Middle East in Conflict: Anthropological Approaches - SE637

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR Z Biner Arroyo-Kalin checkmark-circle


This module aims to provide perspectives on the political anthropology of the Middle East with a particular focus on post-Ottoman and post-colonial territories such as Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Egypt. It uses anthropological tools to explore the effects of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, its legacy and other colonial regimes on the constitution of different nation-states in the region. Drawing on historical and anthropological studies about multiple sovereign actors as well different forms of citizenship, this module will introduce students to the diversity of identities, political struggles, memories of violence, traumas, and hopes in the politically volatile Middle East. Through lectures and seminars, students will explore critically anthropological works in dialogue with historians and political scientists on the following themes: nation-building, Islamist movements, secularism, minorities, sectarianism, ethnic conflicts, forced migration and displacement, authoritarian regimes, and resistance movements.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


BSc Anthropology and associated programmes
BA Social Anthropology and associated programmes
Also available as a wild module

Method of assessment

Research Essay (3000 words) (60%)
Book Review Essay (2000 words) (40%)

Indicative reading

Allen, Lori. 2010. The Rise and Fall of Human Rights. Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Biner, Zerrin Ozlem. 2019. States of Dispossession: Violence and Precarious Coexistence in Southeast Turkey: Pennyslyvania: University of Pennsylvania Press
Deeb Lara and Jessica Winegar, 2016. Anthropology's Politics: Disciplining the Middle East.
Stanford: Stanford University Press
Hafez, Sherine.2019. Women of the Midan. The Untold stories of Egypt's Revolutionaries. Indiana University Press
Randa Nucho, Joanne 2016. Everyday Sectarianism in Urban Lebanon: Infrastructure,
Public Services, and Power. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Ekmekcioglu, Lerna. 2016. Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide
Turkey. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Learning outcomes

8.1 Be conversant in the main themes and trends of the anthropology of a specific ethnographic area;
8.2 Critically understand the ethnographic area in economic, political, and social depth, the cultural diversity of the region, and at regional, national and global levels;
8.3 Critically interpret the political development of those societies and cultures;
8.4 Apply anthropological insights to contemporary economic, political, religious and social developments in the area;
8.5 Understand the impact of study of the ethnographic area on the anthropological study of politics, nationalism, conflict and violence
8.6 Demonstrate knowledge ofkey theoretical contributions of the anthropology of the ethnographic area to the wider discipline and their leading role in shaping wider anthropological debates and disciplinary reflexivity.


  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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