Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2418H1F L0101

Undergraduate Course Code: POL479H1F L0101

Topics in Middle East Politics

Contesting Authoritarianisms in the Middle East


This is a fast-paced course and it will be divided into two sections. The first examines the historical formation of states and authoritarian regimes in the contemporary Middle East. This section will be organized around a series of articles presentations and subsequent debate. Among the themes examined will include “strong and weak states”, “clientelism and neo-patrimonialism”, and “critical junctures and path dependent political development”. The second section, organized around student seminars, examines the various forms of regime contestation in the region. Topics will include: globalization, external intervention and regime change, the rise of sectarian conflict, Islamist social movements, political parties, and civil society.


Oliver Schlumberger, Debating Arab Authoritarianism: Dynamics and Durability in Nondemocratic Regimes, (2007).

Format and Requirements

The course will be divided into two parts. The first will be organized around a series of article presentations by students followed by discussion. The second part will be organized around student seminars on selected topics. These seminars will be the basis for the major paper. All students will also be required to write an analytical book critique/review (TBA).