The region stretching from Iran on the east to Morocco on the west, known as the Middle East and North Africa (“MENA”), is constantly in the news, in ways that affect our lives directly. This course uses three basic substances central to contemporary society, water, oil and blood, as charged metaphors for issues that help define the contemporary MENA. How has water in and out of the MENA region been pivotal to its history? How much does oil in the MENA shape its internal and external politics? Why has so much blood been spilled in the region? What challenges and choices inform the MENA’s connections to the world? More generally, how do we make sense of a part of the world that evokes strong feelings, and often, stereotypes?