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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

ARA3152: Folklore and Identity in the Middle East

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Christine Robins (Lecturer)





Available via distance learning


This is a module designed for third year students, where you will explore the many varieties of folklore in the Middle East – from the Arabian nights to Palestinian traditional costume, from magical rituals to epic songs. We will not only consider the co-existence of classical and popular traditions, but will look at the politics of folklore and consider how the nation-states of the region use folklore in their heritage politics and in the construction of their national identities. We will also look at subaltern groups and their usage of folklore, and at feelings of ‘authenticity’.

The first weeks of the course will look at theoretical concerns: the origins of folklore studies and its links with racial theory, and  at various contemporary theoretical approaches to issues such as genre and collective memory. Then we will move on to consider case studies.  You will make presentations on examples of your  choice from the region. You  are encouraged to apply your  knowledge to their particular areas of interest.

Although this is a module for third year students, it is open to students of all humanities and social science subjects, not just those studying the Middle East. 

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