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Middle East and North Africa

Department: Religious studies
Coordinator: Dr. R. Meijer
Accessible to: All students
Prerequisites: None
Semester: 1


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is often misunderstood. While in the past it was often romanticized, it now often presented as a source of refugees, violence and radicalism. This minor will provide students with the latest insights into the political, religious, and cultural developments in the region. Radboud University’s leading researchers on the Middle East and North Africa have been brought together in this minor to explain the development of political thought, the administration of polities and cities, the changing interfaith relations between Muslims, Jews and Christians, and the difficult transition from empire to nation-state. The more contemporary part of the course focusses on the background of the region’s current political instability, the effects of demographic trends, and  the patterns and variations in life courses and life chances. The purpose of the course is to provide students with the knowledge and tools to analyze past and present developments in the MENA  and develop a balanced view on the region.

What will the Minor MENA offer students?

The second course (5 EC),“MENA in International Perspective: globalization and regionalization”, addresses the contemporary Middle East and North Africa as part of international politics, globalization and regional dynamics. It offers an International Relations (IR) perspective on the regional and international alliances in the region and teaches students how to analyze the reasons and factors sustaining the constant struggle for hegemony and instability of the region. In addition, the course introduces concepts such as transnationalism from above and below and discusses the flows of people, goods and ideas within and beyond the MENA region.

The third course (5EC), “Life Course, Personhood and Identities in the MENA Region”, discusses the ways in which major societal developments in postcolonial time have influenced the lives of actual people in the Middle East and North Africa. Using a biographical approach, this course aims to provide a better understanding of the societies and cultures of the MENA region by exploring the patterns and variation in life course and life chances as well as by analyzing how people are actively involved in shaping their lives in the private sphere and through collective action.

More information

For more information on the complete minor or the individual courses: check the prospectus or email coordinator Roel Meijer r.meijer@ftr.ru.nl

Period (semester) Course Course ID Credits
1 + 2 (sem. 1) The dynamics of political pacts in classical and modern history in the MENA region FTR-RSMI234 5
1 + 2 (sem. 1) MENA in international perspective: globalization and regionalization FTR-RMSI235 5
1 + 2 (sem. 1) Life course, personhood and identities in the MENA region FTR-RSMI236 5