Gender and Politics in the Middle East - SIMS57

7.5 credits, Autumn 2020

This course aims to confront prevailing stereotypes, both Western and Middle Eastern, about women, men, femininity, and masculinity in the Middle East while fostering students' capacity for critical reflection.


Course content

The focus will be on the importance of gender to the practice of political life in the Middle east, emphasising the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of these dynamics, their role in the distribution of power, political organisation, and the boundary between public and private life.
The course emphasizes political issues, but is interdisciplinary in nature and draws heavily from the disciplines of sociology, political science, anthropology, public health, and women’s studies, among others. Subjects covered include the interaction of religion, law, and interpretation; modernisation, secularism, and Islamism; the gendered nature of the state, nationalism and conflict; resistance and globalisation; political representation and participation; Orientalism, colonialism and imperialism; the mobilisation of women's movements; and political representation and participation. Case studies on women’s legal rights, the gendered nature of the state, and the participation of women in formal politics will be covered. The course will also provide a historical overview of women’s status and issues in the MENA region.

Online course platform

This course uses Canvas as the online course platform. The course platform will be opened one week before the course begins to all students who were accepted. Here you will be able to access literature, assignments, announcements, as well as participate in discussions and communicate with teachers. 


The course schedule can be found under the course information on the right. Please note that the final version of the schedule will be made available four weeks before the course begins, and changes may occur until that point. A more detailed schedule will be available on the course platform on Canvas.

Course Coordinator

Headshot of Rola

Rola El-Husseini Dean
Programme Director, Middle Eastern Studies - Graduate School & Center for Middle Eastern Studies

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