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Ideology and Politics in the Middle East


Admission requirements

This class is intended (in order of preference) for

  • (1) students of the BA Middle Eastern Studies who have successfully completed History of Middle East 1500-present;

  • (2) premaster students for the MA Middle Eastern Studies and

  • (3) students from other programmes. Please contact the education coordinator, to find out whether you can be admitted to this class.


This course is an advanced survey of the impact of key ideological currents on Middle East politics from late 19th century to the present. It critically reviews how secular and religious ideologies have shaped and justified hegemonic and counterhegemonic political projects in the region. These include different forms of nationalism and Islamism. By adopting an intellectual history approach, the course will also analyze the impact of global ideas and trends – such as enlightenment, colonialism, democracy, and modernity as well as socialism, liberalism, and feminism – on the politics and societies of the Middle East. The course will introduce theories of nationalism, concepts of political thought, and methods of intellectual history. The course relies on a review of secondary literature and translated primary sources of political thought.

Course objectives

The purpose of this course is to help students understand the ideological and intellectual trends of history of the modern Middle East.
At the end of the semester, students should be able to:

  • give a broad overview of ideological trends and their main intellectual protagonists in the history of the modern Middle East;

  • find primary sources on a given theme in the intellectual history of the modern Middle East in a corpus of sourcebooks, translated anthologies, and online collections;

  • know and apply different approaches to analyzing primary sources of intellectual and cultural history.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Partial Assessment Weighing
Class attendance and Participation 20%
Presentation 20%
Midterm assignment 30%
Final assignment 30%

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average. An additional requirement is that students must pass their final assignment. In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


There is only a resit opportunity for the final assignment, which will count for 30%.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

  • A detailed syllabus with selected readings will be provided at the beginning of the term


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar on the right.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office Vrieshof


Please note that the additional course information is an integral part of this course description.