Insegnamento a.a. 2017-2018



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
BIG (6 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  SPS/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Course Objectives

This course aims at helping students gain a broad understanding of key historical developments in the politics of the contemporary Middle East. It introduces major theoretical and conceptual debates to explain Middle East politics, and provides empirical knowledge of key countries of the region. It also aims at providing students with opportunities to improve their skills in conducting independent research, critically engaging with existing arguments and theoretical frameworks, and writing short essays.

Course Content Summary

This course is intended as an introduction to Middle Eastern politics. It introduces students to major developments of states and societies in the Middle East, by focusing on key political, ideological and economic transformations from the fall of the Ottoman Empire to the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Uprisings. By applying theoretical frameworks from the wider literature of Comparative Politics and International Relations, we go over issues such as

  • State formation and state building.
  • Political ideologies and conflicts during the Cold War period and after the fall of Soviet Union.
  • Authoritarianism and democratization.
  • Civil society and popular politics.
  • Post-2011 conflicts, sectarianism and migration.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

  • Short paper (2000 words): 15%.
  • Research paper (5000 words): 30%.
  • Participation: 15%.
  • Final exam: 40%.


Required introductory reading.
  • L. FAWCETT (editor), International Relations of the Middle East, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, 4th edition.
  • M. LYNCH (editor), The Arab Uprisings explained. New Contentious Politics in the Middle East, New York, Columbia University Press, 2014.
  • B. MILTON EDWARDS, Contemporary Politics in the Middle East, Cambridge, Polity, 2011, 3rd edition.
  • E.W. SAID, Orientalism, Penguin Classics, London, Penguin Books, 2003.
Recommended introductory reading.
  • R.A. HINNEBUSCH, The International Politics of the Middle East, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2015, 2nd edition.
  • R. OWEN, State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, London, Routledge, 2004, 3rd edition.
  • J.T. CHALCRAFT, Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  • *A detailed syllabus with required and recommended reading for each class will be provided before the start of the course.


A detailed syllabus with required and recommended reading for each class is provided before the start of the course.

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)


Students who attend this course are required to master the major theories and concepts of Political Science, Comparative Politics and International Relations
Last change 15/06/2017 15:50