Elective: Cultures of Conflict in the Modern Middle East

Course description Elective: Cultures of Conflict in the Modern Middle East
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 5182KEL33
Teacher(s):
  • Dr. P.A. Webb
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 10
Level: 300
Period: Semester 2, Block III, IV
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

This course is only available for second year students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

The well-known and oft-reported conflicts of the modern Middle East are the subjects of this course. We examine how theories from Cultural Studies which explore life practice and social divisions and struggles, can help us develop a better understanding of Middle Eastern conflicts beyond the familiar narratives of politicking and images of violence as depicted in the media. By studying political conflicts from the perspectives of communal and other social identities, individuals and the discourses in which they participate, we shall see how conflicts and social struggles in the Middle East are expressed in many ways ranging from physical violence to choice of clothing, from mass demonstrations to the performance of hip-hop. Interpreting the messages of these expressions provides alternative ways to grasp the drivers behind current struggles and what is at stake for their participants.

The course begins by developing theoretical approaches to conflict and social struggle within the realm of Cultural Studies, and then explores how the theory can be applied to Middle East contexts via case studies of the regions different identities and salient modern conflicts.

The student will:

  • become familiar with major social and political conflicts in the Middle East (Morocco and Western Sahara to Iran) from decolonisation after World War II to the present;
  • be introduced to the key ethnic and national identities and forms of cultural production such as art, literature and music in the modern Middle East;
  • develop understanding of Cultural Studies theory and modern theoretical work on conflict and violence;
  • learn how to critically analyse identities and cultural production in socio-political contexts;
  • explore the extent to which Cultural Studies theory, so intimately tied to Western academia, is applicable to interpret society and events in varied Middle Eastern contexts.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:

1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:

1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:

1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. This course includes supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 280 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours
  • Studying the compulsory literature: 90 hours
  • Completion of short assignments: 30 hours
  • Writing the final research essay (including reading / research): 136 hours

Assessment method

Assessment & Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Short Assignments (6 x) 35%
Class participation and Attendance 15%
Final Research Essay (5,000 words) 50%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Resit

Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the final paper on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the final paper.
In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

On identity:

  • Rodinson, Maxime, The Arabs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.
  • Zia-Ebrahimi, Zia, The Emergence of Iranian Nationalism. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 2015.

On conflict generally:

  • Friedman, Jonathan (Ed.), Globalisation, the State, and Violence. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 2003.
  • Grossberg, L, “Identity and Cultural Studies: Is that all there is?”, Stuart Hall and Paul du Gray (Eds.), Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage, 1996, pp. 87-107.
  • Skocpol, Theda, Social Revolutions in the Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994.
  • Tilly, Charles, The Politics of Collective Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003.

On Middle Eastern cultures and conflicts:

  • Chehabi, Houchang, “Staging the Emperor’s New Clothes: Dress Codes and Nation-Building under Reza Shah”. Iranian Studies (1993) 26.3-4, pp. 209-229.
  • Ennaji, Moha and Fatima Sadiqi (Eds.), Gender and Violence in the Middle East. London: Routledge, 2011.
  • Al-Hamamsy, Walid and Mounira Soliman (Eds.), Popular Culture in the Middle East and North Africa: A Postcolonial Outlook. London: Routledge, 2013.
  • Hamond, Andrew, Pop Culture Arab World! Santa-Barbara CA: ABC0-Clio, 2006.
  • Khalaf, Samir and Roseanne Saad Khalaf (Eds.), Arab Society and Culture: An Essential Reader. London: Saqi, 2009.
  • Khatib, Lina, Image Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the Visual in Political Struggle. London: I.B. Tauris, 2012.
  • Sabry, Tarik, Cultural Encounters in the Arab World. London: I.B. Tauris, 2010.
  • Sadiki, Larbi (Ed), Routledge Companion to the Arab Spring: Rethinking Democratization. London: Routledge, 2014.

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. P.A. Webb

When contacting the lecturer, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the final essay is 15 June 2018.
Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis and thesis seminar.

Languages