Midterm Exam

Important Notice:

The location of the midterm exam has been changed. It will take place in room B 206


Remark: As I have been saying repeatedly in class, our goal is to get some grasp of the big picture. This is not possible without knowing facts. But you do not have to get lost in facts. You do not have to know all the details as presented in the sources below. That is impossible. But you should know some important facts and details. Deciding what is important and what is not is part of what we want to learn.

Format of the Exam 

  • You will be asked a number of questions you cannot possibly answer within the given time frame of the exam.
  • Try to answer as many as possible as precisely as possible.
  • You will have a computer connected to the internet at your disposal.
  • Many questions you should be able to answer without making use of the computer. For some you will have to do some research.
  • Make use of the computer the smart way. If you use it too often, there will be no time for answering enough questions to achieve an overall good result.
  • You will be required to select at least one research question.
  • Use of dictionary allowed.

Topics and Sources

1. Middle East

  • Geographical survey
  • Historical survey beginning with the foundation of Islam
  • Basic information on Islam
  • Basic information on major countries

Sources on the Middle East and on Islam:



Lexicon of the Orient


Look there for the articles on:



Ummayyads (Ummawiyy)


Ottoman Empire


Follow other clarifying links you find within these articles.

2. South Asia

  • Geographical survey
  • Historical survey
  • Basic information on major countries


Map (political)


Map (interactive, with data)


India Timeline


You can find there lots of links for each period. Just using the time line gives you a basic idea of the major phases of Indian history. Enough for the exam.

History of South Asia Slide Show


Very detailed. Do not get lost. Useful to get an idea of everything we have no time to study during our brief glimpse at South Asia

3. Current Events

You should be familiar with some current events in the area concerning your briefing group.


  • To remain updated I suggest the BBC website. Having a look at this site should be part of your daily routine


For a closer look you can follow the links you find there. Or you can use the



For an even more detailed look, you can make use of the

Guardian Weblog


  • Background

For researching background information on any particular country, you can proceed the following way:

Start with the BBC website. Look at the country profiles there. You find them at the main page for each region. For the Middle East, for example, you find them there:

o       http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/default.stm

o       (see column at the right, below)

o       And so accordingly for any other region.

Then use the World-Factbook

o        http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

and the Economist Country Briefings

o       http://www.economist.com/countries/

Suggestion for your way towards professionalism:

Try to research information on any particular country within no more than 30 minutes. Use another thirty minutes to put the information together on a fact sheet. If you do this for two or three weeks every day, you will have acquired considerable routine in doing research and presenting your research in a limited time frame. You will be surprised how much can be done in only one hour.