Short Course - Understanding Political Discourse: Methods and Practice with Reference to the Middle East and North Africa

Layal Mohammad's picture
November 7, 2019 to November 9, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Arabic History / Studies, Languages, Linguistics, Middle East History / Studies, Political History / Studies


The course explores major topics in the study of political discourse, both as the theories and practices were developed in European and North American academia, and as applied to Arabic and other languages in the Middle East and North Africa. The lectures, seminars and readings provide insight into general theoretical questions, such as What is discourse? What is a speech act? What is a language? that are answered with reference to cases of political language use in the Middle East and North Africa. The course presents real materials from politicians’ speeches, TV and social media entertainment programmes, and ordinary speech.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to recognise the various political usages of discourse in Arabic and other languages in the Middle East and North Africa. They will be acquainted with the relevant academic debates in sociolinguistics and Middle East studies, and will have practiced undertaking their own applied analysis of a text or speech. They will gain skills that can be useful also outside academia through the experience of data collection, analysis and presentation, the different methods and ethics of which will be discussed.

Knowledge of one or more Middle Eastern and North African languages (Arabic, Berber, Kurdish, Hebrew, Armenian, Turkish, Farsi, etc.), not necessarily at a fluent level, but with interest in progressing. Demonstrated interest in the politics and modern history of the Middle East and North Africa.

Three-day course; comprising:

• Three two-hour seminars 

• Independent reading 

• Three one-hour lectures

• One practical assignment 

Total learning time: 21 hours (7 hours per day)

Full programme will be shared later with registrants.

Delivered by
Dr Nancy Hawker, Governance Programme, Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. Dr Hawker is a Middle East expert who has taught sociolinguistics and discourse analysis at Oxford University, and has published academic research on political dimensions of Arabic and Hebrew

This short course is organised by AKU-ISMC's Governance Programme. The Governance Programme’s research activities and events explore how Muslim-majority societies and minority communities develop political systems that promote public welfare, achieve legitimacy and recognise individual and collective rights.

Time and Venue
7-9 November 2019
Room 110, 1st floor,
Aga Khan Centre,
10 Handyside Street,
London N1C 4DN

Booking is essential and the registration fee (£150 – £270) includes: three days of teaching, lunches and refreshments. Book as soon as possible.


Contact Info: 


Layal Mohammad

Coordinator, Marketing, Communications and Professional Programmes

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

The Aga Khan University (International)

Aga Khan Centre, 10 Handyside Street, London N1C 4DN


Contact Email: