Politics of the Middle East and North Africa: Space, Society and Politics - POLI6300

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Jonathan Rock checkmark-circle


How can we understand the Middle East? Why have states in the region experienced conflict and instability? Should the solution to violence come from outside the region, or can problems only be resolved from the inside? This module aims to answer these questions by introducing students to the societies, cultures, spaces and political systems of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with their diversity, histories and complexities. As such, the module will explore different themes related to MENA politics, using different states and societies from the region as case studies. It will provide students with insights into the root causes of conflicts; the persistence of authoritarian regimes; the rise of youth protest movements; tradition versus modernity; and urbanism versus periphery. The module will apply an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the region, bringing in insights and methods from politics, geography and anthropology. Furthermore, the module will take a comparative approach, placing the MENA region in a broader context and applying lessons from other parts of the world to better understand the region.


Contact hours

Private Study: 128
Contact Hours: 22
Total: 150


Optional to the following courses:
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations (Bidiplôme)
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Placement Year
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Foundation Year
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe or North America
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Language
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Year in Asia-Pacific
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with Quantitative Research
• BA (Hons) Economics and Politics
• BA (Hons) History and Politics
• BA (Hons) Philosophy and Politics
• BA (Hons) Sociology and Politics
• BA (Hons) Cultural Studies and Social Anthropology
• BA (Hons) Sociology and Social Anthropology
• BSc (Hons) Anthropology
• BSc (Hons) Human Geography
• LLB (Hons) Law and Politics
• LLB (Hons) Law and Social Anthropology

Also available as an elective module and to short term credit students.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay 1 (2,000 words) 50%
Essay 2 (2,000 words) 50%

Reassessment Instrument:
Like for like

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Gain a comprehensive knowledge of the MENA by looking into different states, governments and societies
2 Trace processes of continuity and change across space and time
3 Critically assess the sources of social, cultural and political developments in the region
4 Apply a comparative lens to the study of MENA, applying lessons from other parts of the world to understanding regional developments
5 Use cases from the MENA region to enrich existing theories in the social sciences and develop new ones.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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