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Politics and Culture in the Middle East (PO398)

The Middle East has long been a region of particular interest for scholars of politics. From the 2010/2011 Arab revolutions to the emergence of ISIS and the Syrian refugee crisis, it is a region that continues to fill news bulletins and raise questions about the future of the global order. Its long history as well as its strategic geographic location have rendered it central to global economic and political processes. The modern period is no exception, with the emergence of the oil monarchies in the Gulf, the radical decolonization movements across North Africa, and the most recent wave of uprisings that began in 2010 in Tunisia. Despite the importance of the region, however, it remains an area that confounds many. Scholarly approaches to the Middle East have often tended to ignore history and global factors, including the role of colonialism and global power politics in shaping the region. This module departs from these approaches by using postcolonial and critical understandings of politics to understand the economic and political change. This challenges Eurocentric and ahistorical understandings of the region, and tries to understand Middle East politics on its own terms.

This module focuses on uncovering the multiple levels of political change in the Middle East in order to answer key questions about the nature of political, economic, and social life across the region. The broad aim of this module is to delve into the political history of the modern Middle East by looking at politics through multiple lenses. By tracing both domination and resistance; revolution and repression; gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social categories; as well as the shifting positioning of states at the local, regional and international level, this module offers an exciting and innovative window into a region that continues to be central to global politics


Module Director:

Sara Salem


This module is worth 15 CATS.