MES4500 – Topics in Middle East Politics and Society I

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

Topic spring 2023: Gender and Revolutions: Rethinking the “Women Question” in the Modern Middle East 

This course focuses on one or more central topics in the field of Middle East politics and society. These topics are predominantly related to past or ongoing research activities in the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages such as democratization, state-society relations, Islamist movements, minorities, ethno-nationalist conflicts, insurgencies, gender issues, climate change, and the use of social media in the Middle East and North Africa.

The specific topic of the course will be announced before the semester starts, and the course does not overlap with MES4520 – Topics in Middle East Politics and Society II.

Examples of courses that has been given in MES4500:

Learning outcome

The course is based on the reading, analysis and discussion of sources in English and, whenever possible, in a Middle Eastern language. You will learn to:

  • analyze primary sources in English translation (or Arabic/Persian/Turkish original for those who know the language)
  • present of your own analysis of texts for an audience
  • write an academic essay built on both original and secondary sources - a good preparation for work on your MA thesis


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.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

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


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

Compulsory activities

  • Active participation in at least 70% of seminars, including oral feedback on fellow participants’ presentations.
  • Participation in two oral class group presentations of about 20 minutes introducing and reflecting on some of the required reading.
  • Submission of three review essays throughout the course.  These written assignments are concise essays of a minimum of 750 words to 850 words maximum that will engage critical themes discussed in both the class and from the readings. Each essay should offer a focused analysis. They should be critical engagements with the texts, not summaries, reviews, or reports on what one liked or did not like about the readings. Essay questions will be announced via Canvas one week before each essay is due.

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.


The exam is a term paper of 10 pages, not counting front page and references. 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

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in 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