Skip to main content

War, Violence and Revolution in the Middle East, 1800-2013

Module titleWar, Violence and Revolution in the Middle East, 1800-2013
Module codeARA3041
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Marc Jones (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

From Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and the Wahhabi destruction of shrines in Iraq, through the effects of colonial and world wars, genocidal conflicts and the Arab-Israeli wars to the Iranian Revolution and the Arab Spring, violence in various forms, for better or worse, has been instrumental in bringing about change in the Middle East. This module will explore ways in which dramatic and traumatic experiences of war, revolution and violence have shaped states, institutions and attitudes in the modern Middle East, and the ways in which historians, social scientists and other theoreticians have tried to analyse and understand these phenomena.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to equip you with a good knowledge of the history of the Middle East in the modern period, along with a detailed understanding of the ways in which violence and war have been formative of modern polities and societies in the region. It aims to ensure that you are able to directly connect theoretical literatures on war, revolution and violence to specific case studies, and to develop strong capabilities in comparative historical analysis, source analyses and the development of complex forms of written argumentation.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate both a detailed understanding of the modern Middle East and an ability to connect and compare seemingly discrete national and local histories from across the region and the time period studied;
  • 2. Demonstrate familiarity with the major scholars working in the theoretical fields of war, revolution and violence, and on the region;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Critically engage with theoretical debates on war, revolution and violence and an ability to apply such theories to the Middle East;
  • 4. Analyse case studies looking at key examples of wars, revolutions and genocide;
  • 5. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the interdisciplinary methods which Area Studies and Middle East Studies are based upon;
  • 6. Engage with, research and complete one essay which displays an ability to analyse one single country or to compare two or more states;

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Critically engage with theoretical literature and apply it to the context under discussion; and
  • 8. Contextualise sources, rank them according to relevance, write coherent and structured arguments.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Although the module's precise coverage may vary each year, it is anticipated that the following topics will be covered (some for a period of more than one week)

  • Theories of violence
  • Colonial violence
  • Genocide and ethnic conflict
  • The Armenian genocide
  • Gender, war and violence
  • Theories of revolution
  • Religion and revolution in Iran, 1905-11
  • The Iranian Revolution
  • Colonialism, War and Revolution in Algeria
  • Nation, Statehood and the Arab-Israeli Wars
  • The Iran-Iraq war
  • Authoritarian government and the Arab Spring 

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 activities4422 x 2 hour classes. You will need to complete all readings prior to class and be ready to participate. On some occasions you will be asked to make presentations
Guided independent study130Reading and research
Guided Independent study 63Completing assignments
Guided independent study63Preparing for assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Submission of detailed essay plans1000 words1, 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
Essay503000 words1-8Written and oral
Group presentation 1 1010-15 minutes1, 4, 8Oral, in class
Group presentation 21010-15 minutes1, 4, 8Oral, in class
Reaction note 1151000 words1-7Written
Reaction note 2151000 words1-7Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essays Essay (3,000 words)1-8August/September reassessment period
Group presentation 1Written summary of presentation (500 words)1, 4, 8August/September assessment period
Group presentation 2Written summary of presentation (500 words)1, 4, 8August/September assessment period
Reaction note 1Mini-essay (500 words)1-7August/September assessment period
Reaction note 2Mini-essay (500 words)1-7August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

RE-ASSESSMENT NOTES– Where you have been deferred/referred for a group presentation, you will complete a written summary of   the relevant presentation. This will constitute 10% of the module. Where you have been referred / deferred for a reaction note, you will have to complete a mini-essay to cover the same content and test similar skills to the reaction note. This will constitute 15% of the module. Where you have been referred / deferred for the essay, you will have the opportunity to complete a second essay in the August/September re-assessment period. This will constitute 50% of the module.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Makdisi, U. and Silverstein, P. (eds) 2006. Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.

Neep, D., 2013, Occupying Syria under the French Mandate: Insurgency, Space and State Formation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Arendt, H. 1970, On Violence. New York: Harcourt and Brace.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Violence, War, Revolution, History, Politics, Middle East, Arab world, Islam, Israel, Palestine.

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date