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A History of the Modern Middle East, 1900-2014

Module titleA History of the Modern Middle East, 1900-2014
Module codeARA2171
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Nadia Naser-Najjab (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The module offers you a broad history of the modern Middle East, ranging geographically from North Africa to Iran, and chronologically, from the last days of the Ottoman Empire to the Arab Spring. It has a special focus on the theme of empire, exploring indigenous empires, the nature of European imperialism in the region, and debates on neo- and post-colonialism in the contemporary Arab and Persian world. It deploys a range of types of history – social, political, economic religious, intellectual, gender – and looks at a very wide range of primary and secondary sources, including films, artworks, archive collections and electronic media.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop your skills in historiographical as well as historical analysis in the manner in which it looks at the ways in which different pasts, histories and memories have been created across the modern Middle East. It will contrast Orientalist forms of scholarship with more critical approaches and aims to develop the conceptual and theoretical capabilities of students, as well as their subject knowledge. Additionally, the module will explore the methods of comparative, transnational and global history, exploring how these ideas are developed in scholarship and how they can be deployed in your work.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Appreciate the diversity/uniformity which marked the historical development of modern states in the region, and to evaluate it in the light of current debates on colonial and post-colonial socio-political systems.
  • 2. Demonstrate an in-depth critical understanding of the relationship between ideology, politics and culture as forces which have shaped the modern Middle East;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Discuss empirically-based research in the light of wider theoretical frameworks and to critically evaluate historical processes from a range of cultural perspectives;
  • 4. Understand historical change through a multi-disciplinary approach;
  • 5. Demonstrate an understanding of the interdisciplinary methods upon which Area Studies and Middle East Studies are based;
  • 6. Appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of types of history and forms of historical evidence;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Study independently and in and group work, including participation in oral discussion; and
  • 8. Organise data effectively to produce a coherent argument to a deadline, both orally and in writing.
  • 9. Reflect on complex academic debates and re-present such work in an accessible and personal form through a blog.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • World War I and the Partition of the Ottoman EmpireĀ 
  • Ataturk and the Creation of Modern Turkey
  • The Mandates, 1920s-40s
  • European Imperialism, 1830s-1960s
  • Palestine and Zionism, 1880s-1948
  • The Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948-
  • The Age of Revolution, 1950s-60s
  • Iran under the Pahlavis, 1925-79
  • The Lebanese Civil War
  • The Iranian Revolution and the Islamic Republic, 1979-
  • The Gulf Shaikhdoms
  • Review for final exam

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2211 x 2 hour classes. Students will need to complete all readings prior to class and be ready to participate. On some occasions students will be asked to make presentations.
Guided independent study130Reading and research
Guided independent study74Completing assignments
Guided independent study74Preparing for assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Submission of detailed essay plans1,000 words1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8Tutorials in and outside class.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay503,000 words1-8Written and oral
Blog504,000 words1-8Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3,000 words)1-8August/September reassessment period
BlogBlog (4,000 words)1-8August/September reassessment period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

William Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East (Bolder: Westview Press, 1994, 1999, 2004).

Nikki Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003).

Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961, 1968, 2002).

Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire (London: Arnold, 2001).

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

History, Middle East, Arab World, Islam, Nationalism, Revolution

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date