Current iIssuesDEN's International Student Conference

Studying Politics and Development in the Middle East

Numerous compelling reasons exist to study politics and development in the Middle East. One of the most significant reasons is the region’s abundant natural resources, particularly its vast oil reserves. These valuable resources have catapulted Middle Eastern countries onto the global stage and made them crucial players in geopolitics. As a result, nations with substantial oil reserves have become influential “regional powers” whose political and economic actions greatly impact the region’s development.

Over the course of this program, we will explore the complex relationship between state, economics, and political development in the region. We will delve deeper into key concepts and debates in these areas each week. Despite the common perception of immense wealth and luxury in the Gulf states, we will examine the rentier state model’s social, economic, and political implications. This model has led to underdevelopment, corruption, conglomerates, clientelism, and authoritarianism, prompting us to question whether oil has helped or hindered development in the Middle East. By studying this topic, we will better understand the region’s political economy. We will also be able to identify, explain, and compare development patterns across various Middle Eastern countries.

During this course, we will be responsible for completing three coursework assignments that align with the topics covered in lectures and seminars. The first task will involve crafting a blog post, which will aid in solidifying our understanding of the course’s concepts and theories. This assignment will incentivise us to attend weekly seminars and adhere to the required readings. For the second assignment, we will construct a presentation that explores our personal interests in the course’s subject matter. We have the freedom to choose which areas we wish to investigate and how we would like to present our discoveries. The final and most substantial assignment involves composing an essay that addresses questions related to the course materials.

Sabihah Miah

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