Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Religion and Politics in the Middle East
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 20 minute presentation  10%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Pre-Seen Exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 500 word book review in lieu of seminar presentation  10%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Pre-Seen Exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Analyse the relationship between religion and politics in the Middle East.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the role of nationalism and nation-states from a comparative perspective in the region.

Communicate knowledge pertaining to revolutionary and radical interpretations of Islam in the Middle East.

Demonstrate understanding of existing theories of the compatibility of Islam with secularism and Western liberal democracy.

5. Examine the place of women in Islamic societies in the regional context.

Evaluate the different forms of religious threat and terrorism in regional and international context.

Brief description

This module aims to critically analyse the relationship between religion and politics in the Middle East. The module begins with the study of ‘Orientalism’ for understanding Islam and politics. The module then examines the four case-studies of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. Different trajectories of the relationship between religion and politics will be drawn and discussed in relation to the key issues of IR such as the rise of the modern state, nationalism, secularization, democratization and gender equality. It particularly examines the impact of these key issues on the development of the modern Middle East. The module concludes by the contemporary debates after 9/11 such the Islamic threat, the ‘clash of civilizations’, the Islamic ‘terrorism’ and the Arab spring and its implications for regional and international politics.


The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. The key thematic areas of focus for analysis through the lectures and seminars are identified below:
- Religion and International Relations
- Islam and Revolution: Iran
- Islam and Secular Nationalism: Turkey
- Zionism and Secular State: Israel
- Wahabism and Radical Islam: Saudi Arabia
- Islam and Women
- Islam and Democracy
- The Islamic Threat and Terrorism
- Contemporary issues: the Arab Spring

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will develop skills in using the many sources of information available to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their written assessments in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from the module convenor and other students. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding how to answer assessed essay questions.
Information Technology Students will enhance their proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, seminars and assessed tasks. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to standard expectations.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work requires students to write clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of written assignments will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research in order to complete the assessed work. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, including core academic texts, journal articles, electronic publications, and online news sources.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of information relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Apply a range of methodologies to complex and contemporary issues related to Middle Eastern politics.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 5