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Politics Middle East


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.

Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


This course offers students in the International Studies program an introduction to the Politics of the Middle East. The course is divided up into two parts. Before the mid-term break, lectures will deal comparatively with matters relating to domestic politics. These lectures, which cover the topics of Islam, oil, women, activism, militancy, and the Arab uprisings, will draw on case studies, stressing common themes as well as diversity among Middle East nations. The second part of the course discusses the regional and international dynamics of the politics of the Middle East. Regional identity and cooperation, involvement of great powers in the region, and Sunni/Shi’a dynamics are among the topics discussed. Also in this part of the lecture, case studies on subregions create a comparative perspective highlighting both similarity and difference among Middle East states. Additionally, four tutorial sessions center on a group project on democracy in the region.

Course objectives

Knowledge, understanding and skills acquired during the lectures:
Students who complete the Politics of the Middle East have knowledge and understanding of:
1. the functions of politics and socio-political development of the Middle East region from a comparative perspective.
2. relevant historical and current political issues and developments in the Middle East.
3. the position of the Middle East in the international system.
4. relevant theories, models, and approaches used in the study of the politics and international relations of the Middle East region.
5. relevant methodology in the social science and humanities for analysis of current and historical issues and developments in the Middle East region.
Knowledge, understanding and skills acquired during the tutorials:
Students who complete the Politics of the Middle East have given evidence of the following skills:
6. comprehension of sophisticated academic debates in the English language on the politics of the Middle East, and the ability to report in written form (essay) on their studies and their research in good English;
7. the ability to work with qualitative research in analyzing and understanding the politics of the Middle East;
8. participation in debates on the politics of the Middle East in an active, prepared and informed way, respecting other people’s convictions and emotions;
9. working and writing under time-pressure.
10. Effective cooperation with other students in a group project.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and tutorials
Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Total course load for the course is 5 EC x 28 hours is 140 hours, broken down by:

12 sessions of 2 hours = 24 hrs
4 tutorials of 2 hours = 8 hrs
1 group project = 24 hrs
Readings (appr. 800 pages) = 84 hours

Assessment method

Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

A reading list will be made available through Blackboard


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof M. Berger; mail to