nl en

History of the Middle East




Admissions requirements

Birth of the Modern World.


This course provides an overview of the major developments of the history of contemporary Middle East from the late 18th century until the present. It analyses the transformation of the political landscape of the region from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Uprisings. It reviews and compares the major academic debates in the historiographies of the modern Middle East, without ignoring recent events and structural phenomena. These include the enduring influence of external powers from European colonial and mandatory rule to the post-2003 and post-2011 phases of the ‘global war on terror’; the emergence and transformation of Turkish, Arab and Persian nationalism in the 20th century and their impact on the Middle East state-system; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its longstanding consequences; the politics of oil; the Iranian Revolution and the various faces of Political Islam; the regional effects of the Gulf Wars (1990-91; 2003); the Arab uprisings and the rise of 21st century jihadist movements. The course is based on a textbook and relevant academic literature, as well as primary sources and in-class film excerpts.

Course objectives

The course aims to introduce students to the major intellectual debates that have informed the historiographies of the contemporary Middle East. The main objectives are: 1) to help students acquire an in-depth knowledge of critical junctures, dynamics, and figures that have shaped the Middle East from the late 18th century until the present; 2) to engage critically with various interpretations of historical facts and processes that have affected and transformed the political, social, economic and cultural landscape of the Middle East; 3) to help students produce original insights over past and contemporary events and to develop essay-writing skills.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Two weekly sessions of two hours each for 8 weeks. Attendance, active participation and preparation for every session are compulsory. If you cannot attend class, you are required to inform the convenor in advance and provide reasonable motivation for your absence. If your absence exceeds 40% of the total course, you will be excluded from the final exam.



  • Attendance and in-class participation;

  • Midterm exam (week 4): Written examination with closed questions (eg. Multiple choice).

  • Paper (2000 words) to be submitted by week 6.

  • Final exam: Written examination with essay questions.


  • Attendance and in-class participation (10%);

  • Midterm exam (20%);

  • Paper (30%);

  • Final exam (40%)

Exam review

Date and time of the exam review will be communicated right after the publication of the exam results.


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

  • Cleveland, William. History of the Modern Middle East. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2017 (6th Edition) ISBN: 978-0-8133-4980-0

  • Other selected readings will be made available on 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 Marina Calculli