Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) with some level of background knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa. For those students who are unfamiliar with this region, a reading list can be provided that will raise students’ knowledge.
Students from other programmes are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.
This seminar course examines the political, economic and cultural determinants of the environment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Using a framework that draws on theories of political ecology it looks at the historical construction of the MENA’s environment and expressions of society-environment relations. The introductory sessions will look at the manner in which phases of imperialism and colonialism shaped the environment of the region, both in terms of its governance of resources and in terms of how its ecology is perceived. It will also explore indigenous forms of knowledge and cultural production on the environment.
The following weeks will then look at specific cases and themes. These include sessions on hydrocarbons, water, waste, and the agrarian environment. Other weeks will look at the relationship between the environment and conflict and its position in social movements and politics. These classes provide a compelling insight into the politics, economics and culture of the MENA region. It also offers the opportunity to be introduced to political ecology, an exciting and interdisciplinary field that offers a novel and dynamic way of understanding the environment.
Tentative weeks include:
2. Environmental Orientalism
3. Historical roots I: Colonial era
4. Historical roots II: Postcolonial era
5. Indigenous knowledge and culture
6. Desert dreams
10. Agrarian ecologies
11. Conflict and the environment
12. Social and political movements
Develop a theoretical lense of political ecology that allows us to conceptualise society-nature relations in the MENA.
Learn the significance of the region’s environmental resources in phases of colonialism and Imperialism.
Analyse the relationship between the status of the environment and international and regional economic flows of capital and commodities.
Understand the role of environmental degradation in developmental outcomes in the region.
Understand the signifiance of indigenous knowledge and culture.
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
The deadline in MyTimetable is set for administrative purposes only. The actual date(s) will be communicated by the lecturer(s) in Brightspace.
Mode of instruction
Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.
Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.
Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through Turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.
ChatGPT: What is possible and what is allowed? Dos and Don'ts.
Assessment and weighing
|Engagement (informed participation; presentation; discussant duties)
In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the research paper (final paper) and for the course as a whole.
Students must complete the assignment(s) on time Late submissions will result in a deduction of marks for the assignment as follows: 1-24 hs late = -0.5; 24-48 hs late = -1.0; 48-72 hs late = -1.5; 72-96 hs late = -2.0. Submissions more than 96 hs late, including weekends, will receive a failing grade of 1,0 for the assignment.
All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.
Only if the total weighted average is 5.49 or lower and/or the result of a paper graded is 5.49 or lower, a re-sit of the paper is possible (50%). In that case the convener of the course may decide to assign a (new) topic. The deadline for this version will be determined by the course convener, after consultation with the student.
A re-sit for other course components is not possible.
Inspection and feedback
Feedback will be supplied primarily through Brightspace. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the assessment results, a review will be organized.
For the Research MA students additional reading will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. Extra sessions will be organized to discuss this extra literature.
Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar on the right.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office Vrieshof.