Synthesis Paper for Orientalizing the Gulf City

The questions for your HSS 302 Synthesis Paper are as follows:


“’Islamic architecture’ began as an Orientalist construction where the Westerner was attempting to make sense of the mysterious East, in a manner that maintained the latter’s inferiority. Today the East has adopted orientalist discourse, with its fallacies and generalizations, where the Easterner is now the Orientalist…”                                                                                                                                                                                                             Reem Alissa, architect


  1. Which trend in Middle Eastern urban development does Reem Alissa criticize in this quote, and why?
  2. Describe one example of this architectural trend in the Gulf in more detail.
  3. Do you agree with her rejection of an ‘Orientalist architecture’, or do you believe that this way of building new cities has various positive aspects? If so, which ones?



For your answers, please try to compare and synthesize information from the three articles on this subject that I gave you under the title “Orientalizing the Gulf City” on Blackboard. These are the texts by Janet Abu-Lughod, Adham Khaled, and Mamdouh Mohamed Sakr. You can of course also include other sources that you are familiar with and that help you find answers to these questions.

Your essay should be about 4 pages long. It must have in-text-citation and a bibliography with all the sources you have used.


You will be graded according to the following criteria:

  1. How well do you answer the main questions?


  1. How well do you synthesize information from these three articles? (for example: Do you point out similarities and/or differences between the authors’ main arguments? Are you able to summarize shared views? Are you able to use ethnographic data from different sources to provide evidence for an argument? Do you highlight additional insights by one author that the others might not have included in their texts?)


  1. How well is your paper organized? Does it have introduction, main body and conclusion? Is there a logical structure to your essay, a certain “flow” that makes it easy to understand your arguments?


  1. Language usage and correctness


Please contact me if you have any questions.


Good luck!


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