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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2009

GOV 390L • Politics of the Middle East and North Africa

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39415 W
7:00 PM-10:00 PM
BAT 1.104

Course Description

CANCELLED This seminar will critically examine various Western (Weberian, Marxist, and post-structural) approaches to the study of politics in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly within the Arab world. We stress theoretical assumptions about politics as well as the content of contemporary everyday politics in the region because our understanding of the everyday may be victim to our own intellectual tastes and prejudices. For instance, is "Islamism" an ideology like Marxist-Leninism? Are the "Bolsheviks" or extremists bound to win out? We tend to think by analogy, and it is important for us to be aware of our underlying assumptions.

How, if at all, and under what conditions may "democracy" develop in the Muslim parts of the Middle East and North Africa? This seems to be the most important question facing the region today, for virtually all the regimes in the region are confronted with the challenge of making major changes if they are to survive. Political transitions are also a major concern of students of comparative politics. We will keep coming back to this question as we analyze institutions, processes, classes, civil society, groups, modes of production, clienteles, ideologies, strategic elites, professions, and the like--categories used to compare political systems. You will also be expected to acquire a good contextual appreciation of at least one country of the Middle East or North Africa in addition to Egypt and Morocco, which are well discussed in some of the core readings.

Grading Policy

- Three oral presentations with one-page handouts in class, also to be posted to Blackboard: 30%. - Two 2500-word Papers: 30% each - to be submitted in hard copy and also to be posted to Blackboard - Quality (not quantity!) of discussion in class or via internet, to be be posted to Blackboard: 10%


Abel's Course Packet Ayyubi, Nazih N., Overstating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East (London: Tauris, 1995) Fawcett, Louise, International Relations of the Middle East, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2009) Hammoudi, Abdellah, Master and Disciple: the Cultural Foundations of Moroccan Authoritarianism, (U. of Chicago Press, 1997) Heydemann, Steven ed., Networks of Privilege in the Middle East (Palgrave, 2004) Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah (abridged ed. Princeton Bollinger Series) Lockman, Zachary, Contending Visions of the Middle East: the History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge University Press, 2004) Lust-Okar, Ellen, and Saloua Zerhouni, eds., Political Participation in the Middle East, Boulder CO: Lynne Rienner, 2008. Mitchell, Timothy, Rule of Experts (U of Calif, Press, 2002) Owen, Roger, State, Power, and Politics, 3rd edition (Routledge, 2004) Said, Edward, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (Vintage pb, 1997)


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