Freestanding courses

Every spring CMES offered courses to any student aspiring a deeper understanding of the political, social, cultural, economic and religious developments of the contemporary Middle East. These courses have a limited number of seats. Bellow is a list of courses offered spring 2018. To apply visit

Application period mid-September to mid-October


MOSN06: Environment and sustainable development in the Middle East,

Present-day environmental problems in the Middle East due to the exploitation of land and water resources are the point of departure for this course. Lectures and seminars deal with the sustainable use of land and water resources for environmental preservation and for long-term economic development and poverty reduction. The lectures are also linked to seminars and project work in which students investigate the political, social and cultural conditions that lead to exploitation and potential conflict in the Middle East.
Course coordinator: Hossein Hashemi

MOSN10: Islam from a Religion, Cultural and Political Perspective,

This course will examine the intersections of cultural and political processes in the Middle East, with a focus on the role of Islamic discourse and symbolism in modernity. Students will study the political functions of Islam and religion, culture and gender from anthropological perspective. Also, the course gives a historical perspective on Muslim modernity and Islamic reform movements. Students will explore a range of current politico-cultural developments in the Middle East. More information? Coordinators Anders Ackfeldt & Mark LeVine

MOSN19: Citizenship & Multiculturalism in Middle Eastern Societies,

The course deals with citizenship and multiculturalism in the Middle East, drawing on contemporary theories of postnationalism, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, diaspora formation and statelessness. Among the topics addressed in the course are migration to and from the Middle East, migration within nations (primarily rural to urban) and migration between countries in the Middle East (primarily from poor countries to the Gulf states). The focus of the course is on social, political, cultural, economic, demographic and legal aspects of migration. Problems concerning human rights are particularly highlighted. Furthermore, the course deals with aspects of diversity and multiculturalism in Western contexts such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.Course coordinator: Umut Özkirimli

MOSN23: Political Economy and Development in the Middle East,

The course introduces students to key issues of international development with a focus on the Middle East including the history of development policies, how development policy can be affected and the methods of development work. Who are the central agents involved in international development? What do they base their work on? What are the actual consequences of different types of development policy and methodology? The course also explains the links between economic, political and social aspects of development in the Middle East. Students are provided with theoretical and methodological tools for concretely and critically examining different development agents and activities at local, national and international levels. Informed by analyses of such activities, students are encouraged to reflect on both problems and possibilities of development in the Middle East.
Course coordinator: Darcy Thompson

MOSN33: Perceptions and Politics of Migration, Asylum and Integration,

This course examines the complex migration realities with respect to the Middle East. Utilizing a range of multi-disciplinary theoretical and conceptual frameworks, the course focuses on issues relating to Middle Eastern societies as sending, receiving and transit contexts of migrants and refugees in recent decades. Starting with an overview of migratory trends in the region, we will ask why do people migrate across borders? 

Investigating the political aspects of migration, we will analyze migration and asylum regimes through examining state policies that categorize migrants, manage populations, and sometimes induce movement and displacements. Can states control migration, including “unwanted” migrants? How do we understand the politics of im/migration? We begin with these questions and examine the policies that let some people in, while keeping others out. The relationship between global economic processes and the dynamics of migration in the Middle East will then be introduced through the study of labor migration and its impact on different parts of the region. The relationship between migration and development in both sending and receiving countries will be discussed, as well as the ways economic migration is politicized in different parts of the world. Moving on, we will discuss the social and cultural aspects of migration and probe the meaning of power and mobility through looking at interpersonal relations, forms of identification and cultural representation. Social and cultural aspects provide us with an understanding of the second side of the migration coin, namely the subjective experiences of the migrants who are subjected to macro historical, political and economic processes discussed earlier in the course. 

The second part of the course will focus primarily on the different aspects of forced migration. In week five, we will address the main theoretical and methodological concerns in studying forced migration. Week six provides a look at the ways these concerns have been used in understanding the experiences of specific groups who have experienced forced migration. Week seven places emphasis on contexts of transit that mediate initial movement from the homeland and resettlement in host societies. The final week of the course looks at integration as the final stage of the migration processes and highlights the importance of the transnational or global outlook in understanding integration in today’s societies. 

While the course may focus more on the Middle East as a context for understanding migration dynamics, parallels between the ME and other regions are to be drawn during class discussions, or in the literature review assignment.Course coordinator: Dalia Abdelhady