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Diasporas and Minorities in the Middle East


Admission requirements

Priority will be given to BA Middle Eastern Studies students who have successfully completed the propedeutic exam of the BA Middle Eastern Studies.


Popular perceptions of the Middle East prefigure a homogeneity of language—Arabic, religion—Islam, and identity—Arab/Muslim. These perceptions are shaped by current understandings of globalisation, which posit a sharp disjuncture between the homogeneity of identity and experience within immobile, national pasts, and the multiplicity and plasticity of identity and experience enabled by the ease of global mobility in a trans-national present. This course aims to question these perceptions by examining historic and ethnographic scholarship on diasporas located within the region termed the “Middle East”, as well as those that have originated from it. In doing so, we will also critically examine our understandings of ‘nation’, ‘religion’, ‘diaspora’, and ‘globalisation’.

Course objectives

  • to develop skills necessary to evaluating existingscholarship on a subject in order to propose a research project for further study.

  • to obtain familiarity with interdisciplinary approaches to the study of diasporas and minorities.

  • to understand the merits and drawbacks of these approaches in general and in specific cases;


Time table

Mode of instruction

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

  • 2 contact hours per week: 13×2= 26 hours

  • Reading for each class: 39 hours

  • Written response to readings: 14 hours

  • Final paper: 61 hours

Assessment method


  • Attendance and Class Participation

  • Literature Review due via Blackboard

Participation will require the submission of a written response to the week’s assigned readings (approximately 150 words). Responses must be submitted on Blackboard 24 hours in advance of the class.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average:

  • Attendance and Class Participation (40%)

  • Literature Review due via Blackboard (60%)


If the Literature review receives an insufficient grade (below 5,5) it will have to be rewritten and resubmitted.

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

  • Wallerstein, Immanuel. 2004. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Durham: Duke University Press.

  • Ghosh, Amitav. 1994. In An Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale. New York: Vintage.

  • Memmi, Albert. 1991 (1965). The Colonizer and the Colonized. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • Slymovics, Susan. 1998. The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press).

  • (Other selected readings)




Dr. N. Latif


Students with disabilities
The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity
Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).