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Middle East Politics 1 (Core Features)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor and tutorMatthijs van den Bos
  • Assessment: a 600-word essay plan (15%), 3000-word essay (75%) and seminar report (10%)

Module description

This module will equip you with a thorough understanding of the domestic political structures and international relations of the Middle East in contemporary historical contexts. The first part of the module sets out the historical setting for the emergence of the regional states system near the end of the Age of Empire and explores to what degree its legacy determines politics today. We will focus on the interactions of religion and politics, social forces and national integration, and the struggle for democratisation. The second part of the module is dedicated especially to international angles of Middle East politics, where the emphasis lies on Western interactions with the region, the fission and fusion of regional alliances, and the impact of border-crossing populations.

Indicative module syllabus

  • The Middle East as a Region
  • Colonial Rule and the Nation-State
  • Ideologies: Nationalism, Socialism, Islamism
  • Political Regimes and Outcomes
  • Key Varieties of Islamist Politics
  • Approaches to Sectarianism
  • Secularism in Power and Opposition
  • Social Forces and Political Culture
  • Minority and Majority Dynamics
  • Authoritarianism and Democratisation

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • understand and be able to critically apply key concepts, theories and debates regarding Middle East politics
  • be able to critically evaluate the historical impact of modern state formation on Middle East politics today
  • be able to systematically investigate and evaluate central problems in the theorisation of Middle East politics
  • have knowledge on the interactions of religion and politics, social forces and national integration, and the struggle for democratisation in the Middle East
  • be able to make connections between the study of Middle East politics and politics studies of other locations on the one hand and generic politics theory on the other
  • be able to synthesise a variety of materials across primary and secondary texts to explain and support your own arguments concerning the key problems of Middle East politics
  • have developed skills of critical thinking, enquiry, synthesis, analysis and evaluation that can be employed on other modules studied at this level.