Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ARAB3081: Literature of the 19th-Century Arabic Nahda

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Arabic)

ARAB3081: Literature of the 19th-Century Arabic Nahda

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Arabic Language 2 (ARAB2002) or an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Modern Languages & Cultures, Combined Honours/Liberal Arts and Joint Honours programmes: Arabic Language 4 (ARAB3012). Other: see Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module aims to introduce students to the literature of the 19th-century Arabic nahda ('revival') through readings and discussion of key texts from the period.
  • It aims to introduce students to the major political, social and cultural developments within the period, including the reform movements.
  • It aims to introduce students to the different types of literary techniques, language and themes employed by the writers studied.
  • It aims to provide an introduction to the relationship between 19th-century Arabic literature and the medieval Arabic tradition, and to the relationship between the new genres in Arabic literature and their European counterparts.


  • The following main areas will be discussed in the course of the module:
  • The origins and development of the 19th-century Arabic literary revival (nahda).
  • The political and religious reform movements in the period.
  • European literary influences and their impact on Arab writers and poets of the period.
  • The thematic and stylistic development of Arabic literature between c.1800 and 1910.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students will:
  • be familiar with the main lines of development of the modern genres of Arabic literature during the 19th century
  • have knowledge of the broader social, political and intellectual context of the 19th century
  • have acquired a detailed knowledge of a selected number of representative texts covering the main themes and techniques of these genres in the period studied.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will have acquired the ability:
  • to read and analyse 19th-century Arabic literary texts
  • to critically evaluate Arabic poetry texts of the period studied
  • to relate features of these texts to both the medieval Arabic and the Western literary traditions
  • effectively to use secondary sources relevant to the field of 19th-century Arabic literature and history.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will have:
  • extended their research, writing and communication skills
  • extended their Arabic language skills in the reading of primary and secondary sources
  • been exposed to key methodological approaches to literary analysis
  • developed analytical skills in the critical reading of literary texts.

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

  • The module is taught in the form of weekly one-hour lectures, with fortnightly seminars.
  • The module is assessed by means of one summative essay (to focus on independent learning, research skills and effective use of resources) and one written examination (to focus on synthesising knowledge and understanding under time pressure without access to resources).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Tutorials 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Research Proposal Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Proposal 1,500 words 100% No
Component: Research Essay Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Essay 3,500 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Oral feedback and comments are provided regularly in the course of seminar discussions.

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