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POL3128 : Gender and Sexuality Politics in the Middle East

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Lewis Turner
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module offers an opportunity for an in-depth exploration of the politics of gender and sexuality in the Middle East.

Specifically, it aims to:
- Demonstrate the profound and varied ways that politics in the Middle East is shaped by gender and sexuality.
- Develop students’ understandings of the historical and contemporary roles that gender and sexuality have played in the politics of the region – from colonialism to the present day.
- Empower students to critically engage with questions of gender and sexuality in the Middle East from feminist perspectives.
- Encourage students to reflect on the importance of positionality within academic study.

Outline Of Syllabus

Few issues in Middle East politics are more controversial than gender and sexuality. But the vibrancy and diversity of movements for gender and sexual emancipation are all too often obscured by media stereotypes, or depictions of the region as peculiarly patriarchal. This course offers a critical, in-depth exploration of gender and sexuality politics in the Middle East, from colonialism up to the present day.

It will explore questions such as: how have sexualities shaped, and been shaped by, colonial projects in the region? How are wars and occupations justified in the name of women’s liberation, and can they ever be liberatory? How have experiences of refugeehood both reinforced and challenged gendered oppression? How do people understand their sexual identities, and how are these identities similar and different to western contexts? In what ways has sport been a site of gender and sexuality politics? How did the Arab Uprisings in the 2010s interact with women’s long-standing struggles for equality?

The overall course will involve studying Arab-majority and non-Arab-majority contexts in the Middle East and North Africa. To allow you to explore a range of contexts, this module deliberates employs an expansive understanding of ‘the Middle East.’ Although not all of these contexts will be covered in the course materials, students can choose to focus their assignments on any of the following contexts: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kurdistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, and Yemen.

The specific topics studied may include:
•       Gender, sexuality and colonialism
•       Patriarchy and the post-independence nation
•       Gender, war and occupation
•       Gendered experiences of refugeehood
•       The gendered nature of labour markets and labour migration
•       Queer NGOs and social movements
•       The Arab Uprisings from a gender perspective
•       LGBT*Q politics
•       Gender and sport

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Lectures
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities114:0044:00Guided reading for seminar preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1121:00121:00Wider reading of syllabus, assessment preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Modules talks for assessment preparation; one for each summative assignment.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will be organised around a specific theme. They will introduce students to key concepts and ideas, regional trends, as well as specific case studies. These case studies will be varied across the course, exposing students to a wide range of contexts, including both Arab-majority and non-Arab majority contexts. Seminars will involve the discussion of key readings and case studies, and will facilitate a critical engagement with the subject matter. This is complemented by students’ guided independent study, including both wider reading from the syllabus and assessment preparation and completion. The 'module talks' will offer students an in-depth introduction to the summative assessments and a chance to ask questions about them.

Overall, these teaching methods will support students in developing their knowledge of gender and sexuality politics in the region and their ability to approach and analyse the topics at hand from feminist perspectives. Critical analytical thinking and written communication skills are further developed through the assessments. Time management, planning and organisational skills are developed throughout the module.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M251000 words
Essay2A752500 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Research proposal2MN/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment Rationale and Relationship:
The case study (25%) will develop and test students’ independent research skills and their ability to draw links between key concepts, ideas and academic literature, and a case study of relevance to the course.

The essay (75%) will allow students the opportunity for more in-depth exploration and to develop their skills of feminist analysis of gender and sexuality. Through this assignment, they will be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge, understanding and analysis of relevant concepts and empirical events, and apply key concepts and approaches to case studies from the region.

The research proposal (formative assignment) will allow students to receive feedback on their plans for the essay.

Taken together, the assignments ensure that students will engage with multiple aspects of the course, and both summative assignments will assess critical thinking, written communication, and argumentation.

Reading Lists