Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ANTH30G7: Mediterranean Connections

Department: Anthropology

ANTH30G7: Mediterranean Connections

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Politics and Economics (ANTH2051) OR Kinship and Religion (ANTH2161)


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to basic themes and issues in the social anthropology of Arab-majority societies (the ‘Middle East’) and the Mediterranean region
  • To develop an understanding of the concept of Orientalism and how it has historically affected power relations between the Western and Arab-majority societiesworld
  • To explore the ways Europe and the Arab-majority world are and have been connected to one another culturally, politically, and economically, with a specific focus on the Mediterranean
  • To understand how anthropological studies conducted in the Arab-majority world can further social anthropology as a discipline overall, particularly in the area of political anthropology
  • To provide students with a set of critical tools to identify and analyse Orientalist tropes found in media reports and, cultural artefacts (films, novels, advertisements), about the Arab-majority world as well as Arab/Muslim communities in Europe/the West


  • The module will examine social and political life in Arab-majority societies from a social anthropological point of view, and with a specific focus on politics and economics.
  • The module will cover a range of subjects such as: the role of inequal power relations between Europe and the Arab world in the shaping of the contemporary Middle East; Orientalism and the media; participatory politics; the nation-state; colonialism, and migration and postcoloniality in Europe; borders, migration, and asylum seeking in the Mediterranean; urban life; economic precarity; civil society.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of current knowledge and intensive understanding in social anthropology research.
  • Deploy analytical skills specific to social anthropological understandings of Arab-majority societies and postcoloniality in Europe.
  • Be competent in accessing and assimilating specialised research literature of an advanced nature.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Applying key skills (see below) to core concepts and debates pertaining to the contemporary Middle East and Arab/Muslim communities in Europe/the West
Key Skills:
  • Preparation and effective communication of research methods, data, interpretation and arguments in written form.
  • Critical analysis of literature and data
  • Self-reflection on knowledge and skills acquired and developed
  • Accessing library resources
  • Undertaking independent study and research
  • Preparation and effective communication of interpretations and arguments in written form

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

  • Classes will integrate lecture, tutorial and practical components.
  • Lectures will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates in the topic area, discuss the literature that students should explore, and provide relevant examples and cases studies.
  • Tutorials will develop topics introduced in lectures and required reading to analyse aspects or case studies in greater depth and to prepare students for their summative assignment. Practical components of the tutorials will provide students with hands-on experience of the research.
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of tutorials and general and particular reading related to the assessment, which will be a written assignment (such as an essay or report).
  • Summative assessment will be a 2500-word written piece where students will apply concepts and perspectives in social anthropology to relevant ethnographic and/or media materials related to Arab-majority societies.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 10
Tutorials 5 Fortnightly 1 5
Preparation and Reading 85
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 2500 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

500 word assignment

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