- Political Leadership in the Middle East
Change in the Middle East has often been attributed to charismatic and powerful leaders, whose influence has been magnified by crisis, wars, and authoritarian traditions. This course combines biography with politics to ask whether, how, and in which circumstances, individual leaders have changed the course of modern Middle Eastern history. Special attention is paid to the interaction of leaders and mass movements, and leadership dynamics in the unfolding "Arab Spring."
- Twin Pillars of The Gulf: regional rivalries, and geopolitical dynamics
This course examines Persian Gulf politics through the prism of Iran and Saudi Arabia-their history, domestic evolutions, foreign policy, ideology, position in the Persian Gulf, and competition in the wider region of the Middle East. Once known in the American foreign policy establishment as the Twin Pillars of the Gulf, they both supported and were supported by American political and economic interests. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 changed the course of those relations alongside the course of the region.
Despite the divergent political and religious systems that took hold, Iran and Saudi Arabia have followed similar trajectories. The outcome of such paths however, has been decidedly different. In addition to weighing in on the competing ideological visions and dominating regional position of these two Persian Gulf heavyweights, this course will assess the impact of these states on those of the region including in the states of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar.