Module Identifier IP34920  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Mr James R Vaughan  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   16 Hours (16 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   8 Hours (8 x 1 hour)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  70%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 2000 words  30%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module, students will be able to:

- Describe and analyse the key factors which made the Middle East a region of such central strategic importance over the twentieth century.
- Identify and critically discuss the major events and trends in the rise of nationalism and the decline of imperialism in the Middle East.
- Demonstrate through discussion and coursework an understanding of the historical origins and development of the modern state system in the Middle East.
- Describe the changing roles of the post-1945 Superpowers in the Middle East.
- Display through discussion and coursework an understanding of the nature of the Cold War in the Middle East.
- Discuss and evaluate the internal dynamics of the Middle Eastern regional politics.
- Critically assess the impact of the State of Israel on the international relations of the Middle East.

Brief description

This module aims to introduce students to the international history of the Middle East in the Twentieth Century, with particular emphasis on the end of empire, the Cold War and the role of Israel.


This module aims to provide 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 1990-91 Gulf War. It seeks both to enable students to understand both the region's central importance in world politics during the century and to introduce students to the key factors affecting international relations within the region.

To that end, the module will be divided into four thematic sections: First, students will be given an understanding of the regional clash between different forms of imperialism and nationalism during the period; second, students will be introduced to the role of the Superpowers during the Cold War decades; third students will be given an understanding of the Middle Eastern balance of power from the perspective of internal regional divisions; fourth, students will examine the nature of the role played in the region by the State of Israel since its creation in 1948.   


The module is divided into four thematic sections:
A. Empire
B. Cold War
C. Regional Dimensions
D. Israel and the Arab World

A. Empire
1. The First World War and the End of the Ottoman Empire
2. Mandates, Statebuilding: The Making of the Modern Middle East
3. Arab Nationalism and the Rise of Nasser
4. The Suez Crisis: Causes and Consequences

B. The Cold War
1. Cold War Origins: A Middle Eastern Perspective
2. The Rise and Fall of Soviet Influence in the Middle East
3. The West and the Cold War in the Middle East
4. "America's Moment": The End of the Cold War

C. Regional Dimensions
1. "Progressives" and "Traditionalists" the Arab Cold War 1945 - 1967
2. Iran, Iraq and Syria: Regional Rivalries 1968 - 1991

D. Israel and the Arab World
1. Zionism, the Palestine Mandate and the Creation of Israel
2. The Six Day War of June 1967: Causes and Consequences
3. Peace Tracks?: Israel and the Arab States 1973-1994
4. The Palestinian Question: 1964-1993
5. Nationalism, Regionalism and Internationalism: the Middle East in the Twentieth Century   

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

Reading Lists

Albert Hourani, Philis S Khoury & Marcy C Wilson (eds) (1993) The Modern Middle East London: I.B. Taurus
Deborah J Gerner (ed) (2000) Understanding the Contemporary Middle East London: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc.
Roger Owen (1992) State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East London: Routledge


This module is at CQFW Level 6