Politics of the Middle East and North Africa

Your response to EACH question should be between 500 and 700 words. You are required to integrate readings and themes from the course into your responses in a coherent fashion. I expect to see a minimum of three relevant references to course readings/films for each question. Demonstrate that you have undertaken the readings relevant to each question in a timely fashion and that you have critically reflected on these readings. Note that more than one reading might be relevant to a question. It is your responsibility to ascertain what are the full range of relevant readings for any question. When appropriate, refer to the readings in a formal manner. Cite sources when appropriate and include page numbers for direct quotes.

Your essays will be read with the following criteria in mind: clarity of central argument; logical reasoning; demonstrated engagement of course readings and classroom discussions; use of relevant examples (I suggest a minimum of four per essay); and comprehension of central concepts.   Please remember:

  • All questions will be drawn verbatim from this study guide. 


The questions::


l Through the readings and classroom discussions, we have identified numerous stereotypes about the Middle East and North Africa. Identify and discuss three of these stereotypes. Explain how these stereotypes may hamper our ability to understand human rights challenges in the region.

l In Resurrecting Empire Rashid Khalidi argues that in the post-9/11 climate, much of the discussion about MENA has taken place in a “historical vacuum” and is based on “denigrating stereotypes.” Identify and discuss two cases from MENA where this has been an issue.

l In the post-Cold War international system, the prospects for democratization in areas ruled by authoritarian regimes became a popular topic among scholars and policy makers alike. In your view, what are at least two challenges to democratization in the MENA region in this period? 

l Reflect on the interplay between Islam and human rights. In your view, can a case be made that Islam is compatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Please explain both sides of the argument before explaining where you stand on the issue.

l The authors reviewed in class differentiate between “endogenous” and “exogenous” factors in explaining the human rights situation in the Middle East. Explain how each factor sheds light on the human rights condition in the region. In your view, what is the most useful way to conceptualize the relative utility of each in explicating the potential for change in the region?

l What are the main narratives regarding human rights in the Middle East? What are the main challenges we face in deciding between these narratives?

l In your view, it is justifiable to accept restrictions on freedom of speech to protect the human rights of ethnic or religious minorities? Explain your position with reference to concrete examples.

l According to course readings, what role does “freedom of speech” play in the increasing tensions between religious minorities and governments in the Middle East?

l Explain the main barriers to progress in the area of human rights. In your view, does the Middle East pose unique challenges here?

l In your view, what imprints have violent conflicts left on the political landscape of the Middle East region? What are the ramifications of these imprints for human rights in the region?

All the reading below and upload.

–  https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

–  Chase, Routledge Handbook, Part I, Section I, ch. 1

–  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GudEhGJqAwM

–  Monishipouri, Human Rights in the Middle East, Introduction and Part I: Introduction and chapter 1

–  Castellino and Cavanaugh, Minority Rights in the Middle East, Introduction and chapter 1, sections 1 and 2

–  Chase, Routledge Handbook, Part I, chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13

–  Monishipouri, Human Rights in the Middle East, Part I, chapters 2, 3 4

–  Castellino and Cavanaugh, Minority Rights in the Middle East, chapter 1, sections 3, 4, 5

–  Chase, Routledge Handbook, Part II, chapters 19, 20

–  https://washington.kanopy.com/product/square-egyptian-revolution