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STAT6010 Politics of the Middle East (10 sp)

This course introduces the study of the Middle East through the lens of comparative politics, and will focus on regional trends as well as specific countries, such as Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.

Dette emnet undervises på engelsk og beskrives derfor på engelsk.

About this subject:

This course introduces the study of the Middle East through the lens of comparative politics. How did the end of the Ottoman Empire and colonial involvement in the Middle East affect today’s politics? Is the Middle East a particularly undemocratic region, and if so, why? What is the legacy of the Arab Spring today, and what is the potential for new revolutionary protests? How do religion and gender affect politics in the region? Are countries like Iraq, Libya and Saudi Arabia “cursed” by their large amounts of oil reserves? 

The overarching aim of the course is two-fold. First, it introduces students to some of the core debates that tend to be raised when discussing Middle Eastern politics. Second, it ties these debates to the theories and findings of mainstream political science. The Middle East has often been assumed to be an “outlier” in such mainstream theories, where general theories of political behavior and democratization do not hold. This course looks at the politics of the Middle East within comparative perspective, and critically examines the extent to which the region forms an exception to theories and findings in political science.  

The course will focus on regional trends as well as specific countries, such as Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. It will provide students with the tools necessary to understand this fascinating region by illuminating some of the most prominent issues and debates of Middle Eastern politics. 

The candidate shall be able to…

Knowledge

  • Understand the general political history of the Middle East since the First World War.
  • Assess how the legacies of empires and colonialism shaped the states in today’s Middle East.
  • Understand how ideologies such as Arab nationalism, Zionism, Kemalism, and Islamism have affected – and been affected by – historical political developments.
  • Understand and analyze core concepts of the course as defined by the syllabus.
  • Analyze how social factors such as demographic trends and gender equality affect the politics of the region.
  • Assess the potential causes for the Arab Spring, and the revolutionary potential in today’s Middle Eastern states.

Skills

  • Critically evaluate current research on the Middle Eastern politics.
  • Critically evaluate current research on the state of autocracy and democracy in the Middle East.
  • Compare and contrast various causal explanations for the Arab Spring.
  • Understand the impact of colonialization on Middle Eastern political development.
  • Discuss and present key topics.
  • Argue for and against explanations of key topics in written form.

Competence

  • Identify and discuss academic issues related to research on the Middle Eastern politics.
  • Have a general understanding of Mideast political development since WWI.
  • Define and evaluate the main theoretical concepts introduced in course, such as “Arab nationalism” “political Islam” and others.

Requirement

The requirement must be passed in accordance to given deadline in order to register for the exams

  • A draft of the final take home exam (two essays): 250-990 words (per eessay) (pass/fail)

Exam

This course consists of two separate exams that together constitute the final grade. Both exams must be passed in order to pass the course. Students can retake one or both exams.

  • Take home exam (two essays): 1800 words (900 words oer essay) (+/- 10 % excluding front page, table of contents and reference list) (60 % of the grade, grading system A-F).
  • A multiple-choice exam based on the syllabus and lectures of the course (40 % of the grade, grading system A-F).