State and Diversity: Politics and the Role of Religion in North-Africa and the Middle-East
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleFTR-FIPPSB217
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies; Opleiding Filosofie;
dr. R. Meijer
Other course modules lecturer
dr. R. Meijer
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. R. Meijer
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2020
SEM2  (25/01/2021 to 29/08/2021)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
  • To understand current politics in the Middle East and North Africa;
  • To understand the current relations between politics and Islam';
  • Understand key concept such as political movements, sects, political Islam;
  • Understand current developments in the Middle East and North Africa.
State and Diversity is a crash course in Middle Eastern politics and the special role Islam plays in the political process. In twelve classes it deals with the most important topics and debates among political scientists working on the region. Topics to be analyzed include the social structure of societies in the region, the role of the authoritarian states, the “oil curse” and the rentier state, the way political parties function, the limitations of civil society, the position of women, and the permeability of the region and the interference of foreign powers. Special attention will be given to the role Islamic movements play in the region and the so-called “sectarianization” of political conflicts. The central question is why the Arab Spring (2010-2011) happened and why the dominant political theories failed to predict these uprisings. In addition, we will discuss possible future developments in the region.

Presumed foreknowledge
No knowledge of the subject is required.
Test information
The examination is based on the writing two essays
This course is part of a three course module in the Philosophy, Politics and Society bachelor programme. Students can only be admitted if they also take the two associated courses during the same semester (retakes excluded). Students who are NOT enrolled in a bachelor, master, or exchange programme of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious studies cannot register directly for PPS modules. Instead, they can apply for admission by sending an e-mail to Such applications must contain a separate document in which you (1) inform us about your current studies, (2) explain which module you want to take and why it is relevant to your studies, and (3) describe what you bring to the classroom. The document must be written in English.
Required materials
We will use articles and chapters of different authors concerning the debate on sectarianism and sectarianization in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Test weight1
Test typePaper
OpportunitiesBlock SEM2, Block SEM2