MØNA1300 – History of Literature in The Middle East

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course provides an introduction to Middle Eastern literature and cultural conditions in a comparative perspective. A selection of literary texts from Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish literature will be studied in relation to in their historical, cultural and socio-political context. The students will discuss language relations and the relationships between classical and modern literature, as well as the role of literature in the national building process. The course will also focus on the ability of literature to comment on relevant societal issues such as the relationship between East and West, political systems and the role of women in the society.

Learning outcome

  • You will be presented to a selection of authors and short stories dealing with key topics in Middle Eastern literature
  • You will become familiar with some basic analytical tools and interpretation techniques
  • You learn to understand literature as a symbolic expression and gain insights into important literary traditions
  • You are trained to see literary texts in their historical context(s) and in a comparative as well as a wider cultural perspective
  • You learn to discuss your analysis and interpretation hypotheses in a workgroup and to present these orally in front of the class and in writing in the form of a wiki entry


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.


Recommended previous knowledge

 It is recommended to have attended the course MØNA1000 – Midtøsten: Permanent krise? Hvordan forstå Midtøsten.

Also recommended are good reading skills in English.

Overlapping courses

The student is responsible for making sure that the course content does not overlap with other courses the student has already received credit for.


The course is based on a total of 14 two-hour sessions, 1 combined double lecture/seminar per week. A detailed teaching plan will be posted on the web page before start of term. Here it will also be stated when the students will present their oral presentations.

Before students can do their mandatory activity, they must read the syllabus texts and get prepared for the seminars (this consists in a thorough reading of the text(s) on the agenda).

Mandatory activity:

1) Prepare 2 oral presentations on at least 2 of the curriculum texts and lead the discussion in the corresponding seminar. This may also be done as a group work.

The presentation should (a) present a brief summary of the content, (b) describe the structural characteristics of the text, and (c) develop and present some ideas about the interpretation of the text.

This may be a group work, but each student will present for ca. 20 minutes. For the oral presentation the student must also prepare a hand-out/power point presentation outlining the main points of the analysis and suggesting questions for discussion to the rest of the class. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the teacher a week before the presentation to go through plans, questions and thoughts regarding the presentation.

2) Prepare a wiki entry for the same short stories/novels. The wiki-entry must be handed to the teacher within one week after the oral presentation. It must be re-submitted after having integrated the comments and suggestions of the teacher.

In order for you to take the exam, all presentations and submissions of assignments must be completed and submitted within the specified deadlines (and approved by the teacher). Before taking the exam, each student must also select a specialization text (marked as P or T in the list of Specialization texts).

Regulations governing compulsory activities



The compulsory academic activity described under Teaching (above) must be accomplished and approved in order for the student to pass the exam.

Home examination over three days
A three days long home examination culminating in the submission of a paper of approx. 5 pages - in total approx. 1500 words, including references. (Font: Times New Roman,12 point, 1,5 line spacing and margins of approx. 2.5 cm.) You will get more details about the choice of topic etc. from the teacher.

In this assignment the students will answer 2-3 general questions on the basis of the lectures and overview articles in the syllabus, and write an essay on the specialization text they have chosen. The essay should compare the specialization text (the one that the student has presented in class) with one of the syllabus texts.

Previous exam questions and criterias of assessment

Submit assignments in Inspera

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

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 submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. If you would prefer to have the exam text in English, you may apply to the course administrators.

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

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language

Norsk og engelsk