The Middle East and International Relations Theory

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Katerina Dalacoura CBG.9.14


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Students must have completed International Political Theory (IR200) or Foreign Policy Analysis (IR202) or an equivalent course.

Course content

The course applies the theories and conceptual tools of the discipline of International Relations to the study of the Middle East region. It uses the empirical material offered by the history, politics, political economy and international politics of the region to explore these concepts and theories. More specifically, it concentrates on the areas of foreign policy analysis, international political economy, gender, the study of international norms and conflict and peace studies. It explores the applicability of various International Relations theories (for example, realism and neo-realism; neo-liberalism; constructivism; English School; neo-Marxism and structuralism; and post-colonialism) to the study of the region.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totaling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online.

Formative coursework

Two essays of 1,500 words each.

Indicative reading

  • Raymond Hinnebusch and Anoushiravan Ehteshami (eds.), The Foreign Policies of Middle Eastern States (Lynne Rienner, 2014);
  • Raymond Hinnebusch, The International Politics of the Middle East (Manchester University Press, 2003);
  • Fred Halliday, The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics, and Ideology (CUP, 2005);
  • Shibley Telhami and Michael Barnett, Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East (Cornell University Press, 2002);
  • Michael Barnett, Dialogues in Arab Politics (Columbia University Press,1998);
  • Louise Fawcett (ed.) The International Relations of the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2019).


Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
First 29.5
2:1 42.6
2:2 24.6
Third 3.3
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2019/20: 25

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: Yes (30)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information