nl en

Anthropology of the Middle East


Admission requirements

Seminar Midden-Oosten 1.
This course is only open to students in the BA 2 Midden-Oostenstudies.


This course will provide students with an introduction to important aspects of the histories, institutions and societies of the contemporary Middle East through comparative examples. Our reading will touch on aspects of social organization in rural and urban contexts, gender and kin relations, public piety and reformist movements, postcolonial memory, media production and consumption, youth movements, the production of nationalism, and experiences of Palestinian displacement. Geographically we will cover significant ground, from Turkey to Morocco, but you will also notice we will have multiple examples from certain countries like Egypt and Morocco. This should push us to consider the reasons behind such ‘over-representation’ from a historical and disciplinary standpoint.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to introduce students of the Middle East to an array of contemporary topics and issues from an anthropological perspective. Students will acquire basic knowledge of anthropological theories and concepts relevant to the study of Middle Eastern societies, and will learn how to critically engage with disciplinary traditions and their role in the production of knowledge.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

During the first class the learning method will be explained in more detail.

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Student Presentations 15%
Class Participation 10%
Midterm 25%
Paper 50%

The final mark for this course is determined by the weighted average. An additional requirement is that students must pass their paper (> 5.50). 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.

Late submissions will result in a deduction of marks for the paper as follows: 1-24 hs late = -0.5; 24-48 hs late = -1.0; 48-72 hs late = -1.5; 72-96 hs late = -2.0. Submissions more than 96 hs late, including weekends, will receive a failing grade of 1,0 for the paper.


A re-sit is available only for an insufficient paper. In such cases, the lecturer can assign the student a new topic for the final paper, and will set the re-sit deadline at least 10 working days after the fail grade has been issued.

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

  • Hafez, Sherine & Susan Slymovics, eds. (2013). Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa: Into the New Millenium. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • Additional literature (it will be announced via Blackboard).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch