Mediterranean and Arab World Studies
Credits: 4 ECTS
This course focuses on the study of political, economic and social dynamics in the Mediterranean, the Arab world and the broader Middle East. The course will start providing theoretical and methodological tools to approach the region. It will be followed by an overview of the contemporary history in this region and then will analyse the characteristics of political systems in this region. Three aspects are studied in detail: the evolution of politics in the Arab and Islamic context, the resilience of authoritarianism and the introduction of partial political liberalization reforms.
It will also assess the relevance and manifestation of identity politics with a particular emphasis on sectarianism and political Islam and the links between identity politics, conflict and violence. The course will then move to the analysis of socio-economic trends (centrality of fossil fuels, disparities, unemployment, migrations, etc.) and its salience in understanding the political evolution of this region (rentierism, 2011 uprisings, new social movements).
The course will conclude by shedding light on the role of regional and interregional cooperation with a particular focus on the role of the European Union.
The final grade is the sum of the following criteria:
- Final Exam: 50%
- 1 Mid-term Essay: (50%)
The Final Exam (50%) will be based on key concepts and issues raised during the course. Specific instructions for the Final Exam will be issued towards the end of the course.
The Mid-term Essay (50%) consists of writing a essay (1500 words) on a short-list of specific topic related to 1 of the sessions in Part III of the Syllabus (Key Issues / Continuity and Change). Specific instructions will be issued during the first part of the course.
The classes will be based on a mixed learning methodology, where classes will combine traditional lecturing and student-centred learning. However, in reference to both teaching-styles it should be noted that the course objectives can only be achieved if students come prepared in terms of each session’s readings, PowerPoints and/or assignments, as well as engage actively in classroom discussions.