Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies is required. Students from other MA programmes can only be admitted if there are places left. Contact the student advisor, if you are interested in taking this course but NOT a student of the above-mentioned MA programme.
During the past two centuries scholars in different parts of the world have produced a huge body of knowledge on Middle Eastern and Muslim societies, both historical and contemporary. This course is designed to introduce students to the theoretical foundations, methodological debates, and methods engaged in Middle East studies.
This course has two central aims. The first aim is to encourage students to think about broad questions related to epistemology, ontology and methodology in relation to the design of their own thesis projects in particular, and research on the Middle East more broadly. The second aim is to train students in the research design process. In addition to preparing them for their own research, the research methods course exposes students to methodological debates and approaches in order to help them develop the ability to critically assess academic work. Crucially, the course encourages students to engage and confront the methodological challenges which arise in a multidisciplinary context and think constructively on the historical evolution and trajectory of research on the Middle East.
Each meeting will be devoted to a specific issue, theoretical concept, or debate, on which key texts will be read. The last meetings will offer students the opportunity to present a first draft their own papers on one of the issues related to their own research interests. A detailed programme and list of readings will be made available on Blackboard.
Students will have to hand in “response papers” and a set of questions, as a preparation for the weekly discussions.
To develop the skills and insights that are necessary to evaluate existing research and to design and carry out empirical research projects;
To obtain familiarity with the theories developed in the humanities and social sciences and their application in the study of the Middle East and Islam;
To understand the merits and drawbacks of these theories both in general and in specific cases;
To develop and carry out a small research project on a well-defined topic;
To report on research findings orally and in writing, in accordance with the basic standards of scholarship.
Mode of instruction
Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. This is a class based on collaborative dialogue. As such, being prepared to participate in discussions is a course requirement. This entails having read, annotated, and thought about the weekly themes carefully before class starts. Furthermore, you must bring your copy of the text to class every week – in either paper or pdf form. Since we will be engaged in closely examining the texts we read and the language that they use, if you don’t have your text then you are not prepared for class, even if you have read the assignment.
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.
|Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hours||280 hours|
|Contact hours 13 × 3||39 hours|
|Reading 10 × 10||100 hours|
|preparation of the weekly assignments 10 × 1||10 hours|
|preparation the oral presentation of the first draft of the paper||40 hours|
|preparation of the final draft of the paper||91 hours|
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). It is also unacceptable for students to reuse portions of texts they had previously authored and have already received academic credit for on this or other courses. In such cases, students are welcome to self-cite so as to minimise overlap between prior and new work.
Students must submit their assignment(s) to the blackboard through turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.
Assessment and weighing
|Mark for engagement (ongoing):||40%:|
|Active participation in weekly class discussions||20%|
|Weekly response papers||20%|
|Oral presentation of the readings||20%|
|Final paper (of 4,000 words)||40%|
The final paper is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version.
Late submissions of the final version will result in a deduction of paper grades as follows: 1-24 hrs late = -0.5; 24-48 hrs late = -1.0; 48-72 hrs late = -1.5; 72-96 hrs late = -2.0. Late papers will not be accepted more than four days after the deadline, including weekends and will be graded with 1.0.
(The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is a fictional date for administration purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convenor of the course.)
The final mark for this course is formed 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.
Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) and the insufficient grade is the result of an insufficient paper, a resit of the paper is possible (40%). In that case the convener of the course may assign a (new) topic and give a new deadline.
A resit of the other partial assessments is not possible.
If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam/paper results, an exam/paper review will be organized.
A list of readings will be made available through Blackboard
Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English.
Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
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 accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.