Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Arabic)


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None.


  • Modern European Languages, Combined Honours and all Joint and 'with' programmes: Arabic Language 1 (ARAB1012). Others: see Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies of MLAC or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide a general introduction to the cultures of the modern Middle East and prepare students for further critical study of the region and its cultures.


  • This module sets out a few broad outlines of a large, diverse, and historically rich region, which is defined primarily by its use of Arabic as a first or second language (or as the language of scripture), and by the presence of Islam, which has historically been associated with Arabic. It focuses on the historical development of an Arabophone cultural sphere in the region and the rise of Islam as a context for a social and political organization. The course introduces students to the analysis of the history of colonialism in the Middle East, important historical developments in the 19th and 20th centuries, and contemporary social issues. The module will enable students to investigate their own orientation as students and researchers toward the region, its cultures and their history, and to understand the history of the discipline of Middle East or Oriental Studies in the Anglo-American academy. This module has been designed to reflect a commitment to diversity in its resources and delivery, and will create opportunities for students to engage in critical analysis of different perspectives relevant to the study area.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Acquire a basic understanding of some of the main features of Middle Eastern culture.
  • Develop a basic understanding of some aspects of the relationship between Middle Eastern and European cultures.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to relate developments and issues in the contemporary Middle East to their religious, historical and cultural context.
Key Skills:
  • To develop general written skills.
  • To develop research and independent learning skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will use a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials, with audio-visual aids (e.g. PowerPoint presentations) where appropriate.
  • lectures provide a method for the communication of basic information relevant to the module, and for the structuring of the relevant subject matter.
  • seminars and tutorials provide an opportunity for students to make presentations, for further discussion of the subject matter, and for increased interaction between student and tutor.
  • summative essays enable students to demonstrate capacity for independent learning and increase research skills.
  • the end-of-year written examination assesses students' overall grasp of the material presented in the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 1 per fortnight 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2 hours 100% Yes
Component: Summative Essay 1 Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 500 words 100% Yes
Component: Summative Essay 2 Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 1,500 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University