• Class Number 5890
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Elisabeth Yarbakhsh
    • Elisabeth Yarbakhsh
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course examines in detail the debates over political obedience, engagement and dissent in the Muslim societies of the Middle East.  It begins by an examination of modern Islamic thought and considers diverse views of the state, authority, pluralism, and citizenship. It assesses the importance of political culture and structural factors to both the maintenance and the radical reform of non-participatory political orders. In doing so, it critically examines essentialist and exceptionalist assumptions about Middle Eastern and Muslim societies, the degree to which authoritarianism is engrained, the position of Islamist movements, the reasons for and constraints on popular protest, and the possibilities of externally-influenced political transformations.  While the course is organised thematically, examples are drawn from a number of specific cases and theoretical insights on authoritarianism, democracy and protest are invoked in order to relate the specificity of Middle Eastern Muslim societies to broader debates.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. understand key theoretical issues concerning the processes of political authoritarianism, democratisation and protest;
  2. analyse the ways in which Muslim societies, particularly in the Middle East, have dealt with demands for greater political participation, political obedience, engagement and pluralism;
  3. critically analyse debates about, and schools of thought on, key factors affecting political authoritarianism, democratisation and protest, such as culture, civil society, economics, the media, and elections;
  4. assess the roles of Islamist ideologies and movements in the political process; and
  5. gain insight to the radical reform of non-participatory political orders, and the content and analytical frameworks of a select group of readings.

Required Resources

No purchasing of a course reader (BRICK) or set textbook(s) is required for this course. Readings marked as ‘Essential’ in this course guide are available online on the course Wattle site. It is crucial that you read these weekly set readings. Under the subheading ‘Further Readings’ additional sources are provided for students interested in pursuing the weekly topic further.

Students are encouraged to read widely, including key pieces of essential reading for each week but also other sources. Reading lists supplied for each seminar are intended to give students a lead and provide starting points for seminar discussion. Students are encouraged to conduct their own research, and draw materials from alternative sources, such as the electronic media and World Wide Web.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • In-class Presentation: Individual feedback will be provided in the form of a simple marking outline.
  • Essay: written feedback will be provided to students approximately 3 weeks after submission.
  • Final examination: Feedback will not be provided.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The Postcolonial State in the Middle East and North Africa
2 Defining Authoritarianism
3 Democratisation in the Middle East
4 The Political Economy of Protest
5 Oppositional Forces: Leftist Parties and Islamist Movements
6 The Role of Intellectuals
7 Minorities and Movements of Protest
8 Feminist Engagements with Democracy
9 Art, Culture and the Representation of Protest
10 Youth Transformative Power and the Claiming of Public Spaces
11 New Media Networks and Political Mobilisation
12 Revolutions in Progress?

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
In-Class Presentation (20%) 20 % * 1-5
Mixed response assessment (40%) 40 % 02/09/2021 1-5
Research Essay (40%) 40 % 12/11/2021 1-5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1-5

In-Class Presentation (20%)

The course engagement component of the assessment comprises three key elements 1) Evidence of course reading in the form of a written summary and brief analysis of at least two course readings/discussion item in a chosen week (weeks 2–12) 2) Active participation in class discussions 3) Identification of interest item (news article, journal paper) to be shared with class and explanation of why it was chosen and how it links to the week’s topic. Further details will be provided in the first seminar.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 02/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1-5

Mixed response assessment (40%)

  • The mixed response assessment will give students the opportunity to synthesise their learning and communicate clear arguments using different forms of scholarly communication. The assessment will be comprised of three parts: a) A brief response to a text; b) three short answer questions; c) . More details will be provided in seminars. The mixed response assessment is due by 4pm on Thursday 23 November 2020. This assessment will count for 40% of the total course assessment and final mark.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 12/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1-5

Research Essay (40%)

The essay for this course tests students’ ability to research a topic and to present a quality, cogent argument in response to a chosen question. Students are expected to choose one question from a list of options to be posted on Wattle. Questions are based on the material covered in the course. Essays are marked against criteria that include answering the question, presenting an argument, demonstrating depth of research, and technical quality, as per the rubric below. Advice on essays will be provided in seminars. The essay is due by 4pm on Tuesday 2 September. The essay is to be 4000 words in length. This assessment will count for 40% of the total course assessment and final mark.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education), submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalized at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Essays can be collected from the Course Convenor (or a nominated person) when notified they are ready for collection by the lecturer.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

There are no opportunities to resubmit essays unless they are referenced incorrectly.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Elisabeth Yarbakhsh

Research Interests

Political Anthropology of the Middle East and the Islamic world

Elisabeth Yarbakhsh

By Appointment
Elisabeth Yarbakhsh

Research Interests

Elisabeth Yarbakhsh

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions