Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Middle Eastern Cities, 1800-1960: Empire, Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism HIST4230

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course takes students through the urban history of the Middle East from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, focusing on the cosmopolitan port-cities that flourished in the late Ottoman period and the inland national capitals that by the end of our period had replaced them as the region's dominant cities. Through the transformations and traumas of urban life, it explores the end of the Ottoman empire, the encroachment of European colonialism, and the rise of nationalism and the modern nation-state in the region.


10x1hr lectures, 10x1hr seminars, over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available in MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses





Essay including primary source material and critical reflection on research process (3500 words) - 60%

4 x 400 word seminar tasks to develop critical research skills - 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ Prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing intellectual skills that will be of benefit in a wide range of careers. Students' research capacity will be enriched by their introduction to diverse source materials and their oral and written communication skills enhanced in ways designed to address employers' expectations for highly literate and highly articulate graduates who are fully cognisant of a range of research tools.


■ Show students how a professional historian works. Students will be supported in the production of their assessed and unassessed work, and will gain first hand experience of the scoping and shaping of research projects and the challenges faced by historians in the pursuit of advances in knowledge.


■ Familiarise students, through source-criticism, with a wide range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with historical evidence (written, visual or other). The critical interpretation of key historiographical and theoretical debates relating to this subject will inform the close reading of sources. Provenance, perspective, context, intent and audience will be core considerations in students' interpretation of sources.


■ Ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised. The seminars aim to encourage student-led learning and the facilitation of rigorous and informed debate.


■ Encourage students to develop imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research or in any sphere or employment where these qualities are valuable. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the range of generic research and communication skills they are developing over the course of this course in order to align their academic and professional aspirations and competencies and encourage reflective practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ identify the key political, social, cultural and economic changes in the life of Middle Eastern cities across the period, placing the transformation of the region's cities in the context of changes in the wider state and international order and making critical comparisons with cities elsewhere in the world

■ explain the material transformation of urban form in the region as a physical manifestation of these changes

■ critically evaluate the concept of 'cosmopolitanism' as it has been used in the study of Middle Eastern cities

■ explain the role of cities in the development of nationalist political ideologies, and the impact of nationalist politics on urban life and form

■  independently locate relevant primary materials relating to the subject, assessing the reliability of their source

■  present findings in unambiguous, concise and effective prose or verbal argument, incorporating different kinds of substantiating evidence, and engage in lively and well-grounded discussion with fellow students.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.