12021 Democracy and Democratization in the Arab World 1

Credits: 3 graduate credits in Democracy Studies / Society and Politics

Prerequisites: Democracy: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Israeli Democracy: Selected Issues, Contemporary Democratic Theories; one of the following: Democracy and Democratization, Selected Problems in the History of Western Democracies, Education Policy: Education for Democracy in Democratic Societies, Democracy and Mass Communication,2 Selected Topics in Public Administration; and exemption from bibliographic assignments on computer searches in the “Alef” catalog and databases.

The course is based on a reader edited by Alexander Bligh.

In recent years a number of Arab countries have undergone significant change in their attitude toward the concept of democracy and its many and varied components. The course deals with an analysis of historical and current trends with respect to several components of democracy in Arab countries, on both the ideational and the practical level. The effect of the changes on the on-going political functioning of both decision-makers and the opposition, as well as the question of minorities and minority rights, opposition and human rights organizations in Arab countries, and media censorship will be examined.

Topics: Approaches to the study of democratization in the Middle-East; approaches of Islam to democratic principles; the first Gulf War as a catalyst for democratization processes; obstacles to democratic processes; the development of the principle of representation; the development of the concepts of “elections” and “election laws” in the Middle-East; the development of the judicial system and enforcement mechanisms in the Middle-East; the attitudes of Arab countries to the concept of democracy and human rights; the idea of a constitution; the consolidation of a democratic outlook as a result of the struggle with Islamic extremism; non-governmental organizations, opposition and human rights organizations in Arab countries.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.

2or Liberalism: Texts, Contexts, Critiques (12005), for students who took it as a required course in the Culture specialization before Spring 2010.