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History of the Modern Middle East




Admissions requirements

Completion of a world history course, for example from the Global & Contemporary History track of the Human Diversity Major.


This course covers the history of the Middle East, Persia/Iran and Turkey from about 1800 up to the present. The course gives an overview over major political, economic, social and cultural events and processes that shaped the history of the Middle East, such as the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms, the Ottoman and Iranian Constitutional Revolutions, the role of colonial powers and the formation of nation states, the development of nationalism and authoritarianism, the Iranian Revolution and the emergence of political Islam, and the “Arab Spring”. The course is based on a text book and various other sources.

Course objectives

  • Ability to grasp and reflect on the major issues in the history of the modern Middle East

  • Ability to situate the regional developments in the Middle East within the larger global context

  • Ability to comprehend and evaluate the processes of economic incorporation into global capitalism, formation of modern states and emergence of nationalisms in the Middle East

  • Ability to produce critically informed and analytical information about the modern Middle East


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and seminar.


Students will be graded on the basis of:

  • participation (15%)

  • an in-class multiple-choice midterm exam with short-essay questions (25%),

  • a short essay assignment (25%) and

  • a long final term paper (35%).


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Main Reading Material (Mandatory):
William Cleveland and Martin Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. New York: Westview Press, 2009 or later edition.

Other material will be made available through Blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Annemarike Stremmelaar
Office Hours: TBA
Leiden Office: Vrieshof 4 / 0.09b


Students are expected to do the first week’s readings and familiarize themselves with the map of the contemporary Middle East before the first class.

The first week’s readings are as follows:

Cleveland, Chapters 1, 2 & 3.