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Political Transition in the Middle East: A Century of Conflict - POL00022H

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jacob Eriksson
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

Throughout the twentieth century, the Middle East has been a region marked by dramatic political change. Empires have dissolved, states have been created, and conflict has been a regular feature of the political landscape. The driving forces behind change and conflict have been varied. Ethnicity, ideology, religion, and a quest for power have generated pressures, often exacerbated by external intervention, which reverberate beyond national boundaries. In a region well known for its complex political dynamics, analyses are seldom straightforward.

This course examines the different forms of political change which have been prevalent in the region during the 20th and 21st centuries - including coups, revolutions, and wars, for example. An understanding of these political processes requires an interdisciplinary approach incorporating aspects of history, economics, and sociology, which this course aims to provide. It offers students the chance to explore a different mode of transition each week by analysing a number of case studies through a comparative analytical perspective, thereby creating an understanding of the idiosyncrasies of individual cases and a number of broader and recurring political trends. Examples include Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and the Israeli-Palestinian and wider Arab-Israeli conflicts. Students will thus be able to better understand and explain the current changes affecting the region, the historical context which informs them, and the challenges which lay ahead for individual countries and the combustible region as a whole.

Module learning outcomes

By completing this module, students will:

  • To further understanding of the social and political dynamics of the Middle East within the conflict setting.
  • To expose students to the region's transitions from varying disciplinary perspectives.
  • To encourage students to engage in the study of socio-economic issues pertaining to the Middle East.

This module will also equip students with a range of key transferable skills:

  • To afford the opportunity to develop the student's written and oral communication skills.
  • To develop basic theoretical knowledge and analytical skills alongside an appreciation of the applicability of this knowledge to a disciplinary study of the Middle East.
  • Transferable skills: examinations, presentations, word processing and other IT skills, and logical and analytical writing capabilities.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 20 working days after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Ayubi, Nazih. Over-Stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East. (London: I.B. Tauris) 1996.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. (London: Penguin) 2003.

Cleveland, William L. A History of the Modern Middle East. 4th ed. (Westview Press) 2009.

Hourani, Albert. A History of the Arab Peoples. (Faber and Faber) 2005.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.