SOC8: Religion and Contentious Mobilization (2018-2020, Cambridge, UK). 

From Narendra Modi’s use of Hinduism in nationalist mobilization, Jihadist movements in the Syrian civil war and European right wing movements referring to a Christian heritage: religion is a divisive topic in contemporary societies today and a crucial component of contentious mobilization around the globe. In this course we explore the ways in which religious beliefs, practices and objects intersect with, and are shaped by, these episodes of contentious mobilization and social conflict. 

The first series of lectures provides the conceptual and theoretical background for thinking about how religion intersects with social conflict. We start by critically assessing classic sociological debates on ‘secularization’ ‘the secular’ and ‘(de-)privatization of religion’, followed by a discussion on the conceptual genealogy of religion. We then discuss how these approaches have been taken up in studies on social movements and contentious politics. In the second part of the paper we critically assess the utility of these debates by applying them to contemporary cases of mobilized religion in Poland, Japan, United States, UK, India and Syria. In doing so, we also assess how the mobilization of religion intersects with issues of gender, media and technology, revolution, and populism.

SOC8: Revolution, War and Militarism (2017-2018, Cambridge, UK). 

Note: This course was designed by Dr. Hazem Kandel. Course description: Revolutions are often accompanied by war, and cast a long shadow over a country’s civil-military relations. This paper adopts a holistic approach to these three interrelated phenomena: revolution, war, and militarism. After surveying the relevant literature, three historical cases are examined: (1) America, from the War of Independence and the Civil War through the two world wars and the Cold War, to the current War on Terror; (2) France, from the Great Revolution and Napoleonic wars through the rebellious century to the present day; and (3) Iran, covering the Pahlavi dynasty, the Iranian Revolution, and the Islamic Republic that followed. The objective of these extended histories is to uncover the causes and outcomes of revolution, and the role of collective violence in regime transformation.

SAMPOL211: Islamist Movements and Contentious Politics in the Middle East (2015-2017, University of Bergen, Norway).  

SAMPOL211 provides students with an introduction to the history of the Middle East, an overview of theoretical debates regarding social movements and a survey of the various strands of Islamism. Students are challenged to critically apply their knowledge of debates in social movement studies to a variety of Islamist primary sources: from the democratic writings of Rashed Ghannouchi, to the revolutionary writings of the Iranian Khomeini and the totalitarian ones of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. 

POLS317: Middle East Politics and Society (Summer 2012, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey).

The course is aimed at students with little prior knowledge of the Arab world, but who have an interest in learning more about politics and society of the region. Additionally, it aims at students who wish to develop a critical perspective on the current period of instability and its implications for future social and political dynamics in the region. Supporting these aims, the course provides 1) a thematic overview of relevant issues concerning state and society in the Arab world, 2) a selection of analytical readings on Arab state-society relations and 3) the context to develop a personal critical perspective on the current (re)configuration of politics and society in the Arab world. 

The course starts with a historical approach to major themes relevant to the Arab world. Second, we discuss more analytically focused papers from comparative politics (authoritarianism studies) and political sociology (social movement studies). Third, we then apply this historic and analytical background to current discussions on the uprisings in both Tunisia and Syria – in the context of the wider Arab region. Though both understudied, these two countries are central in the current wave of dissent.