Peyman Zinati

20th September 2021 to 20th September 2022

Islamist Movements: From the Muslim Brother to the Islamic State (ARA2028)

This module covers the major Islamist movements in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. In this module, you will explore the action rationale of these movements, get to understand their ideologies, and compare their similarities and differences in a cross-regional setting. You will learn to critically analyse the various debates surrounding the causes and the political consequences of the rise of Islamist movements in the Muslim-majority states before and after the Arab Spring and their subsequent setbacks. This module will help you assess the role of Islamist movements in major political transitions and changes in the Middle East, such as revolutions, civil wars, armed insurgencies, democratic transitions and civil resistance to authoritarianism.


20th September 2020 to 20th September 2021

Introduction to Persian History and Culture (ARA1021)

This course is intended to introduce undergraduate students to the great civilization and culture of Persia (including modern-day Iran, as well as historically speaking parts of Central Asia such as Afghanistan and Tajikistan, not to mention much of modern-day Anatolian Turkey and Iraq) from ancient until modern times. The class covers about 7000 years of Persian history, beginning with pre-Islamic Persia around 5000 B.C. The first class concentrates primarily on giving students an outline of the glories of pre-Islamic Iran during the Achaemenian – followed by the Parthian and Sassanian – Empires. We will examine the wars between the Persians and the Greeks and Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia and its aftermath as well. The following  class covers Muhammad and the rise of Islam, the Arab conquest, the Arab invasion and Islamization of most of Iran, with the emergence of local Iranian dynasties and the appearance of the ‘New Persian’ language out of the fusion of Middle Persian with Arabic. Class four gives an overview of both the role of the indigenous Persian religions (Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism) in Persian history, as well an account of the place of Christianity and Judaism in ancient and medieval Persia. Classes five through seven attempt to summarize the history of the various dynasties who ruled Iran during the twelfth through fifteenth centuries—Ghaznavids, Saljuqs, Mongol Il-Khans and Timurids—highlighting some of the great poets, historians, theologians, scientists, Sufis and philosophers who flourished during this renaissance period. The final three classes treat Iranian history and culture during the 17th-21st centuries (the Afsharid, Zand and Qajar dynasties), and, in more modern times, from the Pahlavi monarchy during the twentieth century to the revolution of 1979 and present-day Iran under President Rouhani. 


20th September 2020 to 20th September 2022

Politics and Economics of the Middle East (ARA1010)

The module aims to provide you with a general introductory survey of the politics and political economy of the Middle East, covering topics such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, the political dynamics of key states, the politics of Islam, the political economy of oil, and major wars. It will provide you with an understanding of the key themes and issues pertinent to the academic study of the Middle-East region, and will seek to expand your ability to engage critically and analytically with issues facing the Middle-East region in the 21 st century by situating them in historical and theoretical context, forming the basis for your studies in subsequent years.