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The Middle East in the International Political Economy (ResMa)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research). Students from other programmes are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


This course analyses the Middle East in the Global Political Economy. Overall, it surveys the field of international political economy (IPE) and examines the interactions of the Middle East within the global economic order. It seeks to familiarise students with the various roles of commodities, labour, and finance across the region. In so doing, it not only examines that which is unique about the political economy of the region but also the ways in which the region is more integrated and less exceptional than often purported. The course begins with a theoretical orientation to the field of IPE, and proceeds to situate the region within the field in historical and contemporary debates. The remainder of the course progresses thematically, examining topics such as oil and energy markets, trade, financial crisis, labour, global value chains, and integration.

Course objectives

  • Understand the broad theoretical debates within the field of Global Political Economy

  • Evaluate the role of various Middle Eastern states in the GPE

  • Assess the impact of oil on the region

  • Examine flows of capital, labour, and technology across the region

  • Deepen understanding of the various economic challenges and opportunities facing the region, considering historical and potential future trajectories

  • Articulate how changes in the global economic order and technological innovation impact domestic, regional, and international economic development

  • Discuss historical and contemporary trends in the Middle East, and the region’s interactions with the global economic order

  • Analyse the impact of global, transnational, state, and non-state actors on domestic and regional development

  • Interpret the constraints, challenges, and prospects for greater economic integration

  • Critically identify and assess questions and developments relevant to IPE in the region, examine them with the scholarly rigor expected at the Research MA level, and formulate research questions and projects around these puzzles and problems

  • Apply knowledge gained to critically assess scholarship and IPE developments in the region, and effectively communicate their interpretations in written and verbal forms


See timetable of the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research).

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions.

Research MA students are expected to prepare by reading extra readings, labelled “recommended” in the syllabus, and by completing extra assignments (as described in the syllabus).

The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances). 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 will result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

| Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hours | 280 hours | | Attending seminars | 30 hours | | Extra contact hours | 6 hours | | Reading / studying material | 125 hours | | Completing assignments: 119 hours |


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). 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

Partial Assessment Weighing
Engagement (e.g. active, informed participation; presentation; discussant duties, etc. 30%
Response papers 30%
Final paper 40%

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.

Students must complete the assignments on time. No paper will be accepted more than 4 days after the due date, including weekends.

Students must complete the assignments on time. Late submissions will result in a deduction of 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. Assignments 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 convener of the course.)


Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) and the insufficient grade is the result of an insufficient paper, a re-sit of the paper is possible. In that case the convener of the course may decide to assign a (new) topic. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation.

A re-sit for other course components is not possible.

Exam review

How and when a review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results (in BB) at the latest.


Students must enroll and be ready to engage on blackboard.

Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.

Reading list

Articles and book chapters can be found on the library catalogue or online. The list of readings will be available in the course syllabus, on Blackboard.

Reading material:

Articles and book chapters can be found on the library catalogue or online.

All reading materials must be read in advance of class. Students should arrive at class having examined the material thoroughly, and therefore ready to engage thoughtfully in seminar discussions.

Tentative Seminar Topics
1. Analysing the Global Political Economy
2. Situating the Middle East in the GPE: Beyond Exceptionalism
3. Globalization: Forces, Trends, and Development
4. Colonial Legacies and Interactions in the Global Economy
5. Hydrocarbons and Energy Markets
6. Global Institutions and Business Politics: State, Society, and Region
7. Labour Flows and Migration
8. Integration and Regionalism
9. Production and Power: From Local Production to Global Value Chains
10. Trade and Foreign Direct Investment
11. Gender, work, and the global political economy
12. Global Finance, Sovereign Wealth Funds, and Commodity Markets
13. Dealing with Crises: Financial Crisis and Political Upheaval

Requirements for the Research MA students will be communicated in the syllabus on blackboard. All Research MA students will be required to read the readings labelled “recommended” in addition to the “required” readings. Research MA students also have additional response papers to prepare.


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. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. Crystal Ennis


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.