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Anthropology of the Middle East


Admission requirements



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.


Timetable BA MOS

Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars.
Attendance is compulsory for both classes. During the first class the learning method will be explained in more detail.

Course Load

Total course load Number EC x 28 hours= 140

  • Lectures: 13 * 2 = 26

  • Study of compulsory literature: 12 * 3 = 36

  • Presentation & paper: 66

  • Preparation exam: 10

  • Exam(s): 2

Assessment method

  • Student Presentations (15 %)

  • Class Participation (10 %)

  • Midterm: (25 %)

  • Paper (50 %)


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

The paper is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version.

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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Mw. dr. C. Strava