Unarmed Arab Uprisings


Course description

This course examines the role of civil resistance as a force for change in the Arab world, focusing on Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territories. The sessions will provide you with a beginner’s background of the region, plus an overview of the theory of civil resistance. What is the relationship between civil resistance and violence? What is the relationship between Islamism and violence/nonviolence? What are the limits of unarmed struggle? What do our case studies suggest about the nature of power in the Arab world and beyond? By exploring these questions, we dispel common misperceptions about civil resistance and about the Middle East. For example, civil resistance can be an effective weapon, even against military regimes. And Arab societies are shown to be neither prone to violence nor averse to democracy, but instead rich in traditions of civic struggle (which have often been directed at Western imperialism and colonialism).

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