Spring 2017

Political Economy of the Modern Middle East

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-258  |  History, as HIST-258

Moodle site: Course


Steven N. Simon (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 258 [ME] and ASLC 258) In 2011, the Middle East was convulsed by revolutions. Some, like Syria's, are still raging; others, as in Egypt, appear to be in remission.  Some states, particularly monarchies, seem to have proved immune. This course will ask why these revolutions erupted, why they did so in 2011, and why some states were transformed and others were not.  It will also explore the development of Israel’s political economy since independence. We will rely on a political economy approach to these questions, exploring the interactions of the state, economy, society and ideology--especially political Islam---that led to the upheavals of 2011 and have shaped the evolution of the region since then.  Along the way, the course will cover the relationship between economic growth and social outcomes; the governance of Middle Eastern states from the end of colonial rule to the present; the role of demographics in shaping both politics and economics; human capital and food security; the role of gas and oil; models of development embraced by regional states or imposed upon them; intra-regional trade; the structure of civil society; dynamics of popular mobilization; and the effects of war. Two class meetings per week. Spring semester.  John J. McCloy Visiting Professor Simon.


Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018