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Anthropology of the Middle East


Admission requirements



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.


Time table

Mode of instruction

During the first class the learning method will be explained in more detail.

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Total course load Number EC x 28 hours = 140

  • Lectures: 13 * 2 = 26

  • Study of compulsory literature: 12 * 3 = 36

  • Presentation & paper: 66

  • Preparation exam: 10

  • Exam(s): 2

Assessment method

  • Student Presentations (15%)

  • Class Participation (10%)

  • Midterm: (25%)

  • Paper (50%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average combined with the additional requirement that the grade for the paper is at least 5.5.


There is no resit opportunity for the presentation or the midterm. If the paper is insufficient it has to be rewritten.

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 (it will be announced via 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.


Mw. dr. C. Strava