MES4210 – Topics in Arabic Studies I

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Topic Spring 2022: Landmarks of Modern Arabic Fiction

This course focuses on one or more select topics in Arabic studies, broadly understood as the study of the Arabic-speaking world, based on Arabic sources. Both cultural, social, religious, and political dimensions may be covered, in their contemporary and/or historical formations. Special attention is given to how these issues are dealt with in textual and/or visual production, by literary or academic authors, intellectuals, journalists, political actors, social media users, etc. This may include literature, media and other forms of cultural expression; religion, philosophy and thought; history and historiography; the formation of ideological paradigms; gender, family and education; etc. 

Examples of courses that has been given in MES4210:

Learning outcome

  • Become familiar with a highly relevant aspect of modern Arab cultural production in a historical perspective
  • Come to know major representatives of the modern literary canon, their authors and the key issues taken up by them and skillfully molded into in literary parables
  • Acquire competence in the reading and interpretation of Arabic primary sources
  • Receive training in the critical use of relevant secondary literature both in Arabic and in other languages
  • Develop the ability to describe and summarize source material and to analyze it with regard to a chosen method of literary criticism

  • present their own analyses in oral and written form and in a concise academic style


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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Please see the admission requirements defined by the programme option Middle East Studies.

The teaching presupposes intermediate to upper intermediate competence in modern Arabic.

Recommended previous knowledge


The course is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars organised as 10 classes of 2 hrs each throughout the semester. The course presupposes active participation.

Compulsory activities

  • Week-to-week preparation of assigned texts and reference literature for in-class discussion
  • At least 80 percent attendance in class
  • One or two oral presentations in class (precise number and length will be determined at the beginning of the semester). The oral presentation must be accompanied by a 1-page hand-out. As part of active participation in class, students will be required to comment on each other’s presentations
  • Outline of the term paper and a list of sources

Approved compulsory activities are only valid for the current semester.

Valid absence

If you have valid absence from the compulsory activity, you must submit an application and hand in documentation. 

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activity.

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.


The exam is a term paper of 8-10 pages of main text, each page comprising up to around 2300 characters including spaces (max. 23,000 characters excluding footnotes and list of references), on a subject related to the course and approved by the teacher. The paper must be based mainly on Arabic sources. 

The compulsory activities must be completed and approved in order to take the exam.

Grading guidelines

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

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

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.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language