Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE The Muslim-Arab World in Contemporary Times

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT International Relations

DESCRIPTION This study-unit provides the students with a critical understanding of the most important features of the state-society configuration, type of government and civil society, the function of the army, challenges of national development and internal conflicts in the region.

It highlights the role of Islam and Arabic language in the history of the region, the impact of colonisation, the conditions surrounding the rise of the nation-state, and the effects of external interventions, natural resources wealth, the cold war and super-power politics, globalization and the wars with Israel in the MENA countries. It also describes in more detail in a number of individual MENA countries, as interpretative case studies, the most distinctive structures and processes.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to review the political economy transformations in the countries of the MENA region during the past decades, within the dynamics of the interaction between forces of change (and continuity), while seeking to underline the problem of perspective in IR, and Western-dominance of IR theory.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

-Define the factors underlying the main political and economic characteristics and features of the MENA region, and its role in international relations.

-Strive to grasp the causes of war and the conditions of peace, while they seek to understand local national and regional conflicts by investigating the role of ideological movements, ethnic groups, and political violence.

-Form a clearer idea on the determinants of government decision-making and national foreign policies of the countries in the region.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

-Examine the political dimensions of trade, finance, and development in the MENA region, and the interplay between economy and business (especially multinational corporations), on one hand, and the role of government on the other hand.

-Look into the linkages between economic problems (such as poverty, unemployment and marginalisation) and political factors (such as wars, conflicts and democracy) as well as the ties between domestic and foreign policy in the Arabic-Islamic countries.

-Study the issues surrounding military alliances and the role of international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank as well as non-governmental organizations in the region.

-Show interest and conduct research on the state and society in different countries and regions in the fields of IPE and IR.

-Explore and analyse specialized publications, reports, current affairs and news items on world politics.

Main Text/s:

Alshinawi, Arsalan (2010) The Continuous Relevance of the Nation State. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany.

Abu Al Fadl, Khaled (2004) Islam and the Challenge of Democracy, Princeton University Press.

Gerner, D.J. & Schwedler, J. (2003) Understanding the Contemporary Middle East, 2nd Edition. Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc.

Halliday, F. (2005) The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology. Cambridge University Press.

Henry, Clement M and Sprinborg, R (2001) Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East, Cambridge.

Supplementary Readings:

Gilpin, Robert (1987) The Political Economy of International Relations, Princeton University Press.

Milton-Edwards, B. (2007) Contemporary Politics in the Middle East, 2nd Ed., Polity Press.

Owen, R. (2003) State, Power and Policy-making in the Making of the Modern Middle East, 3rd Ed., Routledge.

Taylor, Peter (1996) The Way the Modern World Works: World Hegemony to World Impasse. Wiley, England.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S James Sater

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.