The course concentrates on the three major IR paradigms (realism, liberalism, and social constructivism) and their application on the analysis of Middle Eastern politics. By discussing the major IR theories the course deepens students' knowledge of key theoretical concepts (i.a. power/security, actors, cooperation/conflict, identity) and guides students on how to apply and use theory as a road map by which Middle Eastern political, economic and societal developments can be examined and make sense of.
The course is structured around three thematic blocks, i.e., realism, liberalism, and social constructivism, which are consequently discussed in relation to the regional political developments especially with regard to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. The first block begins with the discussion of key realist concepts (i.a. power/security) which are thereafter applied on selected regional events and processes. In the first empirical part we will thus focus on Saudi Arabia as an (always) aspiring regional power, examine Jordan's position as a small state, and take a closer look at Egypt's wars and peace with Israel. The second section of the course examines central theses of liberalism paradigm (i.a. cooperation/conflict). Similarly to the previous block we will apply the theoretical insights on selected empirical cases. We will, in particular, examine the conflict/cooperation dimension over the Jordan River, the oil as a tool of political power in Saudi Arabia, and Egypt-EU regimes of cooperation. The final part of the course is dedicated to social constructivism and its central elements (i.a. identity). On the empirical level we will explore the facets of political Islam in Saudi Arabia, the process of nation-building in Jordan, and the current war on terror in Egypt.
The underlying objective of the course is two-fold: (1) to deepen students' knowledge of major IR paradigms and their application on empirical case studies, and (2) to provide students with a more detailed and nuanced understanding of modern Middle Eastern politics and societies by analyzing the political developments and processes through diverse theoretical lenses. By the end of the course students will be able to evaluate the contributions and shortcomings of the three IR theories and to discuss them critically in relation to political developments in the Middle East.
The course is taught in English. As long as you are able to read the assignments, contribute to class discussions, and write the term paper in English, you are warmly encouraged to join this course. The course is centered on in-class discussions and group assignments. To facilitate more effective discussions, students in the class will be divided into three separate groups which will cover each of the empirical cases (Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia). The assignment for a group will be done at the first introductory session.
Wer die erste Sitzung der Lehrveranstaltung versäumt, ohne sich vorher schriftlich oder persönlich zu entschuldigen, kann den Anspruch auf einen Platz in der LV verlieren, wenn es mehr Interessenten als Plätze gibt. Dies gilt ungeachtet der Platzzuweisung durch Friedolin und ist im Einklang mit der grundsätzlichen Aufhebung der Anwesenheitspflicht.
Das Seminar wird von Frau Helena Burgrová, M.A. gehalten.
l Preparation for the course is vital. You are expected to carefully read all assigned materials for the theoretical sessions and empirical materials assigned to your group, be prepared to discuss questions related to the assigned texts in the class, and generally playing your part in making the seminar an enjoyable, stimulating environment.
l Active participation is central element of the course. You are expected to work in a group and present conclusions based on assigned reading material to the class.
l Regular attendance at seminars is highly encouraged.