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Introduction to Middle Eastern Cultures

This module sets out a few broad outlines of a large, diverse, and historically rich region, which is defined primarily by its use of Arabic as a first or second language (or as the language of scripture), and by the presence of Islam, which has historically been associated with Arabic. It focuses on the historical development of an Arabophone cultural sphere in the region and the rise of Islam as a context for a social and political organization. The course introduces students to the analysis of the history of colonialism in the Middle East, important historical developments in the 19th and 20th centuries, and contemporary social issues.

The module will enable students to investigate their own orientation as students and researchers toward the region, its cultures and their history, and to understand the history of the discipline of Middle East or Oriental Studies in the Anglo-American academy. This module has been designed to reflect a commitment to diversity in its resources and delivery, and will create opportunities for students to engage in critical analysis of different perspectives relevant to the study area.

General background reading:

  • Roger Allen, An Introduction to Arabic Literature, 2000
  • Dale Eickelman, The Middle East and Central Asia: An Anthropological Approach, 2001
  • Carole Hillenbrand, Islam: A New Historical Introduction, 2015
  • Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, 1991
  • Michael Cook, The Koran: A Very Short Introduction, 2000
  • Eugene Rogan, The Arabs: A History, 2nd ed., 2012

Coordinator:  Dr Adam Talib

Further Details of pre-requisites, co-requisites, aims, contact hours and assessment.