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Regional Trends: History of the Middle East


Admission requirements



This course provides an overview of major events and processes that have shaped the history of the Middle East from the late Ottoman period until the present. It focuses on political, social and economic developments in specific countries and the region as a whole. These include major phenomena such as the end of the Ottoman empire, the impact of Colonialism and the creation of nation states in the region, the rise of political Islam in 20th century, the effects of the end of the Cold War on region, the 2011 Arab uprising and its aftermath. The method of the course rests on comparative historiographies of the region and analysis of primary documents, including legal texts, chronicles, diaries, as well as images, documentary and film excerpts to render these historical developments more tangible to students.

Course Objectives

This course seeks to expose students to different methods and intellectual traditions that have shaped our understanding of historical processes, critical junctures and personalities in the Middle East since the 1500s. The principal aim is to empower students in critically engaging with past and current interpretations of social, political, economic dimensions of Middle Eastern societies.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction


Assessment Method


Reading list

  • Cleveland, W. and Bunton, M., History of the Modern Middle East. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2017 (6th or 7th edition) ISBN: 978-0-8133-4980-0

Other selected material will be provided via Brightspace.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Marina Calculli,