Washington Center

Middle East Politics and the Arab Spring

University of Michigan
Semester Elective
Seminar 314

This course provides an overview of modern Middle Eastern politics with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of the recent events of the Arab ?Spring?. The course begins with an historical analysis outlining the development of the states in the Middle East. The following sections examine the possible factors underlying the resilience of authoritarianism and the potential openings available to the opposition. Topics explored include economic factors, state-society relations, international concerns, and political Islam as potential explanatory variables. The last section examines revolutions and the Arab Spring in detail, seeking to understand how it took place and what the future may hold. How did these revolutions begin and how are they likely to proceed? Through this course students will first gain an understanding of the dynamics of the Middle Eastern politics and society. Second, students will gain an understanding of how to compare political developments throughout the Middle East to those in other regions. Third, by the end of this course, students will have the tools and knowledge necessary to develop their own arguments about the Middle East in a comparative perspective.

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