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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Revolution and Reform in the Modern Middle East (HIST10489)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology 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
SummaryThe course introduces students to key themes in Middle Eastern history, with a focus on revolution and reform. It focuses on 9 case-studies starting the middle of the 19thc and takes us to the 2011 revolutions. The course deepens students' knowledge of specific local contexts across the Ottoman Empire, Iran, Egypt, the Levant, the Maghreb and the Gulf. It is grounded in analysis of primary sources from these cases, ranging from feminist hunger strikes to constitutional reforms, and from political prisoners' writings to photographs and film. The variety of themes and types of sources covered should be of interest to students interested in the Middle East as well as students interested in social, cultural an intellectual history in non-European contexts.
Course description The history of the modern Middle East has been shaped by moments of profound change: constitutional revolutions and peasant revolts, anti-colonial revolutions and military coups d'├ętat, scientific revolutions and popular uprisings. This course grounds students' understanding of revolution in the Middle East in deeper processes of reform, state-building and sustained social movement. It encourages students to see revolution and reform not as opposite sides of a binary but as processes along a continuum of forces driving historical change.

The course moves through Iran, Turkey, North Africa, the Levant and the Gulf starting in the middle of the 19th century and extending to the 2011 Revolts. It provides a survey of key moments of revolution and reform that have shaped the region through an exploration of a series of pertinent conceptual and historiographical questions. In short, it asks: how have revolutions and reform shaped the past and present of the Middle East? It opens with an introductory conceptual discussion on ideas of revolution, reform, constitutionalism, and science. In each of the following weeks, we explore a specific concept or historical agent (eg peasantry, state-sanctioned reform, women's movements, political Islam, carceral regimes) through an analysis of a particular case study. Students are encouraged to draw on conceptual and historiographical discussions from previous weeks as we progress through the course. The course will deepen students' knowledge of histories, geographies and concepts that have made (and unmade) the states and societies of the Modern Middle East.

Content note: The study of History inevitably involves the study of difficult topics that we encourage students to approach in a respectful, scholarly, and sensitive manner. Nevertheless, we remain conscious that some students may wish to prepare themselves for the discussion of difficult topics. In particular, the course organiser has outlined that the following topics may be discussed in this course, whether in class or through required or recommended primary and secondary sources: colonial and state violence, gender-based violence (including sexual assault), carceral violence (including torture), references to suicide. While this list indicates sensitive topics students are likely to encounter, it is not exhaustive because course organisers cannot entirely predict the directions discussions may take in tutorials or seminars, or through the wider reading that students may conduct for the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of key processes of revolution and reform, and the way in which they have shaped the Modern Middle East.
  2. Critically reflect on the complex relationship of reform and revolution and analyse it using different analytical approaches.
  3. Demonstrate an ability to discern key historiographical debates, and an understanding of genealogical and meta-geographical connections.
  4. Analyse, assess, and reflect on primary sources and secondary, and utilize them in constructing rigorous historical arguments in both verbal and written format.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to work autonomously, think critically and learn from peer groups.
Reading List
Abd el-Fattah, Alaa, and Naomi Klein. You Have Not yet Been Defeated: Selected Works 2011-2021, 2022.
Abrahamian, Ervand. A History of Modern Iran, 2019.
Bayat, Asef, and Linda Herrera. Global Middle East: Into the Twenty-First Century, 2021.
Chalcraft, John T. Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, 2016.
Gelvin, James L. The Modern Middle East: A History, 2020.
Hanssen, Jens, and Max Weiss. Arabic Thought against the Authoritarian Age towards an Intellectual History of the Present, 2019.
---. Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda, 2020.
Howard, Douglas A. A History of the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
Lockman, Zachary and Cambridge University Press. Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
McDougall, James. A History of Algeria, 2017.
Pappe, Ilan. The Modern Middle East: A Social and Cultural History. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014.
Takriti, Abdel Razzaq. Monsoon Revolution. Oxford Univ Press, 2016.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Upon completion of the course students will attain:

Curiosity for learning that makes a positive difference: an inquisitive approach to grounding students' understanding of the contemporary Middle East in relevant historiographical debates.
Passion to engage locally and globally: ability to discern how global moments of change have shaped the modern Middle East and have been shaped by it.
Ability to answer complex questions drawing on primary and secondary sources.
Ability to critically reflect on primary sources and the conditions of their creation.
Ability to present analysis clearly to an audience.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Hana Sleiman
Course secretaryMiss Mel Baker
Tel: (0131 6)50 4030
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