The Middle East in Global Order (952M1)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

The Middle East is almost constantly in the news. From Israel and the West Bank to Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the region is at once a byword for political instability, and a recurring site of Western political and military interventions. This module explores some of the political, economic and cultural dynamics that lie behind the crisis-ridden headlines. You examine the emergence of the Middle East from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire and the specificities of the modern state-formation processes in the Middle East. You study the interplay of the international and domestic factors in the Middle Eastern states and societies looking at their political economies and patterns of development. You critically investigate the problems of authoritarianism and democratic change in the Middle East. The module also engages in more in depth analysis of some important contemporary phenomena in the Middle East such as political Islam, The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq War, and the 'Arab Spring'.

We start by examining some key methodological and theoretical debates in the study of the Middle East. We then move on to consider the processes of modern state formation and the legacies of (neo)colonialism and imperialism. We then consider the impacts of neo-liberalism on Middle Eastern polities and economies, international (geo)political economy of the region with special reference to oil, and the theme of human development including gender issues in the Middle East. We then examine some key political forms and forces, including the authoritarian 'rentier' state, processes of democratisation and liberalisation, and political Islam. The final part of the course concentrates on three particularly important issues in contemporary Middle East: the causes and consequences of the Iranian Revolution and the 'Arab Spring', Arab-Israeli conflicts, and the Iraq War.


100%: Practical (Workshop)


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.