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The Gulf and Arabian Peninsula: Power, Class, Mobilities (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students from other (regular MA) programmes are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


This course offers an interdisciplinary study of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula and its connectivity with the wider West Asian and Indian Ocean geographies. With a view of social, spatial, political, economic, and cultural lineages and linkages, the course offers dynamic readings with diverse theoretical and methodological approaches for a critical and rounded perspective on the region. By starting with the Arabian peninsula, the course bridges Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indian Ocean worlds, and adds texture and new focal points to our study of the region. The peninsula’s connections with Persia, South Asia, and East Africa have been just as significant to the histories and present relations of power, class, and mobilities as the Ottoman Empire and Arabic-speaking world have been over time. Themes in various years may include migration; cultural production; labour, environmental, and/or socio-cultural politics; authoritarianism and surveillance; power politics in the international order; financial and military interventions; logistics and infrastructures; and history(ies) of markets and networks.

Course objectives

  • Become acquainted with Gulf and Arabian Peninsula studies, and the central approaches, debates, and frameworks.

  • Discuss historical and contemporary trends in the Arabian Peninsula, and its interactions with Middle Eastern, Indian Ocean, Asian, European, and American geographies and powers.

  • Critically identify and assess questions, puzzles, and developments relevant the study of the region, examine these with the scholarly rigor expected at the MA (or ResMA) level, and formulate research questions and projects around these.

  • Develop skills to evaluate and critique research making use of (a selection of) theoretical, ontological, and methodological positions.

  • Learn how to do and present research and conduct peer review.

  • Develop and present short feasible research projects.

  • Organise and implement an academic conference.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

The deadline in MyTimetable is set for administrative purposes only. The actual date(s) will be communicated by the lecturer(s) in Brightspace.

Mode of instruction


Attendance and participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to 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 can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Academic integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through Turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

ChatGPT: What is possible and what is allowed? Dos and Don'ts.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Engagement (e.g. active, informed participation; presentation; discussant duties; short, written assignments - details in syllabus) 60%
Final assessment 40%

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

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.

Students must complete the assignment(s) on time Late submissions will result in a deduction of marks for the assignment 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 assignment.


Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower), the insufficient grade is the result of an insufficient paper and the final version of the paper was submitted on time, a re-sit of the paper is possible. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation.

Inspection and feedback

Feedback will be supplied primarily through Brightspace. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the assessment results, a review will be organized.

Reading list

The required and recommended reading list will be available on Brightspace. Articles and book chapters can be found on the Leiden library catalogue or online.
All reading materials must be read in advance of class. Students should arrive at class having examined the material thoroughly, and therefore ready to engage thoughtfully in seminar discussions.
To prepare for the course, students are encouraged to read: Peterson, J. (ed) (2016). The Emergence of the Gulf States: Studies in Modern History. Bloomsbury. Available electronically via Leiden Library Catalogue.

For the Research MA students additional readings will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. Extra sessions will be used to discuss the additional literature.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.


  • 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: De Vrieshof.