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Islam and politics in MENA: ideology, activism and change

6 hour course by Lurdes Vidal (IEMED-IBEI)

  • Schedule: 20, 21 & 22 June (15:00 - 17:00)

This course examines the interaction between Islam and politics from different perspectives and disciplines, engaging with the key debates about the nature, evolution and future of political Islam. Students will be introduced to various approaches to the study of Islam and politics and to the diversity and complexity of a multi-faceted phenomenon that has been central to the socio-political life of the MENA region. The role of Islam regarding the state, political ideology, popular activism and political violence will be analysed in the framework of contemporary challenges. Therefore, major strands of islamist movements, their historical background, similarities and differences and likely future directions will be addressed. Democracy, gender equality, religious freedom, rule of law, governance and freedom of expression will be cross-cutting axis of analysis that will help students connect the various phenomena that intersect in a region amid change. Attention will also be paid to violent extremist movements within the islamist sphere and particularly how they construct their narratives in relation to both domestic and international politics. Drivers, push/pull factors, global, state and civil society responses will be analysed in this session in order to explore prospects and scenarios for jihadi movements in the Middle East and North Africa. This course will strengthen students’ knowledge and analytical tools to understand the diverse ways in which Islam has operated in the political scenario of the region.