22 July 2016
From the Arab Spring to ISIS
The objective of this course is to explore the intertwined economic, political and social factors that triggered a series of popular uprisings in the Arab world during 2011, then to examine the multifaceted reasons why popular surge for more democratic and inclusive governments failed (with the possible exception of Tunisia), leading in some cases to a minority of youth supporting new and extremely violent movements such as ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
In weaving these threads together, the first part of the course will focus on the political aspect of these events. If much of the literature has focused on the ways power and the State stabilizes and normalizes the lives of people, the course will also cover the ways in which individuals and groups struggled to negotiate with, resist and subvert the power of the State and their mixed outcomes. How is power contested? How do people perceive injustice? What are people demanding when they protest? It will then focus on specific cases (Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Tunisia) in order to grasp both the similarities and differences among the various countries. The second part of the course will try to focus on what are the current outcomes of these popular protests, trying to establish a connection with the emergence of ISIS. It will challenge whether these events can be described as ‘Arab Spring’ and what are the main implications for the whole region.
Through lectures, readings, documentaries, discussions, and students’ presentations, the course aims to let students interrogate and question these events in a critical and engaging way.
•Political geography of the region
•Perceptions of the ‘Other’
•What is the State
•The role of Ideology
•The social basis of obedience and revolt
•Human rights and humanitarian interventions
•Exploring pre-2011 events leading to the popular uprisings
•Country case-studies (Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia)
•US and UK Foreign Policy in the Middle East
•Security and terrorism
•Making sense of the emergence of ISIS
•The Arab world and the West
GBP 2100: £2,100 inclusive of tuition, accommodation, meals and social programme.