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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Political Islam in the Middle East (PGSP11298)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe rise of political Islam across the Middle East, and beyond, has been one of the most consequential developments in regional politics for at least the last 40 years. In recent years violent Islamism, such as that of the Islamic State, has grabbed the headlines, but political Islam is a diverse and multifaceted phenomenon, most of whose adherents do not pursue violent strategies. This course examines political Islam, or 'Islamism', as a complex and contested political phenomenon. It provides a historical background to some of Islamism¿s most important manifestations in the Middle East before focussing on more contemporary developments and dynamics.
Course description The course is delivered via weekly 2-hour seminar, where the emphasis is on discussion and collective exploration of themes and topics, rather than lecturing. Each session will begin with an introduction by the course organiser, covering important background and contextual material relating to the topic of the week. This introductory talk will typically NOT summarise or evaluate the assigned readings, which will form the basis of subsequent student-led discussions. Some or all of the remaining 2-hours will involve smaller group activities and discussion.

Consistent and thorough preparation is necessary to get the most out of the course. It is crucial that all essential readings be completed before each seminar. Since students come to the course with different levels or prior knowledge, essential readings do not necessarily cover background information about specific groups or historical periods. As such, students are strongly encouraged to supplement the assigned reading with their own research, to regularly consult one of the course books suggested above and/or to refer to general works on Middle East politics and history where appropriate. The course does not aspire to cover every aspect or manifestation of Islamism, which would be impossible given its historical, ideological and geographical breadth. The readings and discussions focus on cases from the Middle East and North Africa, but students are welcome to explore Islamist politics beyond the Middle East both in the seminar discussions and, with the approval of the course organiser, for their final essays.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a detailed knowledge of the main trends of political Islam in the Middle East
  2. Have an ability to analyse political Islam using theories of International Relations and Comparative Politics
  3. Have a critical understanding of diverse scholarly and political approaches to political Islam in the Middle East
  4. Have an ability to discuss and debate political Islam in the context of Middle East politics and International Relations more broadly
  5. Have an nuanced understanding of links between manifestations of Islamism at local, national, regional and global levels
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Weekly 2-hour seminar
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Ewan Stein
Tel: (0131 6)50 4264
Course secretary
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