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Unit information: The Middle East in International Relations Theory in 2018/19

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Unit name The Middle East in International Relations Theory
Unit code POLIM0037
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Filippo Dionigi
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The main aim of this unit is to apply the theories and conceptual tools of the discipline of International Relations to the study of the Middle East region. It will use the empirical material offered by the history, politics, political economy and international politics of the region to explore these concepts and theories. Following an extensive historical introduction to the modern period in the Middle East, we will use various IR theories as heuristic tools in understanding the international relations of the region. Foreign policy analysis concepts and approaches will be applied to the foreign policies of specific Middle East states. Finally, we will concentrate on a number of major issue areas which constitute the cornerstones of the international relations of the region.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, in their assessed work students will be able to demonstrate:

1. Critical evaluation of theories and concepts of International Relations in application to the Middle East region

2. An in-depth understanding of the history, political economy, politics and international politics of the Middle East

3. Awareness of and ability to analyse the foreign policies of individual states within the Middle East

4. Awareness of and ability to evaluate major issues in the international relations of the Middle East region

Teaching details

The unit will be taught in one two hour seminar each week with a mixed form of delivery (student participation, seminar discussion, tutor lead teaching). Contact Hours Per Week 2 hours total per week. Student Input In addition to the 20 hours of classroom time, students are expected to devote approximately 180 hours to independent reading, seminar preparation and essay writing.

Assessment Details

Formative: 10 minute seminar presentation

The formative seminar presentation will be on an assignment question related to the weekly seminar topic and designed to assess and provide students with feedback on at least one of intended learning outcomes 1-4.

Summative: 4000 word essay

The summative essay will allow for assessment of and feedback on intended learning outcomes 1-4. The summative essay questions will be specifically designed to allow for assessment students’ ability to critically engage with and evaluate both the theoretical approaches and empirical issues/cases covered by the unit.

Reading and References

Michael Barnett, Dialogues in Arab Politics (Columbia University Press, 1998)

Simon Bromley, Remaking Middle East Politics (Polity Press, 1994)

Louise Fawcett, International Relations of the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2013)

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

Raymond Hinnebusch, The International Politics of the Middle East (Manchester University Press, 2003)

Baghat Korany and Ali Dessouki, The Foreign Policies of Arab States (The American University of Cairo Press, 2008).

Marc Lynch (ed.), International Relations Theory and a Changing Middle East (Aarhus University, 2015)

Shibley Telhami and Michael Barnett, Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East (Cornell University Press, 2002)