Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Middle East in the Twentieth Century
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment Seminar Performance  (8 x 1 hour seminars)  10%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay, if essay element failed  50%
Supplementary Assessment Review in lieu of seminar performance  10%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   40%

Learning Outcomes

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

​1. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the key factors which made the Middle East a region of central strategic importance during the twentieth century.

2. Identify and critically discuss major events and trends in the rise of nationalism and the decline of imperialism in the Middle East.

3. Critically analyze and display sophisticated understanding of the strategic and diplomatic roles of major Middle Eastern states.

4. Demonstrate advanced skills appropriate to the study of contemporary international history and produce work in a professional manner.

Brief description

This module introduces students to the international history of the Middle East, placing particular emphasis upon the impact of European imperialism on the region and the development of regional nationalisms, the diplomatic and strategic policies of the major Middle Eastern states, and the role of the Middle East within broader systems of world politics.


This module provides students with a broad survey of events in the Middle East over the course of the twentieth century, from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the end of the Cold War and the impact of the 1990-1991 Gulf War. It seeks both to enable students to understand the region’s central importance in world politics and to introduce students to the key factors affecting international relations within the region.

First, students will be given an understanding of the regional clash between different forms of imperialism and nationalism during the period; second, students will investigate and evaluate the regional strategic and diplomatic roles of the major Middle Eastern states, and third, students will analyze the role of the Middle East as a regional element of a broader system of world politics, particularly in relation to the Cold War. It does not cover the Arab-Israel dispute in great detail as this topic is covered in a separate module (IP2/31320, The Arab-Israeli Wars).


- Introductory Themes and Issues
- The First World War and the End of the Ottoman Empire
- The European Powers and the Emergence of the Middle Eastern Nation States
- Zionism and the Palestine Mandate
- The Birth of the State of Israel
- Arab Nationalism: From the Ottomans to Nasser
- The Middle East and the Origins of the Cold War
- The Path to Suez and the End of the European Age
- The Age of Nasser and the 'Arab Cold War'
- The Soviet Union and the Cold War in the Middle East
- 1967 and the Making of the Modern Arab-Israel Dispute
- Egypt's Road to Peace
- Iran and Iraq: Neighbours and Enemies
- Israel, Syria and the Destruction of Lebanon
- The PLO: From Cairo to Oslo
- America's Moment in the Middle East
- Oil and Power in the 20th Century Middle East

Transferable skills

Seminar preparation requires students to read and think critically and conceptually about particular historical and political themes and issues. Computer literacy and information technology skills are developed by the use of e-mail and web-based learning resources. Seminar and coursework preparation encourages students to develop an independent research capability. Coursework essay assessment develops argumentative and analytical writing skills as well as word processing and IT abilities. Both Seminar preparation and coursework assessment requirements encourage students to organise their workload and manage their time effectively. Seminar discussion groups foster the development of individual oral communication and debating skills as well as the ability to critically discuss questions and carry out tasks in groups.

10 ECTS credits

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively in different contexts. They will learn the importance of clear communication and be challenged to disseminate their research in a direct, analytical, and engaging fashion.
Improving own Learning and Performance This module will promote self-management, within a context in which support and assistance is available from the convenor in a structured form. Students will be expected to manage their own research projects and engage in the identification of suitable materials.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work electronically through the BlackBoard VLE, and will be challenged to consider the requirements of web publishing in the development of their written assessments.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills with real world applications in the graduate workplace. Alongside the production of both oral and written assessments, students will be tested on their ability to speak in small groups, listen, think, and respond to the statements of others. Students will be offered the opportunity to regularly discuss their progress at seminars during the module. In advance of these sessions, the convenor will provide students with a series of questions to guide self-reflection on their progress, and to act as a blueprint for continued progress as the module continues.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be central to the module. The submission of an assessed webpage and preparation for the presentation will require students to develop independent research and problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; identify and organize data; reason logically; compare and contrast information; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be challenged to identify and critically analyze a range of visual and written materials. They will be expected to undertake their own research and exercise initiative in the identification and evaluation of materials, and to place these materials into the context of an existing historiography.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice, and test a wide range of subject specific skills, which help them to understand, conceptualise, and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These skills include: collecting, interpreting, and analyzing a wide range of data; demonstrating primary research techniques; applying a range of methodological approaches to complex ideas and contemporary political issues.
Team work The oral assessment session will provide students with the opportunity to discuss their ongoing progress with peers, and will be designed to encourage students to discuss their research with a view to sharing best practice and stimulating collaborative thinking.


This module is at CQFW Level 6