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Study information

From "Home Lands" to "Host States": Migration, Displacement and Diaspora in the Middle East

Module titleFrom "Home Lands" to "Host States": Migration, Displacement and Diaspora in the Middle East
Module codeARA3043
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Miss Billie Brownlee (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The module aims at providing you with an understanding of how the phenomenon of migration and displacement has indelibly marked states and societies of the Middle East throughout the last 150 years and remains even today a significant element of contemporary life in the region. The module has three main objectives: engage with a range of theoretical debates, issues and concepts surrounding the phenomenon of migration; provide the historical background and context for the waves of displacements and dispossessions, which made of the Middle East the greatest producer of forced migrants in the 20th century; examine contemporary communities who have faced dispossession and involuntary migration. Course readings are interdisciplinary and include works of history, sociology, political science, economy, anthropology and human rights advocacy. No specific pre-requisite skills are required to take this module. The module enriches students’ understanding of the history, society and politics of the Middle East and therefore benefits their overall academic curricula.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Among the topics covered are the issue of displacement, confinement, exclusion, labour migration, national and transnational citizenship from the forced migration of Armenians to Palestinian dispossession, reaching the present days characterised by statelessness, sectarian politics and human trafficking from Iraqi refugees to the incumbent Syrian diaspora. The course examines migration and refugee issues with a special emphasis on questions related to identity, representation, citizenship, culture, gender, politics and human rights. Finally, while focusing on the Middle East and North Africa, the course aims at locating the topic in a global perspective, now that refugees and forced displacement are becoming the defining feature of the 21st century, with over 65 million people displaced in the world. The interdisciplinary nature of the module and the use of a variety of materials (books, journal articles, think tank publications, documentaries, interviews) aim to widen your understanding of the region and equip them with new tools of analysis, which can support you as academics and independent researchers.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Develop factual and theoretical understanding of the phenomenon of migration in the context of the MENA region
  • 2. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the main forces that have been at the origin of migration, displacement, exclusion and diasporas of the MENA region in the last 150 years

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Employ and analyse cross-disciplinary sources and develop critical arguments.
  • 4. Demonstrate how to link theory to practice and apply concepts learnt in a global perspective to develop critical arguments.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Conduct critical and thorough analyses of the subject topics in written work and oral presentation
  • 6. Demonstrate high degree of autonomy and effective collaboration when conducting research
  • 7. Develop high quality of research, evaluation and synthesis from a wide range of sources

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:


1.            Dispossession and Social Cohesion in the Late Ottoman Period: Distinct Cultures and Separate Communities


2.            Dismemberment of the Empire and the dispossession and involuntary migration of Muslim communities


3.            The departure of Christians Protected minorities


4.            The Palestinians: Eviction, exodus and temporality


5.            The Kurds: Dispossession, recognition and abandonment


6.            Labour migration in the Arab world


7.            Migration Diasporas and the Arab Spring


8.            Iraq’s Exiles: No durable solutions


9.            Syria from a state of refuge to a state of refugees


10.          The Politics of Migrants, Refugees, and Diasporas 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 Activities2211x 2 hour seminars
Guided Independent Study68Reading for seminars
Guided Independent Study60Completion of course work

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual presentation (depending on the size of the class)10-15 minutes1-7Verbal feedback
In-class discussion of themes covered in the previous lectures and of documents or short documentaries; In class pro and cons debates15-20 minutes1-5Verbal Feedback

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
Essay 1402,000 word essay1-5, 7Written Feedback
Essay 2603,000 word essay1-5, 7Written Feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 12,000 word essay1-5, 7August/September reassessment period
Essay 23,000 word essay1-5, 7August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Baldwin-Edwards, Martin. (2011) Labour Immigration and Labour Markets in the GCC Countries: National Patterns and Trends.

Brand, L. A. (2006) Citizens Abroad: Emigration and The State In The Middle East And North Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1-23.

Brand, Laurie A. (2014) Arab Uprisings and the Changing Frontiers of Transnational Citizenship: Voting from Abroad in Political Transitions. Political Geography 41 (1): 54–63.

Bryant, R. (ed.) (2016) Post-Ottoman Coexistence: Sharing Space in the Shadow of Conflict. Space and Place Series. New York: Berghahn Books.

Campbell, M., (2016) Interpreters of Occupation: Gender and Politics of Belonging in an Iraqi Refugee Network. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Chatty, D. (2010) Dispossession And Displacement In The Modern Middle East, Cambridge: Cambridge University.


Eliassi, B (2015) Narratives of statelessness and political belonging among Kurdish diasporas in Sweden and the UK. IMI Working Paper 114.

Fargues, P. (2013) International Migration And The Nation State In Arab Countries. Middle East Law And Governance 5 (1–2): 5–35.

Gaunt, D., Atto, N., and Barthoma, S. (eds.) (2017) Sayfo - The Genocide Against the Assyrians, Syriac, and Chaldean Christians in the Ottoman Empire. New York. Berghahn Books.

Hollifield, James. (2015) The Politics of International Migration: How Can We “Bring the State Back In”? In Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines, edited by James F. Hollifield and Caroline F. Brettell. New York: Routledge: 183-237.

Mahmoud, J. (2016) Kurdish Diaspora Online: from Imagined Community to Managing Communities. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Seeberg, Peter. (2013) The Arab Uprisings and the EU’s Migration Policies—The Cases of Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Democracy and Security 9 (1–2): 157–176.


Key words search

Migration, refugee, displacement, Middle East

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date