ."
Specific Outcome 3 objectives include using various means, evidence from primary texts and secondary context sources, and multiple viewpoints (e.g. gained from cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary perspectives). 

However, HUM 213 course learning outcomes are now being revised (by Cora Agatucci, 2011) to ensure that HUM 213 addresses newly adopted Arts & Letters Discipline Studies course outcomes and Cultural Literacy course outcomes (see below).

Arts & Letters Discipline Studies Course Outcomes

As an approved Arts & Letters (A & L) discipline studies course option, Humanities 213 Learning Outcomes, instruction and assignments are designed to satisfy all the following A & L course criteria:

A & L Outcome 1: Introduce the fundamental ideas and practices of the discipline and allow students to apply them.

A & L Outcome 2: Elicit analytical and critical responses to historical and/or cultural works, such as literature, music, language, philosophy, religion, and the visual and performing arts [and that includes film].

A & L Outcome 3: Explore the conventions and techniques of significant forms of human expression.

A & L Outcome 4: Place the discipline in a historical and cultural context, and demonstrate its relationship with other discipline/s.

A & L Outcome 5: Each [A & L] course should also do at least one of the following (Note that HUM 213 instruction and assignments are designed to address all of the following):

  • 5.A. Foster creative individual expression via analysis, synthesis, and critical evaluation;

  • 5.B. Compare/contrast attitudes and values of specific historical periods or world cultures;

  • 5.C. Examine the origins and influences of ethical or aesthetic traditions. 

Cultural Literacy Course Outcomes

As an approved Cultural Literacy (*CL) discipline studies course option, Humanities 213 Learning Outcomes, instruction and assignments are designed to satisfy all the following *CL course criteria:

*CL Outcome 1: Explore how culturally-based assumptions influence perceptions, behaviors, and policies.
*CL Outcome 2: Examine the historical bases and evolution of diverse cultural ideas, behaviors, and issues.
*CL Outcome 3: Each [*CL] course may also do one or more of the following (Note that HUM 213 instruction and assignments address all of the following):

  • 3.A. Critically examine the impact of cultural filters [e.g. ethnocentrism] on social interaction so as to encourage sensitivity and empathy toward people with different values and beliefs.

  • 3.B. Investigate how discrimination arises from culturally defined meanings attributed to difference.

  • 3.C. Analyze how social institutions perpetuate systems of privilege and discrimination.

  • 3.D. Explore social constructs in terms of power relationships.

Sources: COCC Academic Affairs Curriculum: COCC Discipline Studies List
Discipline Studies and Cultural Literary Outcomes (Dec. 2009)

HUM 213 Planned Assignments and Grading
All course assignments & activities are designed to help students achieve
HUM 213, A& L, and *CL Learning Outcomes

5 to 6 Seminars = approximately 60% of course grade
2 Take-Home Quizzes = approximately 10% of course grade
Annotated Bibliography = approximately 20% of course grade
(3 to 5 "good" sources on a Hum 213 topic of interest)
Final Survey & Course Reflections = approximately 10% of course grade
(self-evaluation and course reflections)

    Cora will be using Blackboard (Bb) Grade Center to record scores students earn on individual graded assignments & to calculate students’ overall course grades to date. Students will be able to check their current record of assignments completed and scores earned by clicking “View Grades” in our Bb course Menu (Directions for how to access Blackboard & course grades will be given in class).

Blackboard (Bb) Grade Center has been set to calculate course grades based on the following
Course Percentage-to-Grade Conversion Scale

(total points earned ÷ total points possible)

= Course Grade
per COCC grading policy*

100 % – 93.0%


92.9% – 90.0%


89.9% – 87.0%

86.9% -  83.0% B
82.9% -  80.0%  B-
79.9% – 77.0%   C+
76.9%  - 70.0% C
69.9% – 60.0% D
59.9% – 00.0% F
NOTE Percentage Cut-offs well - Cora does NOT "round up":
e.g. if you end up with 92.98%, your final course grade will be A-.

*COCC does NOT allow instructors to award final course grades
of A+, C-, D+, D-, F+ or F-

COCC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.
"It is the policy of the Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors that there will be no discrimination or harassment
on the basis of age, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, color, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status
 in any educational programs, activities or employment. Persons having questions about equal opportunity and nondiscrimination
should contact the Equal Employment Officer, c/o COCC’s Human Resources office, (541) 383-7216."
From COCC Home > . . . > Equal Opportunity > Non-Discrimination Policy
See also COCC Home > . . . > Equal Opportunity > Equal Opportunity Policy
COCC Home > Student Life > Policies > Committees > Diversity Committee >
Diversity Procedures

COCC Students with Special Needs

"COCC strives to make available to all students the opportunity for an excellent and rewarding education," and in accordance with federal guidelines, "COCC is committed to making physical facilities and instructional programs accessible to all students.  Awareness of students' needs and goals helps to create an atmosphere in which learning and growth can occur."
--Services for Students with Disabilities:

Students with special needs who  . . .

  • have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations,
  • have any emergency medical information that the instructor should know of,
  • require special arrangements in the event of an evacuation,

. . . should share these special needs as early as possible with COCC course instructors AND with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities: 

Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD):
Services for Students with Disabilities
Boyle Education Center (BEC), 2600 NW College Way, Bend OR 97701 
Telephone/Voicemail: 541-383-7583

See also: Guide for Students with Disabilities:
--COCC campus maps and disabled parking areas:

Contact Cora Agatucci

Electronic mail:
Cora's Office Location: Grandview 106-B  (Bend campus)
Cora's current Schedule (& also by appointment): 

Cora's Office Phone & Voicemail: (541) 383-7522
Humanities Dept. Office (Bend campus): Modoc 226 
Fax:  (541) 330-4396 - Attention: Cora Agatucci
Cora Agatucci's COCC Home Page: 

I look forward to working with and learning from you all this term! 

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Last Updated: 13 April 2011

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Humanities Department, Central Oregon Community College
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