• Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies, International Relations, Middle East Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Jamil Sawda
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

This course is designed to ground students in the modern and contemporary politics, society, history and culture of Syria within the Levant region, including the dynamics of interaction and influence between Syria and the surrounding countries in the Levant such as Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. The course traces the emergence of the Syrian Postcolonial State within the realms of the pan-Arabist Baathist ideology and the social contract instigated by the long reign of Hafez Al Asad. It explores the internal dynamics of Syrian society, culture and politics and the responses to regional challenges in the Levant region. It also considers the current Civil War in the country, the refugee crisis and the power dynamics among different local, regional and global actors.  

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify key issues in Syrian State, society and politics and understand their historical contexts in relation to Levant and the wider region;
  2. critically develop evidence-based argument and evaluation encompassing the full range of internal and external issues of the country in past and present within the regional context of the Levant;
  3. write and present an advanced historical/political argument in a clear, coherent, and engaging manner; and
  4. demonstrate an advanced reading comprehension of relevant literature.

Other Information

Middle Eastern Politics and Security Major - ANU

Middle Eastern Politics and Security Minor - ANU

Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies Minor - ANU

Indicative Assessment

  1. Class Participation  (10) [LO 1,2]
  2. Class Participation Papers (1000 words and 20% each)  (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Essay (4000 words) (50) [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) 24 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 2 hours of seminars per week; and

b) 106 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have successfully completed MEAS3007

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable

Preliminary Reading

Makdisi, Ussama: The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (University of California Press, 2000)

Lisa Wedeen: Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (University of Chicago Press, 1999).

Lisa Wedeen: Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria  (University of Chicago Press 2019)

Lesch, David: Syria: A Modern History (Polity Press 2018)

Beck, Martin et al (Eds.) The Levant in Turmoil: Syria, Palestine, and the Transformation of Middle Eastern Politics (Palgrave 2016) 

Balanche, Fabrice: Sectarianism in Syria‚Äôs Civil War (Washington Institute for Near East Policy 2018)

Phillips, Christopher: The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East (Yale University Press 2018).


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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
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.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9347 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View
9348 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 Online View

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