Postgraduate Course: Political Islam in the Middle East (PGSP11298)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The rise of political Islam across the Middle East has been one of the most consequential developments in regional politics for at least the last 40 years, and has only grown in importance in the wake of the Arab uprisings that began in late 2010. This course examines political Islam, or 'Islamism', as a complex phenomenon affecting, and impacted by, international relations in the Middle East and globally. It analyses a range of International Relations and Comparative Politics approaches to political Islam as a domestic, international and transnational phenomenon, while also focussing on the diversity of Islamist manifestations in key regional states, particularly Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The course is delivered via weekly 2-hour seminar, where the emphasis is on discussion and collective exploration of the topic, rather than lecturing. Topics to be covered will include the salience of sectarianism; the role of ideology; Islamism as a transnational social movement; the roots and explanations for Islamist violence; Islamism and secularism; Islamism in the context of globalisation, imperialism and democratic transition; and the linkages between local, national and international modalities of Islamist activism. Students can expect to develop a nuanced understanding of Islamist movements and be able to analyse them within the conceptual frameworks of IR and Comparative Politics.
1. Introduction to political Islam in the Middle East: trends, ideas and approaches
- Introduction to the course
- Contemporary relevance of political Islam in the Middle East
- Methodological and ┐meta-┐ issues related to studying political Islam
2. Islamism in historical context: shared and divergent reference points and contexts
- Overview of political Islam in Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia
- Reflection on differences and continuities across time and space
3. Islamism, authority and the state
- Ways in which Islamist movements have engaged with states and political authorities in a range of contexts
- Reflection on how political context has shaped nature of Islamism
4. Islamism in society: piety, reform and revolt
- Islamism as social movement
- Social bases of Islamist movements
5. Global and regional expressions of political Islam
- Islamism as a transnational phenomenon
- The role of international factors in shaping Islamist activism and ideology
- Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood: what went wrong?
- Islamist Grassroots responses to secular authoritarianism
- Islamist foreign policy?
- Political Islam in power
- The Islamic Republic in global context
- Iranian foreign policy: does Islam matter?
8. Saudi Arabia
- Wahhabism and Salafism
- Varieties of opposition in an ┐Islamic┐ state
- Saudi foreign policy in the wake of the Arab uprisings
- The rule of the AKP: an Islamist success story?
- Islamism and democracy in the Turkish context
- Turkish foreign policy under the AKP
10. Islamism and international relations in a new Middle East
- Post-Arab uprisings regional dynamics
- Islamism and IR theory
- Western political approaches to Islamism
The course is hands-on, taught through seminars. You will conduct your own research for the final essay. It is taught through seminar discussions and student-led activities. The course is delivered via weekly 2-hour seminar, where the emphasis is on discussion and collective exploration of themes and topics, rather than lecturing. Themes to be covered will include the salience of sectarianism; the role of ideology; Islamism as a transnational social movement; the roots and explanations for Islamist violence; Islamism and secularism; Islamism in the context of globalisation, imperialism and democratic transition; and the linkages between local, national and international modalities of Islamist activism. Students can expect to develop a nuanced understanding of Islamist movements and be able to analyse them within the conceptual frameworks of IR and Comparative Politics.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||The course will be assessed as follows:
- One presentation and response paper (25 %)
- One final 3000 research essay (75%)
||At the beginning of the course students will be assigned responsibility to deliver a brief presentation on a reading chosen by the student, but excluding the essential readings. Presentations and response papers will begin from Week 3. The presentation may discuss one of the recommended readings for the session or another relevant academic text. The presentation will take the form of an unscripted assessment of the text┐s main arguments in relation to the required readings and general topic of the session, and/or the overall thematic concern of the course. On the same day as their presentation, students will submit a written (up to 1500 words) response paper based on their chosen reading. The response paper can either constitute a detailed analysis of the reading itself, ideally with reference to other texts, or a broader (referenced) discussion that takes the chosen reading as a starting point.
The research essay must move beyond reviewing sources and be focussed on a clear research question relevant to the course. It may focus on a movement or country not explicitly covered in the course, but in this case should engage with one or more of the analytical issues examined.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Have a detailed knowledge of the main trends of political Islam in the Middle East
- Have an ability to analyse political Islam using theories of International Relations and Comparative Politics
- Have a critical understanding of diverse scholarly and political approaches to political Islam in the Middle East
- Have an ability to discuss and debate political Islam in the context of Middle East politics and International Relations more broadly
- Have an nuanced understanding of links between manifestations of Islamism at local, national, regional and global levels
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Weekly 2-hour seminar
|Course organiser||Dr Ewan Stein
Tel: (0131 6)50 4264
|Course secretary||Mrs Gillian Macdonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
© Copyright 2016 The University of Edinburgh - 3 February 2017 5:00 am