Postgraduate Module Descriptor

ARAM235: Contemporary History and Politics of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, the syllabus will cover all of the following topics:

  • Introduction and Module Organisation
  • How to Think about Legitimacy, Ideology, and Power
  • Foundational Histories: Colonialism, Conquest, and Modern Statehood
  • Imperialism and Capitalism in Arabia and the Indian Ocean in the 19th Century
  • 20th-Century Political Movements, Uprisings and Rebellions
  • The History of Oil and the Practice of Statecraft; Rentierism and its Critics
  • Current Political and Economic Dynamics of Capitalism
  • Islam and Politics in the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula 1920-1990
  • Contemporary Social and Political Movements (1990-Present) (the Arab Uprisings and Beyond)
  • The Gulf in the Global Economy; Post-Oil Economies, and Business Elites
  • Narratives of the Future: ‘Visions’, Revolutions, and Reforming Princes

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2211 x 2-hour seminars
Guided independent study108Essay (72 hours reading, 36 hours writing)
Guided independent study80Weekly reading (10 x 8 hours per week)
Guided independent study90Reaction notes (5 x 12 hours reading, 6 hours writing)

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Other Learning Resources

Gulf States Newsletter (GSN) and the Economist Intelligence Unit’s reports on the Gulf states, electronically;

The International Crisis Group’s reports at;

Human Rights Watch (Middle East) produces good reports on the states of the Arabian Peninsula: