POL3097 : Politics of the Middle East

  • Offered for Year: 2012/13
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Una McGahern
    Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
    ECTS Credits: 10.0


    • To provide a comprehensive introduction to the politics of the Middle East region.

    • To understand the nature, prevalence and reasons for the many conflicts and endemic instability in the Middle East region.

    • To understand the role played by various ideologies within these conflicts

    • To understand the historical evolution of Islam and Islamisms and the distinction between the two.

    • To understand the difficulties involved in resolving internal state conflicts and intra-regional conflicts.

    The module examines the emergence of the present political structures and underlying ideologies in the Middle East. It explores the origin and evolution of Islam as well as the legacy of colonialism.

    Outline Of Syllabus

    This module provides students with an introduction to the emergence and
    development of contemporary political structures and processes in the
    Middle East. Given the ongoing salience of a number of generalisations
    regarding the Middle East, particularly within current media analyses, this
    module begins by examining some of the most-commonly encountered views
    and stereotypes which have been used to describe the peoples, societies and
    states of the region. This module also provides an introduction to major
    trends and themes in existing and emerging academic scholarship of the
    region (topics covered include: theories of state, leadership and change,
    minority politics, oil and the economy, the military factor, religion and politics,
    citizenship, democracy and authoritarianism, Israel and external
    interventions). By offering an opportunity for critical assessment of the
    literature, students are encouraged to engage with and reflect upon the wide
    range of factors and agencies which are generally understood to have
    contributed to the emergence of different regime types, ideologies and socio-
    economic processes across the region. The aim of this module is not to accord
    greater or lesser value to any one of these approaches but, rather, to
    introduce students to the complexity of Middle Eastern politics and to lay the
    groundwork for students to critically engage with the literature themselves.

    Teaching Methods

    Teaching Activities
    Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
    Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
    Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
    Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00N/A
    Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
    Teaching Rationale And Relationship

    Lectures are designed to give students an overview of the main issues involved in each topic. However, in order to gain a deeper understanding it is important that students read from the supporting literature, preferably in advance of each lecture.

    Seminars provide students with an opportunity to discuss questions relating to the lectures, to critically engage with a number of assigned texts/reading materials, research and team-working skills in smaller group settings. The role of the seminar leader is to facilitate and guide group discussion, not to lead discussion or lecture. All students are expected to prepare for the seminar by reading set materials.

    Assessment Methods

    The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

    Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
    Written Examination902A50unseen written exam
    Other Assessment
    Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
    Essay2M502000 words
    Assessment Rationale And Relationship

    Understanding of the links between the events tested by the essay writing exam

    Exchange Students:
    An alternative form of assessment will be set for exchange students from non-English speaking home institutions replacing the examination. The alternative form of assessment is set in accordance with the University Assessment tariff.

    Reading Lists


    Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.