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Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:05

Course Overview

This course explores some of the major developments in the history of the modern Middle East, from the late 19th century, through the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the formation of modern nation states. The course will then focus on the latest phase of the history of the Middle Eastern Empires, the subsequent changes in the political systems over the course of the 20th century, colonialism, the struggle for independence, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The course follows a chronological structure and aims at strengthening critical thinking skills and interrogating contextual understanding of the role of culture as well as modernisation in the region.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Alessandra Cecolin

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Programme Level 4
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course critically evaluates the transformation of the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries until the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the events of Arab states and Palestine in the 1980s. It evaluates the transition from empires to nation states in the Middle East including Turkey and Iran through processes of modernisation in the political, social and cultural fields. The course is organised chronologically and thematically in order to offer an in-depth evaluation of the principal economic, cultural and social factors which dealt with the development of the Middle East. The first part of the course deals with the historiographical debate on the representation of the Middle East and offers an overview of Ottoman and Qajar Empires, and the influence of the economic, political and cultural influence of Europe. Local responses are scrutinised through a critical evaluation of revolutionary movements, and the  rise of new intellectual trends such as Nationalism and Political Islam. The second part of the course focuses on the establishment of a new state system after the First World War, the definition of colonial societies in the interwar period, and the consolidation of Arab, Turkish and Iranian Nationalism in the first half of the 20th century. The later stage of modernisation and state formation is analysed through the study of revolutions in the Arab world and Iran, as well as the development of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

2500 word essay (40%)

seminar participation (10%)

online exam (50%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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