Scheda insegnamento


L'insegnamento contribuisce al perseguimento degli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile dell'Agenda 2030 dell'ONU.

Pace, giustizia e istituzioni forti Partnership per gli obiettivi

Anno Accademico 2020/2021

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

At the end of the course, students - are able to articulate informed and coherent arguments about the main aspects of Middle Eastern political , social and cultural development in Turkey, Iran and the Arab Middle East by referring to the relevant scholarly literature


The course is organized in lectures and seminars, as detailed in the following program. Lectures (26 hours in remote on MS TEAMS) aim to introduce students to the core tenets of the discipline. Seminars aim to provide occasions for in-depth discussions of class materials and exercises. The division into lessons and seminars is specified in the program that follows. For the seminar section, students will be divided into 2 groups according to their preferences and according to rules concerning the current pandemic emergency: one group will do the seminar in classroom (12 hours) and one group will do the seminar remotely on MS TEAMS (12 hours). Therefore, a total of 38 classroom hours are scheduled for each student. Students are required to carefully read the assigned material before the session and - in the case of seminars - active participation through presentations of existing scholarship and case studies will also be expected. Regardless of the health-related conditions and the specific organization of the course, students will be able to follow the lessons of the entire course remotely on MS TEAMS.

Week 1-

Introduction to the Study of the Modern and Contemporary Middle East/ Defensive Modernization (XIX century): Ottoman Empire, Qajar's Persia and Egypt

Lectures 1-2-3 (core-readings: Cleveland, chaps. 1-8)

Week 2- World War 1 in the Middle East and the Making of the Modern Middle East 

Lectures 4-5-6 (core readings: Cleveland, chaps. 9-12) 

Week 3- The Palestinian Question/ the Independent Middle East in the bipolar Era: Nasserism and the Radicalisation of Arab Politics 

Lectures 7- 8/9 (core readings: Cleveland, chaps 13-15; 17; 22-23) 

Week 4- The Middle East from the Seventies to the end of the Cold War: Multiple Trajectories  

Lectures 10-11-12 (core readings: Cleveland, chaps. 16; 19-21) 

Week 5- The Middle East from the Seventies to the end of the Cold War: Multiple Trajectories 

Lecture 13 (core readings: Cleveland, ch. 18) 


Week 6 

Seminar 1 group A and group B- The quest for 'modernity' in the Middle East (end of XVIII-early XX century)

Week 7 

Seminar 2A and 2B - Carving up the Modern Middle East: 'artificial states'?

Week 8

Seminar 3A and 3B- The Palestinian Question

Week 9

Seminar 4A and B - 'Peace and War in the Middle East in the 1970s and 1980s'.

Week 10

Seminar 5A and B- Authoritarian Entrenchment in Ba3athist Syria and 3iraq in the '70s and '80s.

Week 11

Seminar 6A and B - The Resurgence of Political Islam in the Seventies: comparative genealogies of radical Islamism until the Iranian Revolution (1979)'


For a comprehensive chronological and thematic overview, students are required to study ( see 'core-readings above)

William Cleveland and Martin Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East, Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2016, 6th edition


Karen Armstrong, Islam, a Short History, Phoenix, 2001

The use of the historical maps is highly recommended. A very good selection of maps can be found here:


Compulsory readings for each seminar with related debate topics and activities will be published on VIRTUALE

Instructions for non-attending students (i.e. exam preparation based on independent study ONLY)

Non-attending students are kindly requested to contact the lecturer within 1 month after the beginning of the course to fix an on-line appointment. A first contact will be established and queries about the exam preparation and study methods will be answered.

Non attendings students are required to study the core texts above (Anderson and Armstrong) and are assigned the following reading list about

Celebrating and Reconstructing National Pasts

Podeh, E. (2011) The Politics of National Celebrations in the Arab Middle East, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, chps 1 and 4

Marashi, A. (2014) “Paradigms of Iranian Nationalism: History, Theory, and Historiography.” In Rethinking Iranian Nationalism and Modernity, edited by Kamran Scot Aghaie and Afshin Marashi. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, [Link at https://afshinmarashi.wordpress.com/articles/ ]

_________ (2003) “Performing the Nation: The Shah’s Official Visit to Kemalist Turkey, June to July, 1934.”. In The Making of Modern Iran, edited by Stephanie Cronin. London: Routledge [Link at https://afshinmarashi.wordpress.com/articles/ ]

____________ (2000) “Re-Imagining Nationalism: New Studies in Arab, Turkish, and Israeli Historiography,” Critique: A Journal for Critical Studies of the Middle East 16: 89- 103. [Link athttps://afshinmarashi.wordpress.com/articles/ ]

Yilmaz, Y. (2011) “Learning to Read (Again): the Social Experience of Turkey’s 1928 Alphabet Reform “, IJMES, 43,4 : 677-697

Nereid, C.T. (2011) “Kemalism on the Catwalk: the Turkish Hat Law of 1925”, Journal of Social History, 44, 3: 707-728

Khalili, L (2005) Places of Memory and Mourning: Palestinian Commemoration in the Refugee Camps of Lebanon". Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 14, 25,1: 30–45

Goode, J. (2007) Negotiating the Past, Archeology, Nationalism, and Diplomacy in the Middle East, 1914-1941, Austin, TX: Texas University Press, chps 6, 7 9 and 10

Metodi didattici

The course will be taught by a combination of lectures and seminars featuring individual or group presentations on assigned readings and discussion of key research questions. Active contribution to seminars is considered extremely important and it will be subjected to informal assessment. Every student will be required to present at least once during the course. Students will be required to base their presentations on compulsory weekly readings, trying to provide critic analyses of these materials, compare and contrast different case-studies, discuss peers' responses, situate their arguments within the relevant scholarly debate and elaborate indipendently on the main conceptual points raised during the lectures.

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento

Two take-home essays( a primary souce analysis paper of 2.500 words and an essay of 3.500 words notes and bibliografy excluded) and a final interview. 

Essays must be typed, double-spaced, properly footnoted and containing a brief- but relevant- final bibliography. Sources- at least 5 among scholarly articles, book chapters, and monographies- must build on weekly compulsory and additional readings. See general bibliography above for useful suggestions.

Essay titles will be announced at the beginning of the course. In general terms, the first essay should be handed by the end of week 4, the second one by the end of week 8. Late submissions will be penalized. Plagiarism should be avoided with the outmost attention: make sure quotations are done correctly.

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

pc, video, slides, maps

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Francesca Biancani