Freestanding Courses

Every year CMES offers courses to any student aspiring to a deeper understanding of the political, social, cultural, economic, and religious developments in the contemporary Middle East. These courses have a limited number of seats. To apply please visit

The application period for the Fall courses is mid-March to mid-April.

The application period for the Spring courses is mid-September to mid-October.

For more information on the available courses, please visit the course pages under Current Students.


Courses Spring 2019 (Applications closed)

CMEN18: Exploring Religion in Contemporary Middle Eastern Societies (7.5 credits)

Course coordinator: Torsten Janson

Religion remains a key factor in Middle Eastern societies, thoroughly affecting public debates, political structures, power mechanisms, gender relations and identity processes. This course provides an opportunity to explore such processes from theoretical as well as empirical perspectives. How do religious norms, debates and practices interrelate with broader socio-economical and politico-strategic factors? And how can we study and evaluate the broader effects of religious discourse and practice (and the critique thereof) in its emergent manifestations? 

CMEN19: Middle Eastern Refugees in the Global North (7.5 credits)

Course coordinator: Dalia Abdelhady

A substantial number of people from the Middle East migrate to those countries that can be collected under the term ‘the Global North’. Many of these people who travel ‘north’ seek asylum. In 2015 alone, more than a million of forced-displaced people left behind their homes in the Middle East and migrated to, among other Global Northern geographies such as Australia or Canada, the European Union. This course will analyse the cultural, political, economic and legal dimensions of seeking asylum from the Middle East in the Global North. 


CMEN21: Environment and sustainable development in the Middle East (7.5 credits)

Course coordinator: Hussein Hashemi

The course covers the issues of environmental effects of natural resources management and the political, social, and economical dimensions involved. The main objective is to put land and water management and their environmental effects in the Middle East into a holistic and sustainable perspective in view of development.


CMEN22: Citizenship & Multiculturalism in Middle Eastern Societies (7.5 credits)

Course coordinator: Rola El-Husseini

The aim of the course is to enable students to draw on present-day theories of postnationalism, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, diaspora formation and statelessness to identify and scrutinise citizenship and multiculturalism in the Middle East. 


CMEN23: Political Economy and Development in the Middle East (7.5 credits)

Course coordinator: Darcy Thompson

The course introduces students to the political economy of the Middle East by examining key issues relating to the socio-economic and political conditions, structures, institutions, and policy challenges which characterise the region today. Topics of focus in this course include natural resources, and resource inequality in the region, current and long term economic and development issues, governance struggles, and the influence of external actors in domestic and regional affairs.

Courses Fall 2018 (Applications closed)

Applications closed 1st October 

CMEN01: The Formation of Middle Eastern Modernities (10.0 credits)

Course co-ordinator Rola Dean

The aim of this course is to bring together both the disciplines of International Relations and Middle East Studies to chart a history of modern Middle Eastern state formation, while discussing the various ways in which the region is conceptualised, theorised and constructed. 

CMEN02: Key Theories in Middle Eastern Studies (10.0 credits)

Course co-ordinator Dalia Abdelhady

The aim of the course is to probe the extent to which Western concepts, social science theories and the narrative of Western modernity can be applicable to the study of the Middle East. Towards this goal, we will examine a wide range of theoretical traditions and their application to the study of the region. 

CMEN03: Introduction to Middle Eastern Debates (10.0 credits)

Course co-ordinator Anders Ackfeldt

The aim of this course is to discuss the various ways in which the Middle East is constructed in and related to a number of debates in different disciplines. The course will cast a critical eye on the discourses about the Middle East with a particular focus on contemporary debates surrounding historical/contemporary developments in the region.

CMEN17: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East (7.5 credits)

Course coordinator: Eda Hatice Farsakoglu

This course examines the key issues and emerging directions in research on gender and sexuality with a focus on the Middle East. Throughout the course, we will analyze how gender and sexuality have been regulated, experienced, and subverted in diverse Middle Eastern settings. In our analysis, we will employ an intersectional approach that conceptualizes gender and sexuality as axes of power and as relational to systems of class, race/ethnicity, citizenship status and geopolitics. We will explore diverse and complex ways in which gender and sexuality shape and become (re-)shaped by socio-political institutions, structural forces and social hierarchies. Some of the themes that will assist addressing these questions include citizenship, belonging, im/mobility, precarity, family, diaspora, processes of migration and displacement, civil society and activism.