Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Politics and Government in the Persian Gulf

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT International Relations

DESCRIPTION This study-unit examines politics and government in the five countries surrounding the Persian Gulf. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the UAE. It explores the forms of governments and political developments since the second half of the 19th century, when many of these states interacted with the United Kingdom and, with the exception of Iran, were nominally part of the Ottoman empire. It addresses the following topics: Tribes and states, sects and identities, oil wealth and development, monarchies and dynastic change, revolutions and international conflicts.

Study-Unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to provide an in-depth understanding of the politics, economics, and international relations of Iran and Arab Gulf states.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

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

- Analyze the causes and features of contemporary political manifestations in Iran and Arab Gulf states.
- Evaluate individual and collective political aspirations in the context of economic, cultural, and geopolitical realities in the Gulf.
- Discuss the international relations of Iran and the Arab Gulf states, amongst each other, with the United States, other Arab countries, and Israel.

2. Skills:

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

- Synthesize information about regimes, regime changes, protests, social structures, economic relations in the contemporary Gulf.
- Identify scholarly material available on-line and in libraries.
- Present findings in written form.
- Prioritize information and present them hierarchically.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Christopher Davidson: (ed.): Power and Politics in the Persian Gulf Monarchies. (London: Hurst, 2011).

Lawrence G. Potter (ed.): Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

Daniel Brumberg and Farideh Farhi: Power and Change in Iran: Politics of Contention and Conciliation. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016).


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM2 No 30%
Essay SEM2 Yes 70%

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.