Fall/Winter Timetable

POL479H1F L5101

Graduate Course Code: POL2418H1F L5101

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 social and political contestation in the region, especially those related to the recent Arab Spring.


Oliver Schlumberger, Debating Arab Authoritarianism: Dynamics and Durability in Nondemocratic Regimes, (2007); Quintan Wictorowicz, Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Approach, (2004); and Joel Beinin and Frederic Vairel, Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa (2011).

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.


POL201H1 or POL201Y1 or POLB90H3 or POLB91H3