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Study information

Spaces of Domination and Resistance in the Middle-East

Module titleSpaces of Domination and Resistance in the Middle-East
Module codeARA2176
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Clemence Scalbert Yucel (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module you will explore the spatial dynamics of domination and resistance in the contemporary Middle-East. The module combines theoretical discussions on the understanding of space, space and place making, and their relation to power, with in-depth discussions of various cases from around the Middle-East and North-Africa. The module covers themes such as colonialism and nationalism, development and neoliberalism, cityscapes, migrations, public and private spaces, environment, and nature. No prior knowledge or experience is needed. The module is aimed at students wishing to broaden their understanding of the Middle Eastern societies and politics through a spatial perspective and to those wishing to discuss space related issues in the context of the Middle East. It is recommended for interdisciplinary pathways as the discussions of space and power build on geography, anthropology, political sciences but also history and literary studies. As such the module is relevant to students in both social sciences, geography, and humanities. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

In this module, you will gain an in-depth and nuanced understanding of the dynamics of space and place making in the Middle-East and their relation to power. You will become versed in a variety of theories from human and critical geography, anthropology, and politics. You will also engage deeply with the discussion of the spatial dynamics of power in the context of the Middle East and North Africa. In so doing you will explore a broad range of themes including colonialism and nationalism, development and neoliberalism, migrations and mobility, public and private spaces, citiscapes, environment, and nature. You will gain a familiarity with works that are important in both Middle Eastern Studies and geography and social sciences. Through active learning, you will also develop skills that are widely applicable beyond these disciplines, namely critical thinking and analysis, argumentation, presenting skills, and academic writing. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate understanding of the dynamics of space making in their relation to practices of domination and resistance
  • 2. Identify and assess the political, economic, environmental dynamics of the construction and use of space in the Middle East and North Africa
  • 3. Evaluate different theoretical and methodological approaches developed in the study of space and power in the Middle East

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Analyse and assess academic texts critically
  • 5. Analyse, distinguish a range of sources and methods including academic writing, maps and images, works of art, fictions and memoirs.
  • 6. Apply a multi-disciplinary approach in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of space and power.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Assess and review a wide range of literature and material
  • 8. Engage in independent study and group work
  • 9. Plan and produce work to a deadline

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:

  • Spaces of Colonialism
  • Engineering the territory of the nation-state
  • Landscapes of development and neo-liberalism
  • Cityscapes
  • Heritages and Spaces of Memory
  • Geographies of mobilities and containment: beyond walls and camps
  • Tahrir square and Gezi park: resisting in the public spaces
  • A place called home: a private space of resistance?
  • Global warming and transformation of energy landscape
  • The construction and predation of nature in the Middle East

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 Activity22Lecture (1 hour) followed by seminar (1 hour)
Guided Independent Study44Weekly reading (4 hours per week)
Guided Independent Study11Class Preparation (1 hour per week)
Guided Independent Study36Essay Preparation (20 hours reading+16 hours writing)
Guided Independent Study37Project Preparation (20 hours researching+ 17 hours preparing project/presentation/writing)

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Class Discussion in SeminarWeekly, during the seminar1-8Oral
Project PresentationOne 5-10 minutes presentation on the project1-9Oral

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
Essay502000 words1-9Written
Project50Project (students may choose either written work of 2000 words or 15 minutes presentation in class, depending on the project, to be determined with module convenor). Project details will be agreed with module convenor; it can include, but is not limited to: photo essay, map essay, film review, video work, podcast, fiction, play. 1-9Written, or oral and written depending on the project chosen (to be determined with module convenor)

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (2000 words)1-9August/September reassessment period
ProjectProject (2000 words or 15 minutes presentation)1-9August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Asdar Ali, K. & Rieker, M. (ed.) (2009) Comparing cities : the Middle East and South Asia.Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press.

Anderson, E. (2000). The middle East: geography and geopolitics. London ; New York : Routledge.

Chatt, D. (2010) Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Davis, D. K. & Burke, E. (eds.) (2011) Environmental imaginaries of the Middle East and North Africa. Athens : Ohio University Press.

Elsheshtawy, Y. (ed.) (2004). Planning Middle Eastern Cities: an urban kaleidoscope in a globalizing world. London ; New York : Routledge.

Fucarro, N. (ed.) (2016) Violence and the city in the modern Middle East.Stanford, California : Stanford University Press.

Hanieh, A. (2018) Money, markets, andmonarchies: theGulfCooperationCouncilandthepoliticaleconomyofthecontemporarymiddleeast. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Held, C. C. & Cummings, J. T. (2013) Middle East Patterns: Places, People, and Politics. Westview Press.

Mikhail, A. (ed.) (2013) Water on sand: environmental histories of the Middle East and North Africa.Oxford : Oxford University Press

Mitchell, T. (2011). Carbon Democracy: political power in the age of oil. London, New York: Verso.

Singerman, D. & Amar, P. (ed) (2006). Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.

Stetter, S. (ed.) (2012) The Middle East and globalization: encounters and horizons. New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan

Stewart, Dona J. (2012) The Middle East today political, geographical and cultural perspectives 

London : Routledge. 

Veracini, L. (2006) Israel and settler society. London ; Ann Arbor, MI : Pluto Press.

Key words search

Geography, Space, Power, Resistance, Nature, Environment, Middle East

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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