The Middle East in Global Politics
What do we mean by the Middle East – east of where, and why? How should we go about studying the political aspirations and agency of almost half a billion people? To what extent are their fates tied to great power politics, and how can we account for phenomena of cooperation and solidarity in their regional affairs? Can we draw a clear line between the local and the global in Middle East politics?
This module will help students deliberate all these questions, by placing the modern Middle East in its global context without losing sight of local and regional dynamics, cultures, and political traditions. We will explore histories of empire and decolonisation, alongside themes of hegemony and resistance, conflict and cooperation, identity and foreign policy. The module is informed by critical engagement with theories of international relations.
The course begins with an exploration of the different historical phases of interaction between Middle East states and the international system. These are divided into the colonial, decolonisation, and post-Cold War periods. Lectures and tutorials will cover the early settler colonies, Britain’s informal empire in the Gulf, and the Anglo-French mandates, as well as the emergence of Turkey and Israel, and the challenge represented by the pan-Arabist revolutionary states, followed by discussion of the Middle East’s place in the post-Cold War unipolar era. We will discuss each of these phases in tandem with relevant paradigms from international relations theory used to study the Middle East in its international context. The module then moves to tackle key themes in international relations, such as transnationalism, international political economy, and the politics of security, before taking a closer look at key actors in regional foreign policy making. It closes by addressing contemporary challenges that have arisen since the Arab uprisings. Over the three weeks, module activities, debates, and fieldtrips will enhance both teaching and learning on the module.
On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate familiarity and critical engagement with the theories of international relations and foreign policy analysis relevant to themes in Middle East regional and international politics;
- Demonstrate a strong grasp of the history of the region since its emergence as a modern state system at the turn of the last century;
- Demonstrate familiarity with the relevant theoretical debates and empirical cases pertaining to issues of Middle East regional and international politics;
- Marshal empirical evidence in argument-driven presentations in class
- Inspire students to continue with further study or interest in the Middle East.
The unique and vibrant cultural landscape of London provides the perfect setting for the activities that complement this module. These usually include a guided tour of the Mosaic Rooms Gallery and QnA with the Director, a guided tour of the British Museum’s Islamic Art Gallery and QnA with its lead Curator, film screenings followed by discussion, and seminars delivered by human rights practitioners and democracy activists from the Middle East. The activities are designed to enhance learning outcomes, and to foster rapport within the classroom, forming some of the highlights of the course. Activities’ precise times and venues are confirmed in the month prior to the start of the module.
Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl is Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East at SOAS, University of London. She teaches courses on the Comparative Politics and International Relations of the Middle East, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She was previously Lecturer at Durham University and Jarvis Doctorow Junior Research Fellow at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.
Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.
Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and a Record of Study will be available on request.
I. PART ONE: APPROACHES AND HISTORICAL PHASES
1. Introduction: What is the Middle East?
2. Empire and the Middle East State System
3. Postcolonial Approaches
4. Decolonisation and The Cold War
5. Structuralist and Constructivist Approaches
II. PART TWO: KEY THEMES
6. Pan-Arabism and Pan-Islamism
7. States, Markets, Oil
8. The 'War on Terror': Political Violence and International Solidarity
9. Rethinking Security: Critical Approaches
III. PART THREE: KEY ACTORS
10. Israel/Palestine in Historical Context
11. Israel/Palestine after the Oslo Accords
12. Egypt in Global Politics
13. Iran in Global Politics
14. Turkey in Global Politics
15. The Gulf in Global Politics
IV. PART FOUR: CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES
16. Origins of the Arab Uprisings
17. Fortunes of the Arab Uprisings
18. The Yemen War in Context
Assessment: is optional and will be in the form of a 2000-2500 word essay to be handed in 2 weeks after the end of the course.
Teaching & Learning
46 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.
Monday - Friday, 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc).
A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.
10% discount if you apply by 31 March 2019
20% discount for our partner institutions
Accommodation is available to Summer School students at the SOAS halls of residence, Dinwiddy House. For more details of how to book a room please visit the Dinwiddy House accommodation page.
We have a wide range of scholarships and awards to support students on our degree programmes.
There is a competitive application process for these scholarships and awards – based on academic merit. And their focus can range from supporting students from specific countries or a group of countries, to particular degrees or areas of research.
We also offer a number of bursaries based on financial need at undergraduate level.
In order to join our Summer School, you will need to meet the following entry requirements:
- A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age.
Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
- A minimum English language requirement if English is not your first language:
- IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
- TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills.
- Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
- If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
- Applicants with an alternative qualification should contact us for advice.
- Applicants whose English language level do not meet out requirements may be interested in our subject based courses with English language support.
Enrolment of Summer School applicants who don’t meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us in detail about your application
Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.
31 May 2019
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