In this advanced seminar we will focus on thinking about the Middle East, its politics and geographies, through reading and engaging with a fine collection of contemporary ethnographies of urban life in the region. The course requires reading and engaging both orally and in written form with one book per week. The selected ethnographies discuss a range of issues in different cities in the Middle East: from piety to secular aspirations, from consent to protest, from poetry to music, from local gendered neighborhood politics to the regional politics of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and from archaeology to construction. Building on these fine-grained bottom-up readings emerging from the Middle East, we will interrogate constructed notions of statehood and modernities, religion and secularism, public and private, gender and masculinity, social movements and militarization, wealth and poverty, peace and conflict, and histories and futures. Prerequisite: Student must have taken a course in Middle East Studies or Urban Studies.