This MULOSIGE syllabus has been compiled by Emad El-Din Aysha, Zahra Jannessari-Ladani and Jörg Matthias Determann. The course is entitled ‘Science, Literature and Development in the MENA Region’. Follow the link below to download the course.

Course Description:

This is a course about the relationship between science, literature and development – the role science fiction can play as a spur (or inhibitor) for Third World development through its imaginings of a better future and the power of scientific and technological anticipation. The role of science and technology proper is touched on as well, since the business of technological advance is not a straightforward as once thought. The geographical focus is the MENA region, Middle East and North Africa, but with a generic introduction to the nature of science fiction itself and the role it has played, good and bad, in Western history. The reading materials are listed below, with an emphasis on countries and key themes investigated. There is no set texts as such but the best books by far are: Space Science and the Arab World: Astronauts, Observatories and Nationalism in the Middle East (2018) by Jörg Matthias Determann, An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (2004) by Sergio Sismondo, and the non-fiction essays in Gold: The Final Science Fiction Collection (1995) by Isaac Asimov. (They are referred to in abbreviated form in the reading lists below).

This syllabus developed out of two courses that Emad El-Din Aysha had taught at the American University in Cairo (AUC) – “Scientific Thinking” (SCI-120, taught from 2001 to 2009), “Selected Topics in Sociology: Science Literature and ‘Revolutionary’ Development” (SOC 400, taught in the Fall of 2011). Since joining the Egyptian Society for Science Fiction (ESSF), Emad El-Din Aysha has come across the work of Jörg Matthias Determann documenting Arabic scientific history and Zahra Jannessari-Ladani on Iranian science fiction. Hence, their role in this syllabus.

Course contributors:

Emad El-Din Aysha, was formerly an adjunct assistant professor at the American University in Cairo, British University in Egypt and Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development, and is a member of the Egyptian Society for Science Fiction and a published sci-fi author and literary translator.

Zahra Jannessari-Ladani, an Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature, Faculty Member of the English Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, member of the Science Fiction Research Association ( and Iran Fantasy Academy (

Jörg Matthias Determann, a faculty member in the Liberal Arts & Sciences program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Associate Editor, Arabian Peninsula, of the Review of Middle East Studies, and previously had worked at the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Freie Universität Berlin, SOAS.  

Download the course here: Science, Literature and Development in the MENA Region