POLIS 2120 - Conflict and Crisis in the Middle East

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2019

Since the creation of the modern Middle East in the early 20th Century the region has been consumed with both conflict and crisis. Many of these problems stem from the legacies of Ottoman and European colonialism. This course will examine the impact of colonialism, the creation of new nation-states, the division of ethnic and tribal groups, and the experimentation with new and foreign political ideologies. The search for national political identity in a post-colonial world has been influenced and shaped by key regional developments such as the establishment of Israel, the Palestinian refugees, intra-country conflict, the Cold War, and the influence (and at times occupation by) regional and Western powers. In the post-Cold War period a political vacuum emerged which was quickly filled by political Islamists and led to the era known as the 'war on terror'; resulting in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Currently the region remains an area of stark contrasts of under-development and modernity, poverty and wealth, and a mixture of autocratic, theocratic and democratic systems of governance. The majority of the region's population is under 25 years of age and the political, social and economic implications this is going to have on the region and internationally in the next couple of decades is critical. The changing narratives and discourse emerging from years of foreign intervention, corruption and social change offset through globalisation will be the focus of this short course. This course will examine past conflicts and crises in the Middle East ranging from the creation of its modern borders, the Arab-Israeli wars, the 1956 Suez crisis, the Iranian revolution, the rise of political Islam, to the changing real politik in the post-September 11 environment and beyond.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 2120
    Course Conflict and Crisis in the Middle East
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Relations
    Term Summer
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Incompatible POLI 2120
    Assessment 1800-2400 word research project (40%), 900-1200 word minor essay (20%), group exercise (20%), class test (10%), tutorial participation (10%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Minerva NasserEddine

    Course Coordinator: Dr Minerva Nasser-Eddine

    Email: minerva.nassereddine@adelaide.edu.au
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Provide students with knowledge of historical and current debates in Middle Eastern politics.

    2. Provide students with a good understanding of the background of issues and events that have shaped Middle Eastern politics.

    3. Identify and discuss the challenges faced by the Middle East

    4. Build students capacity to undertake independent research based on a range of sources relating to Middle Eastern politics.

    5. Build students conceptual, analytic and critical skills based on contemporary developments in the Middle East.

    6. Encourage the development of advanced skills in critical analysis and reflection upon contemporary Middle Eastern issues.

    7. Produce coherent and well substantiated arguments.

    8. Express ideas confidently, thoughtfully and respectfully.

    9. Work with others in the exploration of relevant content.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2, 3, 4, 5, 9
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    2, 3, 6, 7, 8
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    3, 5, 6, 8, 9
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course Readings made available through MyUni
    Recommended Resources
    Recommended resources such as additional readings, essay writing guides and referencing guidelines will be uploaded during and leading up to the delivery of the course in February 2019.
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be utilised to upload additional resources, including scholarly articles, news items and video clips.

    Important Note: The sessions (lectures/seminars/activities) will NOT be recorded. This is an intensive face-to-face course that requires daily attendance and participation in each and everyone of the sessions for the two-week duration of the course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Conflict and Crisis in the Middle East is a course which is only delivered as an intensive. This means that the usual contact hours of a semester run course is being delivered in ten days. There are many reasons for enrolling in such a course. The course relies on students attending and participating in all activities during the period the course is delivered.

    If you believe that you will be absent for more than one day of this course you will need to inform the lecturer in order to either make up for the missed content and/or to discuss the feasibility of remaining enrolled.

    The minimum number of contact hours in a day will be approximately three hours and the maximum number will be approximately six hours. Outside of the official contact hours you will realistically be undertaking approximately 6-8 hours of study a day.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.


    3 x 4 hour sessions per week - over two weeks = 24 hours
    2 x 3 hour sessions per week - over two weeks = 12 hours
    15 hours of reading per week - over three weeks = 45 hours
    10 hours of research per week - over four weeks  = 40 hours
    10 hours of group project work per week - over one week = 10 hours
    10 hours of assignment preparation per week - over two weeks = 20 hours
    5 hour test preparation = 5 hours

    Total 156 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Day 1: Pre and Post Creation of the Modern Middle East

    Day 2: Palestinian and Israeli conflict

    Day 3: Arab-Israeli conflict

    Day 4: Post-independence: Political Structures and Realities

    Day 5: Planting the Sectarian Seed

    Day 6: 9/11 and its fall out 

    Day 7: Arab Spring 1

    Day 8: Arab Spring 2

    Day 9: Daesh, jihadism and violent extremism

    Day 10: Shifting Sands in the Middle East in the era of Trump
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Seminars will include small-group activites and semi structured discussions designed to provide students with a fulfilling 'small group discovery experience'. Students will also be encouraged to work in small groups outside the classroom, including in the research and production of their group assisgnment.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcomes
    Research Project Formative & Summative 40% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Minor Essay Formative & Summative 20% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Group Exercise Formative & Summative 20% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Class Test Summative 10% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Tutorial Participation Formative & Summative 10% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance at tutorials/seminars is compulsory. Failure to attend without permission from the course coordinator can result in the student being precluded from passing the course.
    Assessment Detail
    Tutorial /Seminar Work: Tutorials are forums for free exchange and discussion of informed opinions, that is, ideas and thoughts based on reading and reflection, as well as places for raising questions and for the exchange of relevant information. All students are expected to have read the required readings in preparation for the tutorials. Tutorials will be assessed on the basis of the depth of knowledge on the weekly topic, the quality of engagement with the essential readings and other materials, and the attitude displayed towards the arguments and contributions of others. 

    Report / Essay: The report/essay is designed to assess the student’s understanding of the dominant issues in the Middle East. Students will have to write a report/essay on one of the many questions available to them or have the option of creating one (requires approval from the course coordinator). The report will require critical engagement with the findings and the use of relevant concepts and theories. The report/essay will be 2000 words.

    Minor Essay/Annotated Bibliography and Abstract: Students have an option of working early on the Report/Essay by submitting an Abstract and annotated bibliography in preparation for the report submission.

    Alternatively, students can opt to choose another essay question (or make up your own with approval from the course coordinator)

    The Minor Essay/Annotated Bibliography and Abstract will be 1000 words.

    Group Project: Each student is to contribute 800 words to a nominated group project.

    Class Test: Will be undertaken online.

    Important note: essential information to complete written assignments successfully will be provided in due course in sessions and on MyUni in the form of responses to frequently asked questions [FAQs].
    All assessments (Minor essay, Report, and Group Project) must be submitted electronically, through Turnitin. The link will be available on MyUni.

    The official procedure and form to apply for extensions is: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/3303 

    Late essays without an approved extension will be penalised at the rate of 2% per day.

    There is a cut-off period of 7 days (including weekends and public holidays), after which late submissions without a formal extension will not be accepted/marked. In the case of late submissions with a formal extension approved, the cut-off date is 7 days (including weekends and public holidays) from the revised due date, at 11:59pm.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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