• Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies, Anthropology, International Relations, Political Sciences, Sociology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
'Sectarianism' in the Middle East: Theology, Politics and Identity (MEAS8127)

This course focuses on sectarianism in the Middle East. The growing sectarian tension and  conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims has come to define much of the region’s political  landscape. The course’s central aim is to examine the complexities of sectarianism in the Middle  East. Its scope extends the nature of the theological divisions between the two sects. More  significantly, the course analyses Sunni and Shia identity in various countries in the Middle East,  and power politics in the region.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify and comprehend the history of the sectarian divide in Islam between its Sunni and Shia sects, become familiar with the key theological features of Sunni and Shia Islam and the areas in which the sects diverge doctrinally, and have the foundation for understanding the animosity and conflict between members of the sects, in both historical and contemporary terms;
  2. understand sectarian identity and politics in various countries in the Middle East;
  3. understand socio-political development in the Middle East and the sectarian tension and conflict in the region; and
  4. understand the interconnections between religion and politics in general and how that has shaped the attitudes of various actors in the region.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Seminar Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Essay (4000 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Final Exam, 3 hours (held during the formal examination period) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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