SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School at SOAS

The Middle East in Global Politics (2019 entry)

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


Programme Description 

What do we mean by the Middle East – east of where, and why? How should we go about studying the political aspirations and agency of almost half a billion people? To what extent are their fates tied to great power politics, and how can we account for phenomena of cooperation and solidarity in their regional affairs? Can we draw a clear line between the local and the global in Middle East politics?

This module will help students deliberate all these questions, by placing the modern Middle East in its global context without losing sight of local and regional dynamics, cultures, and political traditions. We will explore histories of empire and decolonisation, alongside themes of hegemony and resistance, conflict and cooperation, identity and foreign policy. The module is informed by critical engagement with theories of international relations. 

The course begins with an exploration of the different historical phases of interaction between Middle East states and the international system. These are divided into the colonial, decolonisation, and post-Cold War periods. Lectures and tutorials will cover the early settler colonies, Britain’s informal empire in the Gulf, and the Anglo-French mandates, as well as the emergence of Turkey and Israel, and the challenge represented by the pan-Arabist revolutionary states, followed by discussion of the Middle East’s place in the post-Cold War unipolar era. We will discuss each of these phases in tandem with relevant paradigms from international relations theory used to study the Middle East in its international context. The module then moves to tackle key themes in international relations, such as transnationalism, international political economy, and the politics of security, before taking a closer look at key actors in regional foreign policy making. It closes by addressing contemporary challenges that have arisen since the Arab uprisings. Over the three weeks, module activities, debates, and fieldtrips will enhance both teaching and learning on the module.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity and critical engagement with the theories of international relations and foreign policy analysis relevant to themes in Middle East regional and international politics;
  • Demonstrate a strong grasp of the history of the region since its emergence as a modern state system at the turn of the last century;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the relevant theoretical debates and empirical cases pertaining to issues of Middle East regional and international politics;
  • Marshal empirical evidence in argument-driven presentations in class
  • Inspire students to continue with further study or interest in the Middle East.

Module Activities

The unique and vibrant cultural landscape of London provides the perfect setting for the activities that complement this module. These usually include a guided tour of the Mosaic Rooms Gallery and QnA with the Director, a guided tour of the British Museum’s Islamic Art Gallery and QnA with its lead Curator, film screenings followed by discussion, and seminars delivered by human rights practitioners and democracy activists from the Middle East. The activities are designed to enhance learning outcomes, and to foster rapport within the classroom, forming some of the highlights of the course. Activities’ precise times and venues are confirmed in the month prior to the start of the module.

Convenor Information

Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl is Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East at SOAS, University of London. She teaches courses on the Comparative Politics and International Relations of the Middle East, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She was previously Lecturer at Durham University and Jarvis Doctorow Junior Research Fellow at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.

Her research examines nationalism and foreign policy in Turkey and Egypt, and the politics of transnational solidarity and pan-Arabism in Egypt, comparing the Nasser and Sadat periods. She is the author of Foreign Policy as Nation Making: Turkey and Egypt in the Cold War published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. She is also the editor of Revolutionary Egypt: Connecting Domestic and International Struggles (Routledge, 2015), and co-editor of the Egypt page at jadaliyya, the academic e-zine of the Arab Studies Institute. Her work has appeared in Nations and Nationalism, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Palestine Studies, and the International Journal of Transitional Justice, among other venues.


Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and a Record of Study will be available on request.


For more information, please fill out our enquiries form

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: 1 July - 19 July 2019

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

Featured events

3 weeks

Tuition Fees 2019

Tuition fee:



Programme structure:


1. Introduction: What is the Middle East?
2. Empire and the Middle East State System
3. Postcolonial Approaches
4. Decolonisation and The Cold War
5. Structuralist and Constructivist Approaches


6. Pan-Arabism and Pan-Islamism
7. States, Markets, Oil
8. The 'War on Terror': Political Violence and International Solidarity
9. Rethinking Security: Critical Approaches


10. Israel/Palestine in Historical Context
11. Israel/Palestine after the Oslo Accords
12. Egypt in Global Politics
13. Iran in Global Politics
14. Turkey in Global Politics
15. The Gulf in Global Politics


16. Origins of the Arab Uprisings
17. Fortunes of the Arab Uprisings
18. The Yemen War in Context

Assessment: is optional and will be in the form of a 2000-2500 word essay to be handed in 2 weeks after the end of the course.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact hours:

46 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours:

Monday - Friday, 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc). 

Reading Materials

Chalcraft, J. Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Fawcett, L. International Relations of the Middle East, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Halliday, F. Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics, and Ideology, Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Hinnebusch, R. The International Politics of the Middle East, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014.

Hinnebusch, R. and A. Ehteshami eds., The Foreign Policies of Middle East States, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2014.

Cleveland, W. and M. Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East, 5th edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 2012.

Useful journals for up-to-date articles include:

• British Journal of Middle East Studies
• International Journal of Middle East Studies
• Arab Studies Journal
• Review of Middle East Studies
• Journal of Palestine Studies
• Middle Eastern Studies
• Middle East Journal

For Middle East politics, the following electronic resources are useful:

• Jadaliyya e-zine:
• Middle East Report:
• Middle East Studies Association homepage:
• British Society for Middle Eastern Studies homepage:

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees


Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


20% discount for our partner institutions


Accommodation is available to Summer School students at the SOAS halls of residence, Dinwiddy House. For more details of how to book a room please visit the Dinwiddy House accommodation page.

Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2019

The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer three tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.

The scholarships will cover the tuition fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2019. 

Application Deadline: 2019-04-12 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


How to Apply

Click to apply

Entry Requirements

In order to join the Academic Summer School, students should meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • Participants must be 18 or over at the time of attendance.
  • Fluency in English language is recommended for non-credit courses, but essential for SOAS Accredited courses. Proficiency can be demonstrated through:
  • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
  • TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills. 
  • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
  • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university. 
  • If you are unsure whether you meet the above entry requirements, please contact us to discuss your application.

Enrolment of applicants who do not meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us about your application and we will be happy to help. 

Application Procedure

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

Applications now accepted on a rolling basis for all courses

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