MES4520 – Topics in Middle East Politics and Society II

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Topic Spring 2020: "Making Sense of ISIS: Jihadist Insurgencies and Proto-States in the contemporay MENA region" 

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 and may include topics such as democratization, state-society relations, Islamist movements, minorities, ethno-nationalist conflicts, insurgencies, gender issues, and the use of social media in the Middle East.

The specific topic of the course will be announced before the semester starts, and the course does not overlap with MES4500 – Topics in Middle East Politics and Society I.

The course is based on the reading, analysis and discussion of sources in English and, whenever possible, in a Middle Eastern language. Training in methodology, team work, essay writing and oral presentation is an integral part of the course.

Learning outcome

You will learn to read extensively, and to analyze sources relevant for the study of contemporary Middle East society and politics. You will learn to work in a team in order to discuss, produce, and present academic knowledge in oral and written forms.

Examples of thematic courses that may be given in MES4520:

  • “Ethno-political Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa”
  • “Oil and Politics in the Gulf”
  • “New Anthropological Perspectives on the Middle East and North Africa”
  • "Political fault lines in post-revolutionary Iran."


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 throughout the semester. The course presupposes active participation.

Compulsory tuition activities such as presentations and submission of assignments must be completed and submitted within the given deadlines, and approved by the teacher in order for you to sit the exam. Approved tuition activities are only valid for the current semester.

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


This course is evaluated by a portfolio submission. The portfolio should be between 8-10 pages, not counting front page and references.

Compulsory tuition activities must be completed and approved in order for you to sit exam.

Information regarding submission of assignments at IKOS.

Grading guidelines spring 2019

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.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language