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History: Middle East: History of the Contemporary Middle East


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


This course provides an introduction to the contemporary history of the Middle East. The goal of this course is to introduce students to major intellectual, political, social, and cultural issues and practices in the region from the end of World War I until the present. We will focus on important events, movements, and ideas that shaped the history of the Middle East from the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms, through the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, to the creation of modern nation-states. The second half of the course will deal with contemporary issues ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict, the impact of the Iranian Revolution, and oil and regional security. In addition, the class is intended to familiarize students with the craft of historical work and the process of creating the historiographies of the Modern Middle East.

Course objectives

This course provides an introduction to the modern history of the region between the Atlantic Ocean and Central Asia, commonly known as the Middle East.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week, four tutorials spread out over the semester.

Assessment method

One essay (30%), a midterm and a final exam (together 70%)


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

William Cleveland and Martin Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East (New York: Westview Press, 2009) (ISBN: 978-0-813-34374-7)


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable