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Course Description
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The Middle East Changing World 1LIB604
University of Westminster
London, England

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
Liberal Arts and Sciences; Political Science 300 English 4 50 n/a

This class seeks to understand the Middle East against the backdrop of a dynamically
changing world, politically, economically and culturally. It takes issues with Orientalist
interpretations which picture the region as ‘out of step with history’, and allows the student to re-think the Middle East by considering the ways in which global economic, social and political factors are creating new forms of activity and new forms of politics in the region.

The class will do this by investigating key issues: democratic transition and human rights;
gender equality; religious competition; authority and interpretation; the rise of political
Islam; oil wealth; the rising pan-Arab satellite TV industry; peace-making, especially in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will also introduce students to an appreciation of external dynamics, and compares the roles played in the Middle East by the US and the EU.

The class aims at enabling students to appreciate how theoretical and practical questions
are being made salient by such changes as the interaction of bottom-up and top-down
politics, the rise of Islam as a global religious force, the emergence of a information-age
media, and the development of new social movements in the area of political and moral

By the end of the class, students are expected to be able to:
· demonstrate an understanding of ‘Middle East politics’;
· show evidence of relevant reading and evaluation of sources;
· show awareness of the variety of academic interpretations, with an understanding of
· recognise and explain the complexity of political
· develop analytical skills of Middle Eastern issues, and communicate findings in
written and oral form.


The class is delivered via lectures and seminars. Lectures last for approximately one hour, and provide key knowledge and interpretations upon which students will build with their own reading. Seminars are based on group presentations, encouraging teamwork. They allow student-led discussion of set questions, thus providing opportunities for supervised group work, problem-solving, application of concepts and theories and other forms of student interaction.


Assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and
understanding of a number of key issues in contemporary international relations. The
journal article review exercise allows students the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in reading and assimilating volumes of material, and of evaluating and appraising a text. The group presentation allows students to master a topic, and practise the key skills of group work, use of ICT, and oral communication. The essay lets students demonstrate their knowledge, understanding, argumentation, and their abilities to work unassisted and communicate effectively in writing, by drawing on relevant scholarship


1,200 word journal article or book chapter review 20%
Group Presentation (45 Minutes) 20%
2,500 word essay 60%


For the article review, students are expected to demonstrate that they can:
· Chose an appropriate and relevant book for review;
· Read the text in a timely manner;
· Assimilate and summarise the author’s arguments and ideas;
· Evaluate the text and assess its contribution to the understanding of ‘Middle East
For the group presentation, students are expected to demonstrate that they can:
· Work effectively as part of a group, which includes the allocation of individual
· Research an assignment set by the class tutor;
· Construct and conduct an effective oral presentation as a group, using PowerPoint;
· Critically answer the question set;
· Stimulate class discussion and respond to queries.
For the essay, students are expected to demonstrate that they can:
· Attempt questions on a variety of key issues in contemporary international issues
and define key concepts;
· Formulate and structure an argument which directly addresses and answers the
question set and which is based upon knowledge imparted in class and through
· Express an informed opinion, demonstrate the ability for informed thinking.


Essential Reading
Larbi Sadiki The Search for Arab Democracy (NewYork: Columbia University Press, 2004). Also published in the UK by Hurst Publishers.
Tareq Y. Ismael (ed.), The International Relations of the Middle East in the 21st Century: Patterns of Continuity and Change (London: Ashgate, 2000).
Tareq Y. Ismael Middle East Politics Today: Government and
Civil Society (Gainesville, FL.: University Press of Florida, 2001).
Clement Moore Henry & Robert Springborg, Globalisation and the Politics of Development in the Middle East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
John Waterbury, The Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996).
W. Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East 2nd edition (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999).

Periodical Resources
Middle East Journal
Middle Eastern Politics
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
The Journal of North African Studies
Journal of Palestine Studies
Middle East Policy
Arab Studies Quaterly

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