Event—Adult Education

Myth vs. Reality: Saudi Arabia


Learn more about the history of Saudi Arabia while debunking myths and stereotypes that surround the country today.

Kingdom Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2007. Source: BroadArrow at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

A bogeyman of the Western media and a sensationalized kingdom of riches and repression, Saudi Arabia is one of the most misunderstood countries in the world today. What kind of Islam is practiced in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Can women drive now? How many princes and princesses are there? What happens when the oil runs out?

In this class, we will look at contemporary artworks, read extracts from ethnographies and novels, discover new archeological findings, and read political commentary.

By the end of this class, students will be able to critique the news, debunk myths and stereotypes about Saudi Arabia, and understand some of the history and motivations of this important actor on the regional and international stage.

Ms. Laurel Harig-Khan teaches courses on the culture, politics and history of the Middle East. She received an MA from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and a BA from Bard College and has also studied in Beirut and London. She has taught at the Newberry since 2018.

Materials List


Cost and Registration

Two sessions, $100 ($90 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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