Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Undergraduate Course: Reading Arab Feminist Texts: Key Debates on Women's Rights in the Arab World (IMES10093)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides a survey of key Arab feminist texts produced by writers, thinkers, and activists during the 20th and 21st centuries. As this is a language-based course, these texts will be read in the original Arabic alongside secondary sources that illuminate the central debates these texts engage with.
Course description This is a language-based discursive course designed to enable students to examine key Arab feminist texts and to consider these within broader social, cultural, and political contexts. It aims to historicise and explore the development of central debates on women's rights in the Arab world, including such issues as women's education, access to the public sphere, sexuality, the veil, and secular/religious feminisms. A selection of key texts by writers, thinkers, and activists from across the Arab world (such as Nawal El-Saadawi, Fatima Mernissi, and others) will be read and translated from the Arabic by students throughout the semester. These texts may be autobiographical, creative, documentary, or theoretical in nature. Alongside this translation exercise, students will read relevant secondary texts that both contextualise and illustrate the arguments of the primary texts. Some of the primary texts will also be available in English. The course draws on and develops students' linguistic abilities while simultaneously introducing important milestones and tensions in the struggle for women's rights in the Arab world.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact IMES Teaching Office before enrolling to this course (
Additional Costs 0
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must be proficient in Arabic and should contact the Course Organiser prior to enrolling in this course to check the level of their linguistic abilities.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Participation: 10% of total mark (engagement with weekly prompts)
Translations: 3 assignments x 10% (30% of total mark)
On campus Exam: 60% of total mark
Feedback Ongoing feedback in online and in-person class discussions.
Summative feedback for participation, coursework, and final exam.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Read and translate Arabic feminist texts into English.
  2. Critically engage with a variety of Arab feminist texts by situating them within their broader cultural, political, and historical contexts.
  3. Synthesise primary and secondary texts to map the development of key debates on women's rights in the Arab world.
  4. Evaluate current discussions of women's rights in the Arab world and continued feminist struggles in light of these earlier developments.
Reading List
Preliminary reading list:
Badran, Margot and Cooke, Miriam (eds.), Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing, (1990), Virago Press: London.
Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Jean Said Makdishi, Noha Bayoumi, and Rafif Rida (eds.), Arab Feminisms: Gender and Equality in the Middle East. I.B. Tauris: London and New York.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will benefit from the development of several applied skills and generic cognitive skills at the SCQF level 10 such as being able to critically identify, define, conceptualise and analyse complex problems and issues related to women's rights and gender equality in the Arab world, as well as critically reviewing and consolidating knowledge and skills as applied to the texts under study within this course. Students' communication skills will also develop through oral presentations and written assessment. These skills are transferable to professional settings. Due to the interdisciplinary composition of this course, students will also cultivate subject-specific skills, as outlined in the Area Studies subject benchmark statement. Specifically, students will develop their skills in a language other than English (Arabic in this case) and an ability to deploy these language skills, at an appropriate level, within a research context.
KeywordsArab women,feminism,Arabic,women¿s rights,gender equality
Course organiserDr Ebtihal Mahadeen
Tel: (0131 6)50 4463
Course secretaryMr Iain Harrison
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information