Political Violence in the Middle East: From Colonialism to ISIS

Stephen Sheehi, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Chair of Middle East Studies, Professor of Arabic Studies, Director, Asian and Middle East Studies Program

AMES and INRL

  • *COLL 300
  • In-person class dates: June 25, 26, 27, 28
  • Alumni networking reception: June 29

This hybrid course will critically examine “political violence,” which some call “terrorism,” in the 20th and 21st century Middle East. We will examine “political violence” in its state and non-state forms; in other words, how violence is used by state and non-state actors. Therefore, we will learn about the unprecedented way colonial rulers utilized political violence and how anti-colonialist struggles contested those regimes’ right to it.

Likewise, we will witness the legacy of violence as it was perpetuated by post-WWII “imperialist” powers in the region, notably the USA and Soviet Union, and its contribution to the “making of the modern Middle East.” We will consider how states clain the right to violence and, in turn, how authoritarian regimes and repressive states in the Middle East (from Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel) deploy violence in official capacities to manage their societies. Finally, we will end with learning the ideological differences is between militant left wing organizations and the rise of political Islamic groups have used violence strategically and tactically, from the Muslim Brotherhood to Qa’idah and ISIS.

*Proposed course is tentative pending approval and/or confirmation by W&M EPC.