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Politics Middle East


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


This course offers students in the International Studies program an introduction to the Politics of the Middle East. The goal is to give the student insight in the internal sequence, interconnectedness and logic of developments in the region. The course therefore consists of three components: a) a chronological order of trends and events will enable the student to put situations and events in their proper time frame; b) a thematic discussion of certain trends and issues, like democracy, pan-Arabism, political Islam, Islamic militancy, sharia, women and minorities, will provide the student with insights in the political, social, cultural, economical and legal complexities of the region, and c) a discussion of specific events (Arab Spring, ISIS, Arab-Israeli conflicts, Iranian Revolution), and country studies. Additionally, four tutorial sessions will allow the students to elaborate several themes discussed in the lectures. Also, each lecture will start with the Shisha Café, a 7 minute discussion session on a topical subject among 4-6 students, chaired by the Instructor.

Course objectives

Students who complete the Politics of the Middle East have

  • knowledge of: a) relevant historical and current political issues and developments in the Middle East, b)

  • insight in the complexities of issues and developments in the region, and the relevant theories, models, and approaches used in the study of the politics and international relations of the Middle East region that can be used to analyse them

  • skills: a) comprehension of sophisticated academic debates in the English language on the politics of the Middle East, b) the ability to work with quantitative and qualitative research in analyzing and understanding the politics of the Middle East, c) participation in debates on the politics of the Middle East in an active, prepared and informed way, respecting other people’s convictions and emotions;


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; tri-weekly tutorials.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs

  • Atending attending tutorials 2 hours per three weeks: 8 hrs

  • Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 68 hrs

  • Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 36 hrs

Assessment method


Midterm Exam: multiple choice
Final Exam: multiple choice and several essay questions
Sisha Café: use of research in discussion


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %
Shisha Café: if done satisfactorily, 0.5 point will be added to the final grade
To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Links to the required reading are provided on Blackboard, under “Documents”


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Prof. Dr. M.S. Berger