Islam and Politics
Credits: 4 ECTS
The Arab Human Development Report: Creating Opportunities for Future Generations published by the UNDP in 2002 starts with the following observation: “There is a substantial lag between Arab countries and other regions in terms of participatory governance. The wave of democracy that transformed governance in most of Latin America and East Asia in the 1980s and Eastern Europe and much of Central Asia in the late 1980s and early 1990s has barely reached the Arab States. This freedom deficit … is one of the most painful manifestations of lagging political development.” The objective of this course is to assess the underlying premises of the above observation in the light of the ongoing debates on Islam, politics, democracy and democratization. More specifically, it will (i) discuss the various ways in which Islam and the Middle East are constructed in academic and public discourse, (ii) provide a critical overview of key theories of democratization and the transition paradigm, (iii) offer an in-depth exploration of a few selected themes and cases to illustrate the often imperfect match between theory and practice.
To obtain full credit, students should attend all classes (face-to-face or online), complete the weekly reading material before each class and take active part in class discussions. The final grade will be based on three components: oral presentation (25%), one book review (25%) and one final paper (50%).
A 10-15 minutes presentation to introduce a topic of your choice (see below for the full list of topics that will be covered during the course).
Book Review (25%)
To be submitted electronically to the instructor (Word format). 1000 words long (double space, Times New Roman).
Final Paper (50%)
To be submitted electronically to the instructor (Word format). 3000 words long (double space, Times New Roman). The final paper should be a theoretically informed case study of your choice, subject to prior consent by the instructor.