Dr. Ofra Bengio

Dr. Ofra Bengio is a Senior Research Fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Bengio received her PhD from Tel Aviv University. Her research specialties include contemporary Middle Eastern history, modern and contemporary politics of Iraq, and the Arabic language.

In 2004, Dr. Bengio taught the following courses as a visiting Israeli scholar at Emory University:

History of Modern Iraq (Fall 2004)

For more than a quarter-century, Iraq has been the focus of world attention, particularly the United States.  This course examined the history of Iraq, beginning in the late 19th century under the Ottoman Empire, when Baghdad was considered by the Great Powers a marginal, backwater city, through its evolution into a pivotal state in the Middle East, and internationally.  It explored various social, economic, and political issues, and particularly the relationship between domestic and international developments.  Doing so helped explain how the U.S. found itself drawn into a war with Iraq twice within little more than a decade.
Minorities in the Arab World (Fall 2004)

The issue of minorities is one of the most serious problems facing the modern state in the Middle East.  Moreover, it is closely linked to an additional major issue:  the need for democratization and representative government.  This course analyzed the problem not only through the lens of the state, but also through the eyes of minority groups themselves, many of which predate the Arab-Muslim conquest of the 7th century.  After providing a regional overview of the subject, the course focused on the "leading" minority groups of the region - the Kurds, Copts, Berbers, and Shiites - as well as the states' respective discourses and policies towards them.