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Anthropology of the Middle East


Admission requirements

This class is intended (in order of preference) for:
1. BA 2 Midden-Oostenstudies/Modern Middle East
2. Premaster Middle Eastern Studies
3. Students from other programmes. To ensure this course is not over-enrolled, students from other programmes interested in taking the course should contact the coordinator of studies


This course will provide students with an introduction to important aspects of the histories, institutions and societies of the contemporary Middle East through comparative examples. Our reading will touch on aspects of social organization in rural and urban contexts, gender and kin relations, public piety and reformist movements, postcolonial memory, media production and consumption, youth movements, the production of nationalism, and experiences of Palestinian displacement. Geographically we will cover significant ground, from Turkey to Morocco, but you will also notice we will have multiple examples from certain countries like Egypt and Morocco. This should push us to consider the reasons behind such ‘over-representation’ from a historical and disciplinary standpoint.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to introduce students of the Middle East to an array of contemporary topics and issues from an anthropological perspective. Students will acquire basic knowledge of anthropological theories and concepts relevant to the study of Middle Eastern societies, and will learn how to critically engage with disciplinary traditions and their role in the production of knowledge.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Student Presentations 20%
Class Participation 20%
Midterm 30%
Paper 30%

The final mark for this course is determined by the weighted average. In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.
The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

Late submissions will result in a deduction of marks for the paper 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 paper.


If the final grade is a failing grade, the resit consists of a paper which will count for 60% (replaces the grades for the midterm and the paper) with a new topic, to be assigned by the lecturer. The re-sit deadline will be at least 10 working days after the fail grade has been issued.

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

  • Hafez, Sherine & Susan Slymovics, eds. (2013). Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa: Into the New Millenium. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • Additional literature will be announced via Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • 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 Herta Mohr


Please note that the additional course information is an integral part of this course description.