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History: 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 provides an introduction to the modern history of the Middle East. It covers the period from the end of the 18th century until the present. Geographically, we will examine Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey, and Iran. We will study major political, social, economic, intellectual and cultural developments in the region, including the formation of nation states, the role of imperialist and colonial powers, the emergence of nationalism and pan-Arabism, authoritarianism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the politics of oil, the rise of Islamic political movements, and the recent protest movements. The class is based on a textbook and various types of readings.

Course objectives

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the history of the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries. The emphasis will be on identifying the ways in which historical events and long-term processes have informed social and political realities in the contemporary Middle East. Through different types of readings, such as primary documents and biography, students will be familiarized with with the craft of historical work and the process of creating the historiographies of the Modern Middle East.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials. Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover both issues discussed in the readings, and issues outside of the readings.

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 two weeks: 12 hrs

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

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 64 hrs

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

Assessment method


Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with multiple choice questions

Final exam:

  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice)

  • Written examination with short open questions


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
To pass the course, the average of mid- and end term exams (70%) has to be 5.5 at least.


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

Students should buy: William Cleveland and Martin Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. New York: Westview Press, 2009 or 2012.
Other required readings will be made available on Blackboard.


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. A. Stremmelaar