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

Postgraduate Course: Survey in Middle Eastern Politics (PGSP11572)

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 Middle East has been systematically presented as an exceptional region. Exceptionalism has worked not simply as a misrepresentation of reality, but also as a destructive tool that has resulted into intrusive interventions, including military ones. In this survey course, we problematise this perception through following global links in studying the politics of the region and show how exceptionalism is not simply a misrepresentation of reality, it also leads to destructive consequences.

Topics will include, but not exclusively: orientalism, political Islam, colonialism and anti-colonial movements, state formation and state-building, oil and political economy, nationalism, democracy and authoritarianism, military interventions, human rights and international law, and gender.
Course description - Academic Description
This course will problematise the exceptionalist paradigm often adopted to understand the Middle East by providing a critical review of topics in the study of the politics of the region and the nature of the regional and international dynamics in the Middle Eastern context. Conceptually, we will survey and assess the key theoretical approaches developed in different disciplinary fields on the key topics surveyed in the course. Analytically, we will explore, also through the use of comparisons, the key arguments that can be developed against exceptionalist paradigms. Critically, we will explore the implications of thinking the Middle East outside the exceptionalist.

- Outline Content
o Introduction: exceptions, interventions, and the global.
o Orientalism and the Study of the Middle East
o The Colonial and the Anti-Colonial
o The State in the Middle East
o Nationalism in the Middle East
o Democracy and Authoritarianism
o Political Islam
o Rentierism
o Gender
o International Law and Human Rights

- Student Learning Experience
This will be a team-taught course by the teaching staff at PIR who are part of the Middle East Research Group. This will provide the students to be exposed to different expertise on the politics and international relations of the region, and also engage with all of our expert staff.

The course will be delivered through seminars where students will have an opportunity to engage with the readings and ideas in an open and positive environment. Students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes through two main assessments: a book review and a research paper to be delivered at the end of the term.

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
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Book Review (1500 words) 40%. Each student will choose one book to review from a list that is provided in the Handbook.
2. Research Paper (3000 words) 60%. Students have to submit a research paper on a topic that is related to the course material and in coordination with the course organizer.
Feedback - Book reviews and research papers will be returned before research paper submitted.
- Feedback on student inquiries regarding assignments and readings will be provided during course organiser's guidance and feedback hours and during tutorials.
- Feedback on participation will be provided during course organiser's guidance and feedback hours.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the key topics and global political dynamics of the Middle East critically reviewed in this course;
  2. Identify, have a deep understanding, and critically and independently analyse key concepts, theories, and academic debates examined in this course;
  3. Compare in an enhanced and in depth manner the empirical Middle Eastern cases discussed in this course;
  4. Engage with core texts and articulate an informed view about complex current debates
Reading List
- Abu Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim Women Need Saving?
- Mitchell, Timothy. The Rule of Experts
- Said, Edward. Orientalism
- Schayegh, Cyrus. The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World.
- Vitalis, Robert. Oilcraft
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Critical thinking, analytical and reading skills will be developed by deep engagement with the assigned readings
2. Advanced research skills will be developed by identifying and consulting with a wide range of sources in preparing the research paper
3. Effective written and oral communication skills will be developed by completing the assessments and class participation.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Nida Alahmad
Tel: (0131 6)51 1368
Course secretaryMs Emilia Czatkowska
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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