Politics of The Middle East


Students must also register for Rct Sec 002 - 005. The goal of this course is to offer students an overview of the politics of the modern Middle East and North Africa and enable them to make sense of contemporary events such as the "Arab Spring," the Arab-Israeli conflict, and domestic struggles and transnational movements. The course is designed around specific historical trends and contemporary issues facing the people and governments of the region and the world. As such we will be concerned with comparing and tracing particular forms of governance, economic policies, and modes of political expression, exclusion, cooperation and conflict. In particular we will examine: state and regime formation, strategies for “development,” and attempts by citizens to challenge the authoritarian status quo and economic inequalities. Note that although the course will help you to analyze and contextualize current situations in the region, it is not designed around current events. Also, the course is not centered on international relations (i.e. relations between states) or U.S. foreign policy towards the region. Finally, for the purposes of this course, the Middle East and North Africa is defined as the Arabic speaking world, Israel, Turkey, and Iran. The broader objectives of the course are to encourage students to develop analytical skills. In particular the readings and assignments will force students to engage in comparative analysis, develop an understanding of prevailing theoretical approaches in the social sciences, and broaden their critical reading of diverse sources (e.g. academic scholarship, policy reports, journalistic accounts, and primary documents). A background in political science or Middle East is not required, but either a course in Comparative Politics or some aspect of the Middle East or Islamic world is recommended.

Historical-political background of the Middle East and its contemporary social and political problems, including the impact of the West; religious and liberal reactions; conflict of nationalisms (Arab, Iranian, Turkish, and Zionist); and revolutionary socialism. Specific social, political, and economic problems?using a few selected countries for comparison and analysis?including the role of the military, the intelligentsia, the religious classes, the legitimization of power, urban-rural cleavages, bureaucracy, and political parties.






Fall 2020

Arang Keshavarzian
MW: 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM ONLI
Arash Azizi
R: 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM; M: 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM ONLI
Brian Plungis
F: 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM; W: 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM ONLI