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Middle East Summer School at SOAS


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An intensive five-week summer school programme which includes a choice of courses from the following:

  • Beginners Arabic (Level 1)
  • Beginners Arabic (Level 2)
  • Government and Politics of the Middle East
  • Culture and Society in the Middle East

Students would normally take one of the Arabic modules, which take place in the morning, and either 'Government and Politics of the Middle East' or 'Culture and Society in the Middle East', both of which run in the afternoon.

Session (5 weeks) 

22 June-23 July 2015 


Programme fee

£2,500 (two courses)

Early bird discount of 10% to apply to course fees before 15 April 2015.

Accommodation fee

from £300/week
Rooms can be booked at the Intercollegiate Halls which are located in the heart of Bloomsbury: www.halls.london.ac.uk

Application Form

LMEI Summer School Programme Application Form (pdf; 1012kb)


For more information, please contact Louise Hosking: lh2@soas.ac.uk



Beginners Arabic (Level 1)

This is an introductory course in Modern Standard Arabic. It teaches students the Arabic script and provides basic grounding in Arabic grammar and syntax. On completing the course, students should be able to read, write, listen to, and understand simple Arabic sentences and passages. This course is for complete beginners and does not require any prior knowledge of Arabic.

Suggested Textbooks:
Teaching is principally based on the course book:

  • Brustad K., Al-Batal M., & Al-Tonsi A., Alif Baa Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds, Third Edition, Georgetown University Press, 2010
  • Brustad K., Mohmoud Al-Batal M., & Al-Tonsi A., Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-Arabiyya, Part one, Third Edition,Georgetown University Press, 2011
Beginners Arabic (Level 2)

This course is a continuation of Beginners Arabic Level 1. It completes the coverage of the grammar and syntax of Modern Standard Arabic and trains students in reading, comprehending and writing with the help of a dictionary more complex Arabic sentences and passages.

To qualify for entry into this course, students should have completed at least one prior introductory course in Arabic.

Suggested Textbooks:
Teaching is principally based on the course book:

  • Alosh, M. and Clark, A., Ahlan wa Sahlan, Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners (New Haven: Yale, 2009).
  • Badawi E., Abd al-Latif M. H. & al-Batal M., al-Kitab al-asasi, Volume 2, The American University in Cairo Press, 2008

The course convenor will also provide additional texts from contemporary Arabic media.

Government and Politics of the Middle East

This course serves as an introduction to the politics of North Africa (Maghreb), the Arab East (Mashriq) including the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, Turkey and Iran. It gives - on a country by county basis - an overview of the major political issues and developments in the region since the end of the First World War and addresses key themes in the study of contemporary Middle East politics, including: the role of the military, social and economic development, political Islam, and the recent uprisings (the 'Arab Spring').

Its aim is to develop the students' understanding of the major trends in the Middle East politics and their skills of political analysis through critical reading, lectures, presentations and informed discussion.

Suggested Textbooks:

  • Gelvin, James L., The Modern Middle East: A History, Oxford: OUP, 2008
    Owen, R., State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, revised ed., Lonon, 2004.
  • Pappé, Ilan, The Modern Middle East, London: Routledge, 2005.
  • Willis, Michael, Politics and Power in the Maghreb: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco from Independence to Arab Spring, Hurst and Company, 2012.
Culture and Society in the Middle East

This course offers an introduction to the theories and methods of studying culture and deals with the history and development of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) culture from the classical period to the present. It examines the major cultural patterns and institutions of the MENA region.

The course is taught through a study of some lively topics such as religious and ethnic diversity, impact of the West, stereotyping, the role of tradition, education (traditional and modern), family structure and value, gender politics, media, life in city, town and village, labour and labour migration, the Palestinian refugee problem and exile communities, culinary cultures, music and media, etc.

Suggested Textbooks:

  • Hourani, A. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, Cambridge, 1988. Chs. 6 & 7.
  • Homa, Katouzian, The Persians: Ancient, Medieval and Modern Iran, Yale University Press, 2010.
  • Edward Said, “The Question of Palestine,” The Question of Palestine, pp. 3-55.
  • Farha Ghannam, “Gender and the Struggle over Public Spaces,” Remaking the Modern: Space, Relocation and the Politics of Identity (2002), pp. 88-115
  • L.Cleveland and Martin, A History of the Modern Middle East, Westview Press, Part 1, chapters 1-3.
  • Maxime Rodinson, “Who are the Arabs?,” The Arabs, pp. 1-4.
  • Axworthy, Michael, A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind, Basic Books, 2010.