SOAS University of London

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Directed Readings in an African, Asian or Middle Eastern Language

Module Code:
This module is expected to run every other year
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Final Year
Taught in:
Term 1

The objective of the Directed Readings module is to provide final year language students with the opportunity to explore readings in an African, Asian or Middle Eastern language, in greater depth and breadth than more traditional lecture-based modules permit. The readings can be focused on a text genre, or a specific area of interest (e.g., literature, history, film, linguistics, politics, culture, or the arts).

The student will thereby be able and guided by a supervisor to develop specialisations in accordance with their own academic interests while gaining both insight into new perspectives on the subject, (which may be significantly different from the perspectives to be gained from reading in English), and a deeper understanding of the language in question. Furthermore, students will be able to develop skills of research, analysis, and presentation in preparation for the final assignment. As such, the Directed Readings module will serve as a useful transition between the more structured teaching in undergraduate classrooms and the independence of more research-based projects.


Successful completion of Level 2B in target langauge or equivalent.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  1. Locate and evaluate data in an African, Asian or Middle Eastern Language on their chosen topic.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to work independently and engage actively with academic scholarship in a self-directed manner.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of current critical thinking on the topic of choice.
  4. Demonstrate specialist knowledge of the chosen African, Asian or Middle Eastern Language in the chosen topic.
  5. Demonstrate critical awareness and independence of thought.
  6. Demonstrate sensitivity to the existence of non-Eurocentric views and an awareness of the limitations of purely Eurocentric interpretations of their chosen topic.
  7. Communicate in writing about the chosen topic.
  8. Communicate in spoken language about the chosen topic.


Total of 5 hours project supervision and 2 hours seminars throughout the term.

Scope and syllabus

The range of languages in which this module may be made available are normally the languages of Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia that are offered by the department. Other regional languages may be possible too if suitable expertise is available and supervision can be arranged.

A suitable programme of readings in the relevant language will be agreed in consultation between the supervisor and the student to match the interests and abilities of the student.

The students must demonstrate evidence of focus, self-discipline, and commitment to completing the work with limited supervision.

Any student wishing to take a Directed Readings module should contact the module convenor who can identify a potential supervisor well in advance to discuss the feasibility of the proposed topic.

Method of assessment

  • A 500-800 word review of bibliography, essay structure and abstract to be submitted in the term which the module is taught (20%)
  • An essay or podcast or audio-visual animated PowerPoint presentation of 3,000 words, or equivalent, submitted in the term after which the module is completed (80%)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

Readings will be discussed in consultation with the supervisor, but given SOAS library's extensive holding of texts and films in African, Asian and Middle Eastern Languages, as well as access to online resources, there should be no problem finding suitable materials on most topics related to film, literature, culture, and social history of the region.

Additional Reading

  • Flick, U., 2007. The Sage qualitative research kit. London: Sage Publications.
  • Gross, John, (Editor) The Oxford Book of Essays (Oxford Books of Prose & Verse), Oxford University Press, 2008
  • Greetham, B., 2008. How to Write Better Essays (Palgrave Study Skills). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Seely, John, 2013, Oxford A-Z Of Grammar and Punctuation, OUP
  • Walliman, N. S. R., 2010. Research methods: The basics. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Wisker, G., 2009. The undergraduate research handbook. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire [England] New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules