MES4520 – Topics in Middle East Politics and Society II

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Topic Spring 2021: "Making Sense of ISIS: Jihadist insurgencies and proto-states in the contemporary 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 course does not overlap with MES4500 – Topics in Middle East Politics and Society I.

Examples of topics that have been given in MES4520:

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.


    Spring 2021: 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.

    There will not be a requirement for compulsory attendance for teaching in the spring of 2021, but we strongly recommend that you follow all the teaching.

    The course is taught through 14 lectures of two hours each. 

    Compulsory Tuition Activities

    1) Oral presentation of 12-15 minutes at one of the seminars. The presentation should include a powerpoint presentation and lecture notes, to be submitted one day in advance.

    2) Term paper no. 1: A draft of a short term paper (4 page in its final version) on a topic specified by the instructor.

    3) Term paper no. 2: A draft of a long term paper (10 pages in its final version) on a topic chosen by the student. The choice must be approved by the teacher.

    All three assignments above must be approved by the teacher in order to take the exam. The sketches / drafts for the two term papers should be at least two pages long and must include a working title, a research question, a tentative outline of the argument, and a bibliography. The drafts are to be submitted in Canvas by the beginning of April 2021. Remember that the topics of the two term papers and the oral presentation must all be different.

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


    This course is evaluated by a portfolio submission. The portfolio consists of three parts: a short term paper (4 pages), a long term paper (10 pages), and power point presentation with lecture notes.

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

    Information regarding submission of assignments at IKOS.

    Grading guidelines spring 2019 - Gender and Revolutions: Rethinking the "Women Question" in the Modern Middle East   

    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