About this Course
4.6
167 ratings
41 reviews
Learn why the hope and excitement of the Arab Spring is gone, why so many Arab states are falling apart, why the youth are so frustrated, why there are so many refugees, and what can be done about it. The so-called Arab Spring appeared to end decades of exceptionalism and bring the Arab world back into the mainstream of global developments. The rebellions promised the return of politics and the reassertion of popular sovereignty against their corrupt and geriatric leaders. Much hope and flowery language greeted the young men and women who deposed their leaders and tried to build new, better societies. Today, the Arab world is in deep crisis. Of the 22 member states of the Arab League, at least five have essentially collapsed: Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria exist only in name today, as their territories have fallen to competing, murderous armed groups. In the remaining countries, the old autocracies have reasserted themselves. The repression at home is now worsened by regional conflict on an unprecedented scale, and the resulting frustration has led to the biggest refugee flows in recent memory. What went wrong? This course offers an overview of the structural shortcomings of Arab states and societies, which help us understand why the democratic awakening did not happen but instead “has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism.” This raises the obvious and renewed question whether there is something inherent in the Arab, and by analogy Muslim, condition that makes them special. Does this condition make this part of the world impervious to generally observable trends towards greater accountability, popular participation in political decision-making, greater generation and fairer division of economic wealth? Join this course to find out!...
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Calendar

Flexible deadlines

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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Suggested: 6 weeks of study, 2-3 hours/week

Approx. 14 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Arabic, Spanish
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Suggested: 6 weeks of study, 2-3 hours/week

Approx. 14 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Arabic, Spanish

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Instability and Institutional Failure

In this section, you will become acquainted with some of the mistakes that were made in the decades prior to the outbreak of the recent Arab rebellions. These shortcomings have led to stunted and underperforming political systems, much at variance with developments elsewhere....
Reading
4 videos (Total 38 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
Video4 videos
1b. The Arab Exception: Critical Reason and Responsibility8m
1c. Relativism and Reality: The Price of Inadaption12m
1d. Physical Elections and Necessary Comparisons7m
Reading1 reading
Readings for module 1m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Broken Societies and an Aborted Awakening16m
The Arab Exception: Critical Reason and Responsibility16m
Relativism and Reality: The Price of Inadaption16m
Physical Elections and Necessary Comparisons16m

2

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Governance

At the heart of most of the enduring problems plaguing the Arab world is the availability of essentially free income flowing to the governments of the region. These ‘rents’ have sustained a repressive arrangement in which citizens pay little or no taxes and have no voice....
Reading
4 videos (Total 44 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
Video4 videos
2b. The Authoritarian Social Contract and the Absence of Politics12m
2c. Now is the Winter of Our Discontent9m
2d. The Absence of Politics: Fear, Stability, Institutional Decay, and Polarising Elections11m
Reading1 reading
Readings for module 2m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Missing the Boat to the 'Third Wave' of Democratisation16m
The Authoritarian Social Contract and the Absence of Politics16m
Now is the Winter of Our Discontent16m
The Absence of Politics: Fear, Stability, Institutional Decay, and Polarising Elections16m

3

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Institutions

Social action inevitably produces institutions, namely values, stable, repeated patterns of behaviour. In this section, you will learn what institutions are, how they come about, how their relative effectiveness is measures, how and why they decline, and why all that matters. ...
Reading
4 videos (Total 43 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
Video4 videos
3b. The Miracle of Politics: Accountability and Effectiveness9m
3c. Contestation of Models: Is 'Good Governance' a Western or an Islamic Idea?10m
3d. Contingency, Trajectories and Performance Standards12m
Reading1 reading
Readings for module 310m
Quiz4 practice exercises
The Necessity of Politics: Power and Authority16m
The Miracle of Politics: Accountability and Effectiveness16m
Contestation of Models: Is 'Good Governance' a Western or an Islamic Idea?16m
Contingency, Trajectories and Performance Standards16m

4

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Economics: Bread, Dignity and Freedom

This section deals with the material bases of popular discontent, especially the connection between the states’ explicit promises of delivering welfare that have become increasingly unsustainable in the face of exploding population growth and falling revenues....
Reading
4 videos (Total 44 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
Video4 videos
4b. Labour Market: Insiders and Outsiders8m
4c. Law, Institutions and Economic Performance10m
4d. Trade, Productivity and Rent Seeking: Living on Borrowed Time14m
Reading1 reading
Readings for module 4m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Material Base of Discontent16m
Labor Market: Insiders and Outsiders16m
Law, Institutions and Economic Performance12m
Trade, Productivity and Rent Seeking: Living on Borrowed Time16m
4.6

Top Reviews

By BESep 4th 2017

That is the second class I am taking with Professor Afsah and would love to take more. The class is interesting, engaging and relevant. Highly recommended!

By EBSep 20th 2017

Excellent and very informative course, makes you think critically about the situation in the Middle East.

Instructor

Dr. Ebrahim Afsah

Associate Professor
Faculty of Law

About University of Copenhagen

The University of Copenhagen is the oldest University in Denmark - founded in 1479, and with over 38,000 students and more than 9,000 employees. The purpose of the University is to conduct research and provide education to the highest academic level. Based in Denmark's capital city it is one of the top research institutions in Europe. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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