MES4110 – Readings of Middle Eastern Texts

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Consisting of a series of guided reading seminars, this course introduces students to a selection of original language source material in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or Hebrew. The main goal is to introduce students to excerpts from major texts of cultural, historical, literary, and/or political significance, but the precise selection of texts may vary in accordance with participants’ research. Students will be divided into subgroups according to their choice of language. They are expected to read, interpret and discuss source material in context, and demonstrate their ability to present and analyze the source material in written form, such as in a term paper (which may be an essay, a book review, or an analytical article), or in a series of shorter contributions presented as a portfolio submission.

Learning outcome

This course has two key learning outcomes:

  • familiarizing participants with primary source material from the Middle East and 
  • improving their proficiency in reading source material in a Middle Eastern language. 


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is only available for students admitted to the programme option Middle East Studies.


Autumn 2020: Teaching will follow the guidelines for preventing the spread of Covid-19.

A detailed plan for the semester will show which activities will be digital, and this will be updated by the beginning of August.

There will not be a requirement for compulsory attendance for teaching which is done digitally, but we strongly recommend that you follow all the teaching.

Each student must choose one language seminar group according to his or her language specialization. This is done in StudentWeb when signing up for the course.

Teaching will take part throughout the semester; class meetings will be dedicated to reading, analysing, and discussing texts. Students will be obliged individually to introduce selected texts orally in class, and to submit a summary presentation of this in writing. The course requires active participation in class; this presupposes that students complete assigned readings and written assignments prior to coming to class. Both English and the focus language may be used for oral communication in class.

Approved tuition activities is only valid for one semester.
Guidelines for compulsory tuition activities.

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance 

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


This course is evaluated with a portfolio submission. The format of the examination may be decided individually for each seminar group, which may be series of shorter contributions or few longer ones, such as an essay, a book review, or an analytical article.
The total length of the submission should be 8-10 pages, excluding bibliography and appendices. Each seminar may have different deadlines for final submission. Approved drafts are only valid for one semester.

For few, long contributions: A preliminary draft must be submitted within a given deadline and be approved by the teacher in order to qualify for the final exam. The draft is to be submitted in Canvas within the deadline.

For series of shorter contributions: Students select 2-4 of the written assignment submissions that they have worked on in the course of the semester. Feedback on these assignments, as well as on the oral presentation of them, should be used to revise the component parts of the portfolio before final submission in Inspera within a given deadline.

Grading guidelines Fall 2018

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English and/or your language of specialization.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Prior evalutations.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language