module specification

GI5063 - Politics of the Middle East (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Politics of the Middle East
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
84 hours Guided independent study
30 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay (2500 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

On this module, you will develop your understanding of politics in the Middle East. We will focus on developments across the region and place them in the context of contemporary international relations. In particular, the module aims to: explain the processes by which the states and societies of the contemporary Middle East were formed; explore the main ideological currents that have influenced the political development of the Middle East, particularly those inspired by religion and nationalism; and examine the international relations of the region, focusing on the sources of conflicts and the difficult relationship between the West and the Middle East.

The module is required for students following the Global South pathway on the BA International Relations.

Prior learning requirements

None. Available for Study Abroad.


The module focuses on the internal political, social and economic dynamics of the region and the external forces affecting it (LO2). It considers the impact of the Ottoman Empire, European imperialism, international communism and the United States in this respect (LO1, 3). In exploring the evolution of societies and polities in the contemporary Middle East, it deals with the significance of concepts of religious faith, community, tribe, clan, nation, class and the state (LO1). The module devotes particular attention to key themes such as Zionism, Arab nationalism, the global strategic importance of Middle Eastern oil, political liberalisation and democracy, and the varied expressions of Islam in politics (LO3).

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching consists of a weekly two-hour lecture period followed by a one-hour seminar. Lectures will involve a combination of taught lectures, videos and the use of first-hand documents and websites. Blended learning will be a key component of the module. Lecture notes and first-hand documents for use in class will be posted online, as will web links for academic and governmental websites, as well as video links.

Questions for class discussion will be available from the beginning of the module via the Weblearn site, which will include a list of resources students can use to answer the questions and study the subject in greater depth.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the background to contemporary political developments in the MENA region.
2. Analyse the political, religious, social and economic forces that have shaped the region in the 20th and 21st centuries.
3. Comprehend the significance of the Middle East in international affairs and explain why it is a focus of conflict.
4. Communicate effectively in speech and writing (for example, writing an essay using commonly accepted standards of definition, analysis, grammatical prose, and documentation).

Assessment strategy

At an early stage of the module, students will be asked to complete a brief country-by-country survey of the main demographic and economic indicators and forms of government to ensure they dispose of the necessary background information to fully benefit from the module. Key employability skills focused on will include: research involving information retrieval from a variety of resources and organization and presentation of the material.
The summative essay of 2,500 words will provide students with the opportunity to submit a major piece of work on a key element of the module. Students will be provided with individual support and feedback to enable them to produce the best possible work. This will enable students to develop employability skills additional to those introduced during the formative assessment, including writing, reflecting on what they have learnt, drawing together a range of materials into a coherent structure and making use of constructive feedback.