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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Anthropology

Undergraduate Course: Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa (SCAN10073)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an overview of contemporary Arabic-speaking societies through an approach that emphasizes anthropological themes as the main focus of analysis and ethnography as the key way of knowing.
Course description This course invites students to discover North African and Middle Eastern societies through an anthropological lens, focusing on places where the main language is Arabic (it does not cover Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan or other parts of the "Greater Middle East" or "Islamic World"). The course themes include a variety of cultural forms and life experiences that anthropologists of this region have regarded as key to its study, for example men, women and family; honour, shame and modesty; colonialism, the colonial legacy, and modernity; nationalism, ethnicity and language; religious piety; etc.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Anthropology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Acquire detailed knowledge of contemporary Arabic-speaking societies through an approach that emphasizes anthropological themes as the main focus of analysis and ethnography as the key way of knowing.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to apply anthropological sources and the analyses they propose in order to critically understand and interpret primary (e.g. a an Arabic language film) and secondary (e.g. an English-language media article) sources that purport to tell us something about 'the Arab world'.
  3. Assess competing claims and different analytic approaches within the anthropological literature on the Middle East and North Africa in a manner that critically examines their strengths and weaknesses in order to make informed judgments about them.
  4. Take responsibility for their own work and learning, and review their own summative work and that of peers in a critical manner that strives for improvement through feedback.
Reading List
Armbrust W (1996) Mass culture and modernism in Egypt. Cambridge University Press Cambridge.
Caton S C (1990) "Peaks of Yemen I summon": poetry as cultural practice in a North Yemeni tribe. University of California Press Berkeley ; Oxford.
Mahmood, S (2005) The Politics of Piety. Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press.
Messick, Brinkley (1993). The Calligraphic State: Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.
Scheele J (2015) Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara: Regional Connectivity in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press Cambridge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills -Apply substantive knowledge and analytic skills derived from ethnography┬┐s sympathetic, detailed, and grounded approach in order to critically evaluate materials discussing the Middle the East in a more informed fashion, and arrive at defensible and sensitive positions on topics relating to Arabic-speaking societies.

-Take significant responsibility for their own work and learning, including critically reviewing their own work and that of peers in a manner that allows them to improve. This reflects the conditions under which people produce work outside the university, promoting the skills through which students will become effective independent, lifelong learners and practitioners by developing the capacity to make judgments about their own work and that of others (not just to receive feedback, but to formulate it also).
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jamie Furniss
Tel: (0131 6)51 5675
Course secretaryMiss Lauren Ayre
Tel: (0131 6)50 2010
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