Pols B283: Middle East Politics
This course offers an overview on the contemporary politics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the relevant social (mostly political) science work on it. It brings together empirical knowledge on domestic and transnational politics in different countries of the region and how empirical political science around the big questions is conducted. Each module of the course revolves around a central question that has been keeping social and political scientists busy in the last decades: What triggers risky protest movements in authoritarian settings? Why has the MENA region remained authoritarian despite successive global waves of democratization? Under which conditions do transitions to democracies succeed? Do monarchies in the Middle East have an advantage in ensuring political stability, and if so, why? Is it impossible to ensure good governance and peace at the same time in divided societies? What motivates people to take up arms in the name of religion and sect? What are the reasons behind the economic underdevelopment of the MENA region? Students are also invited to think about these “big questions” and take MENA countries as their case studies, while at the same significantly enhancing their contextual knowledge about the region. No prerequisites, but either some prior familiarity with the Middle East or a prior political science course encouraged.


  • GenEd 1008: Power and Identity in the Middle East (Spring 2020)
    Evaluations cancelled due to the pandemic
  • Gov 20: Foundations of Comparative Politics (Fall 2019)
    Evaluation score: 4.6/5
    Won Bok Center’s Excellence in Teaching award
  • Gov 50: Introduction to Political Science Research Methods (Spring 2017)
    Evaluation score: 5.0/5
    Won Bok Center’s Excellence in Teaching award
  • Gov 1207: Comparative Politics of the Middle East (Fall 2016)
    Evaluation score: 4.3/5

Student evaluation reports from both Harvard College and Harvard Extension School are available upon request.

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