Postgraduate Course: Gulf Politics (PLIT11020)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course offers taught postgraduate students an introduction to the history, politics, and development of the Gulf states of the Middle East. A distinct sub-system of the region, the resourcerich states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran command enduring relevance within the international system. The course deploys political economy as a theoretical framework to (1) reveal trajectories of state formation influenced by the discovery of oil and other hydrocarbons and (2) analyse how resource abundance continues to influence state behaviour at the regional and international levels. Students will complete the course having gained an insight into how these conservative states have responded to the challenges of political reform, economic diversification, climate change, instability and insecurity to consolidate influence in the international system.
This course offers taught postgraduate students an introduction to the history, politics, and development of the Gulf states of the Middle East. A distinct sub-system of the region, the resourcerich states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran command enduring relevance within the international system. The course deploys political economy as a theoretical framework to (1) reveal trajectories of state formation influenced by the discovery of oil and other hydrocarbons and (2) analyse how resource abundance continues to influence state behaviour at the regional and international levels. Students will complete the course having gained an insight into how these conservative states have responded to the challenges of political reform, economic diversification, climate change, instability and insecurity to consolidate influence in the international system.
The following outline provides an indicative list of key issues and themes covered in this course (note that these can vary year-by-year):
- Colonial legacies in the Gulf region
- Forms of government and the politics of succession
- Resource abundance and trajectories of state formation - Failed monarchies: Iraq & Iran
- Failed monarchies: Iraq & Iran
- Collective security and the Gulf Cooperation Council
- Regional conflicts: The Iran-Iraq War, The First Gulf War and Saudi Arabia and the Yemen Civil War
- International media and regional politics: Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyya
- Gulf responses to the Arab Spring in comparative perspective
- Competitive rivalries: Saudi Arabia/Iran & 2017 GCC Diplomatic Crisis
- Strategies of transition to a post-oil era: Environmentalism and Gender
Student Learning Experience
The course will be delivered in 10 x 2-hour convenor-led seminar which will take a more student focused approach. Active participation and interaction are key in this course so seminars will include structured debates, small group work and student presentations. These will be based around assigned readings and case studies provided in advance. Detailed written guidance for each of the assessments will be offered at the beginning of the course. Comprehensive feedback will be provided on each written assessment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
|| 1. A 1500 word book review related to Gulf politics in general, or to the themes discussed in the course. It forms 30% of total grade. This will be due around week 4 of the course and will allow students to consolidate their analytical and academic writing skills before the more heavily weighted essay.
2. A 2500 word essay on a question selected from a pre-assigned list of essay questions. It forms 60% of the total grade. This will be due at the end of the course and is an opportunity for students to demonstrate how they would place their knowledge and understanding of Gulf politics in a broader theoretical context.
3. Seminar participation forms 10% of the total grade. Seminar participation will be divided between 5% on participation in the weekly seminars and 5% for a group activity. For the former, feedback will be provided, and marks awarded based on consistent, well informed contributions. Criteria for assessing seminar participation will be provided to students in the course handbook. The latter component will consist of a group activity and will involve small group preparation and coordination thus allowing students to demonstrate enhanced written and verbal communication skills.
||Students will have two opportunities to reflect on the feedback received for their performance in the course. These are the book review and the essay. The essay is a more substantial piece of work than the book review, so students can use their feedback reflections to build on previous work and improve their performance.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Distinguish the diverse nature of development patterns in the states of the Gulf region
- Be able to place contemporary political dynamics within a broader historical, social and political context
- Apply this knowledge to larger explanatory controversies in political science and international relations
- Interrogate and appraise different theories related to the political economy of development i.e. modernisation theory; the concept of rentierism; democratisation and authoritarianism
- Enhance communication and critical debate skills through participation in seminar discussions and written assessments
|Al-Rasheed, Madawi. A Most Masculine State. Gender, Politics and Religion in Saudi Arabia. Cambridge University Press, 2013 |
Barnett, M. N. Dialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order, New York, Columbia University Press, 1998.
Hanieh, A. Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States. London: Palgrave McMillan, 2011
Heard-Bey, F. "Conflict Resolution and Regional Co-Operation: The Role of the Gulf Co-Operation Council `1970-2002." Middle Eastern Studies, 2006
Herb, Michael. The Wages of Oil. Parliaments and Economic Development in the UAE and Kuwait. Ithaca:
Cornell University Press, 2014
Hertog, S. 'State and Private Sector in the GCC after the Arab Uprisings'. Journal of Arabian Studies, 3 (2).
Kamrava, M. The International Politics of the Persian Gulf. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2012
Matthiesen, T. Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Spring that wasn't. Stanford University Press, 2013
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||By the end of the course, students should have developed and strengthened their skills in:
- Grasping complex arguments and conceptualisations, and using them to develop an independent line of argument
- Processing and interpreting information, and presenting it orally, visually and in writing
- Working effectively with others in collaborative activities and making an individual contribution to the course
|Course organiser||Dr Lucy Abbott
Tel: (0131 6)50 8254
|Course secretary||Mrs Casey Behringer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2456