This module aims to explore major socio-political dynamics in the Middle East. We will consider different types of (neo-)liberal interventions by external actors, their assumptions and their implications for Middle East societies, in addition to local efforts to create socio-political change in the region. With regards to external interventions, we will discuss the promotion of neoliberal economic reforms, democracy, women’s rights, LGBTQI rights and peace/conflict resolution.
With regards to indigenous efforts to create socio-political change, we will study different social movements and examples of contentious politics, such as, the Arab uprisings, women’s rights activism and human rights advocacy. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to critically reflect upon the wisdom of (neo-) liberal interventions, the degree to which Eurocentric theories of change can be used to analyse the Middle East and the role of local actors in shaping their own societies. There are no prerequisites for this module but you are advised to take International Relations and Security of the Middle East in Term 1.