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GD301 - Extinction and Survival: Paradigms from the "Middle East"

  • Module code: GD301
  • Module name: Extinction and Survival: Paradigms from the "Middle East"
  • Department: Global Sustainable Development
  • Credit: 30

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

The module is structured in such a way as to facilitate the examination of a paradigm that has characterised the experience of peoples living in the area commonly designated as “Middle-East”. The tension between Extinction & Survival manifests itself historically with the debate around nomadism and sedentary living in the writing of Ibn Khaldun (14 A.D.) and continues in the 20th century with the Pan-Arabist movement led by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1952, and culminates in the 2011 revolutionary movements commonly known as the “Arab Uprisings”. The module is premised on the idea that what belies these existentialist debates is a concern around the survival of tribes and nations that are unified by language and, to some extent, religion but that are otherwise diverse and distrusting of each other. The module engages with social, political, economic and environmental debates and allows you to delve into philosophical and literary narratives around individual and national identities.

Principal learning outcomes

Upon completing this module, you will be able to demonstrate: ◾An ability to engage critically with the debates that surround the controversial use of the terms “Middle East”, “Arab”, “Islamism”, “Political Islam”, “Arab Spring” and provide an evidence-based explanation of their origins and their use both in common parlance and academic scholarship; ◾An advanced knowledge of the geographic changes that have affected the region, and of the political motivations that have informed the cartography of the “Middle East”; ◾A detailed and evidence-based understanding of the economic, environmental and social factors that inform the inhabitants’ relationship to space and their sense of place; ◾Your ability to reflect critically on the paradigms of Extinction & Survival and analyse the ways in which these have shaped the region’s political and social configuration; ◾Your ability to conduct in-depth textual analysis of primary sources, including speeches, essays, films, documentaries and works of fiction; ◾An advanced capability to undertake research and produce original arguments focussed on a problem relating to the paradigms of Extinction & Survival;

Timetabled teaching activities

6 x 1 hour lectures across terms 1 and 2; 20 x 2 hour seminars across terms 1, 2 and 3; 2 x 2.,5 hour film screenings (one each in terms 1 and 2)

Departmental link

Other essential notes

Available at 30 CATS only to Global Sustainable Development students. Not available to students outside GSD

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
30 CATS (Module code: GD301-30)
A (Assessed work only) Book of Commonplace entries (10 x 500 words) 25%
  Class test (90 minutes) 20%
  Group Presentations (2 x 15 minutes) 15%
  4000 word Research Paper or Individual Project 40%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core