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History of the Middle East 2 (1500-present)


Admission requirements

This class is intended for (1) students of the BA Middle Eastern Studies; (2) premaster students for the MA Middle Eastern Studies and (3) students from other programmes.


The goal of this course is to introduce students to major intellectual, political, social and cultural issues and practices in the Middle East from late 18th century until the present. The emphasis throughout will be on identifying the ways in which specific events and long-term processes such as the impact of colonialism and nationalist movements, political Islam, political liberalization, the role of non-state actors, gender, ethnicity, class, and popular culture have informed social and political realities in the contemporary Middle East. The second half of the course will deal with contemporary issues ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict, the impact of the Iranian Revolution, the emergence of Islamic movements, and the recent Arab revolutions. In addition, the class will be based on various types of readings ranging from primary documents, historical narratives, and historiography, to works of fiction and movies. This 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

  • Acquire a comprehensive understanding of the historical, political, social, and cultural developments of the Middle East.

  • Acquired familiarity with the main debates in the historiography of the region, as well as the research methods used to investigate and explain trends and events of the contemporary Middle East.

  • Acquire knowledge and understanding of the concepts and conceptual structures relevant for the study of history from an area perspective, i.e. local, national, regional and also introduce them to a global perspective.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Attendance is not obligatory for lectures. The conveners do not need to be informed in case of missed classes. Information and knowledge provided in the lectures greatly contribute to the subsequent courses of the programme. In order to pass the course, students are strongly advised to attend all sessions.

Course Load

5 EC x 28 hrs = 140 hrs
Lectures (12 x 2) 24
Assessment hours (exams) 4
Study of compulsory literature 64
Completing assignments, preparing for classes and exams 48

Assessment method

Each student will be graded on the basis of two formal assignments.

Partial Assessment Weighing
Midterm exam 50%
Final exam 50%


If the final grade of the course is below a 5.5, a re-sit examination may be requested. There is only one resit opportunity which will make up 100% of the mark.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

  • Anderson, Betty. A History of the Modern Middle East: Rulers, Rebels, and Rogues. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.

  • Cleveland, William and Martin Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. New York: Westview Press, 2016.

  • Shlaim, Avi “Israel and the Arab Coalition.” In The Modern Middle East: A Reader, ed. by Albert Hourani, Philip Khoury, and Mary C. Wilson, 535-556. New York: IB Tauris, 2005.

  • Other selected readings.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. T. Nalbantian


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).