This module 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 module 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 module 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 protest.