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.
The assessment is based on the students’ active participation in lectures and seminars (20%), two written assignments: (a) one response paper (30%) and (b) one final paper (50%).
To obtain full credit for participation, students should attend the classes; complete the weekly reading material before coming to class; take part in class discussions. Please note that your physical presence in all classes does not guarantee full credit if you do not actively contribute to discussions.
Response Papers (30%)
To be submitted electronically. 1000 words long (double space, times new roman). The response paper should critically engage with a book from the list of readings provided below.
Final Paper (50%).
To be submitted electronically. 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 course coordinator).