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Course 2020-2021 a.y.

30534 - ISLAM, POLITICS AND THE MIDDLE EAST

All Programs
Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 31

BESS-CLES (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BIG (6 credits - I sem. - OBS  |  SPS/04)
Course Director:
NAILA MAYA SHOFIA

Classes: 31 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 31: NAILA MAYA SHOFIA


Suggested background knowledge

Basic knowledge of theories and concepts of political science.

PREREQUISITES

None.


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

The course aims at introducing students to the politics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with a special eye to the phenomenon of Political Islam, a characteristic of the region but not unique to it. During the first module, students will be provided with the main historical, social, and economic features underpinning current politics in the Middle East and North Africa. In so doing, this part will also equip students with the main analytical tools needed to comprehend the course of current politics in the region and critically analyze it. Particular attention will be paid to assess the meaning and the implications of the Arab Spring for the entire region. The second half of the course will be devoted instead to the phenomenon of Political Islam which, from the 1970s onwards, is a hallmark of politics in many Muslim-majority countries. It focuses on understanding the intertwining forces of Islam and politics by engaging in the thoughts and political ideas of contemporary Muslim thinkers, providing key concepts in political Islam, as well as discussing empirical knowledge of key countries. It also provides students with opportunities to improve their skills in conducting independent research, critically engaging with existing arguments and theories, and writing short essays.

CONTENT SUMMARY

First Module

Lecturer: Valeria Resta

 

The module is intended as an introduction to Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) politics. It is organized along three core lines. First, it provides students with the historical, social, and economic features informing current politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Second, it illustrates the working and functioning of key democratic institutions along with authoritarian modes of governing across the region. Third, it discusses the implications of the Arab Spring for the political asset of the region.

 

Second Module

Lecturer: Naila Shofia

 

This module aims to assess a political ideology that declares its base in Islam. First, it invites the students to analytically engage in the thoughts and ideas of key contemporary Muslim thinkers about political and social issues that are pertinent in the Western Liberal democracy, e.g. the idea of the state, democracy, the rights of women and the rights of minorities. It then proceeds to dwell into Islamism, a movement that aims at Islamic revival in the political and social aspects of life. We will discuss various aspects of this movement: understanding its root and expansion; understanding who Islamists are and what do they want. In particular, we will seek to understand the inherent nuances within this social movement and how the specific features of national politics shape its character and behavior. A deep understanding of this issue enables students to critically analyze the complexities of this movement and its implication for politics and international relations.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand key aspects of Middle East politics from the 19th century to the present.
  • Discuss the major political, economic, and social transformations of politics in the contemporary Middle East.
  • Understand the views and thoughts of key contemporary Muslim thinkers on various aspects of Western Liberal Democracy
  • Understand the concept and terminology of political Islam and Islamism.
  • Understand the root cause of Islamism, its trajectory, its actors, its rise, and expansion.
  • Understand the variety of Islamist governance within the Muslim world.
  • Understand the nuances and complexities in the nature and behavior of this movement around the world.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Apply theories of political science to the study of Middle East politics.
  • Apply theories of political science to Islamist movement in the Muslim world.
  • Critically analyze the implication of Islamism in politics and international relations.
  • Write essay papers.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
DETAILS

Face-to-face lectures


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •   x  
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)
  • x    
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    The assessment of attending students consists of two components:

    • Class participation (20% of the final grade)
    • Individual essay assignments (80% of the final grade): At the end of each module, students will be asked to respond to one out of 3 question options by writing a short essay (of maximum 1000 words) that need to be submitted by the respective timeline. Each module carries the same weight (40% of the final grade). Students are required to use the reading material assigned, recognize links among arguments and topics discussed in class, and make an argument based on the evidence provided in the literature. The assignment aims at helping students improve their skills in academic writing.
    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Individual essay assignments (100% of the final grade): At the end of each module, students will be asked to respond to one out of 3 question options by writing a short essay (of maximum 1000 words) that need to be submitted by the respective timeline. Each module carries the same weight (50% of the final grade). Students are required to use the reading material assigned, recognize links among arguments and topics discussed in class, and make an argument based on the evidence provided in the literature. The assignment aims at helping students improve their skills in academic writing.


    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Textbooks:

    Ayoob, Mohammed. The Many Faces of Political Islam. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2008

    Durac, Vincent and Francesco Cavatorta. Politics and Governance in the Middle East. Palgrave 2015

    Kurzman, Charles. Liberal Islam: A Sourcebook. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1998

    Lust, Ellen. The Middle East. Sage. 2019 (Fifteenth edition)

     

     

    Last change 22/08/2020 11:33