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Economies of the Middle East


Admission requirements



This course examines the economy/ies of the contemporary Middle East. It seeks to provide students with an overview of the political economy of the region and its economic conditions, and equip them to analyse these in a sound and critical manner. The course begins with a broad overview of the ways scholars have conceptualized the political economy of the Middle East, and an exploration of the economic history of the region. It then tackles particular economic issues thematically, connecting these with the pertinent historical frameworks while rooting the discussion in relevant theoretical debates. The course situates the development trajectories and theoretical debates within a broader context of international economic development and transformations in the global economy.

Course objectives

  • Evaluate the path of capitalism throughout the region

  • Examine legacies of imperialism and their impact on current economic and political conditions

  • Deepen understanding of demographic challenges and opportunities

  • Articulate the costs and benefits of import-substitution industrialization, neoliberalism, and state-led capitalism, among others

  • Discuss the impact of oil on the region, understand the concept of rentierism, and the resource curse debates

  • Examine income stagnation, poverty, and unemployment

  • Explore debates around gender and the economy

  • Interpret the region’s economy in both state/civil society and state/class paradigms

  • Become familiar with competing perspectives on development outcomes in the region


For all timetables of the Faculty of Humanities consult the tool My Timetable | Video instruction | Detailed instructions

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Lectures are an important component of this course, and the study programme. To improve chances of success, students are strongly advised to attend and participate in all sessions..

Assessment method

Partial Assessment Weighing
Mid-term examination 40%
Final Examination (take home) 60%

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


There is only a resit for the final examination, which will count for 60%.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

All literature is available digitally through the Leiden University colections. Students should come to class having read the material, and prepared to participate in classroom discussions and activities. Readings will draw from the following texts:

  1. Melani Cammett, Ishac Diwan, Alan Richards, and John Waterbury. A Political Economy of the Middle East, 4th Edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 2015
  2. Adam Hanieh. Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013.
  3. Other course readings are available in electronic format through the library website or from other online sources. Other materials will be available through the course Brightspace page.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.




Students should arrive to class early. If late, they should not enter the class until the break. Students should arrive at the lectures having read the required readings, and ready to participate in class discussion.


  • All written assignments should be 1.5 spaced, with a standard font size (e.g. 12 pt Times New Roman or 10 pt Arial). Students should not go over the maximum page limit and should not adjust page margins.

  • Students must use one reference style accurately and consistently throughout their assignments. Chicago Manual of Style with footnotes is strongly recommended.

  • Late submissions will result in a deduction of paper grades as follows: 1-24 hs late = -0.5; 24-48 hs late = -1.0; 48-72 hs late = -1.5; 72-96 hs late = -2.0. No assignment will be accepted more than five days after the deadline, including weekends, unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor. Extensions are granted at the sole discretion of the instructor. Students are advised to back up their work and complete their assignments in advance. Technical difficulties and random last minute mayhem will not be accepted as valid excuses for extension.

  • Plagiarism is a serious offense and could result in a failing grade for the assignment and/or the course as well as disciplinary action by the department or the University. Students are expected to know how to source appropriately. As well, they should neither present someone else’s work as their own nor submit papers that are significantly similar in more than one course. Students should familiarize themselves with the University’s policies on plagiarism. Should they have questions or concerns about what may constitute a violation of academic integrity, they should speak with the instructor.


  • Cell phones and other mobile devices must be turned off and stored away throughout the entire class period.

  • Laptops and tablets will be permitted in the class during lectures only for the purpose of taking notes.

  • Recording is not permitted.