From eighth-century Baghdad to twenty-first-century Masdar, the Middle East has been approached, from within and without, as a susceptible terrain for creating cities. This seminar considers the histories and mythologies of city-making on the Arabian Peninsula, focusing on urban planning since the early twentieth century. Modern city-making is discussed as a globally induced building boom, delivered by figures like American oil men in Saudi Arabia and Sir Norman Foster in Abu Dhabi. A regional survey includes an inspection of Gulf cities (Abu Dhabi, Aramco company towns, Doha, Dubai, Jubail, Kuwait, and Riyadh) and their earliest attempts at modern urbanization. Arising themes and particularities are discussed. Historical context, mostly in the first half of the term, provides students the means to analyze forces and ideologies shaping the newest cities and mega-projects in the region and beyond. The course is not so much a geographical study as an investigation of the pervasive contemporary forces in urbanism and globalization. Whenever possible, the week’s discussions focus on a particular Gulf city as the exemplification of chosen themes. Beyond just sociology and urbanism, reading and discussion materials include primary historical documents and historical and contemporary journalism. Limited enrollment.