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Anno accademico 2022/2023

Codice attività didattica
Docente Da Nominare (Titolare dell'insegnamento)
Corso di studio
Corso di laurea magistrale in Antropologia culturale ed etnologia (LM-1)
Corso di laurea magistrale in Scienze internazionali (Classe LM-52)
1° anno
Secondo semestre
SSD attività didattica
SPS/08 - sociologia dei processi culturali e comunicativi
Tipologia esame
Propedeutico a

Sommario insegnamento



Cancellazione iscritti ai corsi sulla piattaforma del Dipartimento

Obiettivi formativi

The course aims to:

- Introduce students to a general understanding of Islamism, its birth, its definitions, its basic theories and its transformations.

- Make students aware of the complexity and plurality of Islamism.

- Provide students with the analytical tools required to analyse critically the theoretical and methodological approaches employed to study Islamism.

- Provide a contextualized analysis of Islamic movements and their role in Gulf politics.


Risultati dell'apprendimento attesi

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

- Have a solid knowledge of Islamism, its birth, its definitions, its basic theories and transformations

- Analyze Islamism in its plurality

- Develop critical thinking vis-à-vis the existing literature on Islamism(s).





Lecture 1 - Introduction to the course 21 February 2022

Lecture 2 - The formation of the Modern Middle East: State borders, between Islam, Nationalism and Pan-Arabism 22 February 2022

Lecture 3 - Authoritarianism, Democracy and Islam 23 February 2022

Lecture 4 - What is Political Islam: “democracy” in Islamic thought 24 February 2022

Lecture 5 - Early Islamism 25 February 2022

Lecture 6 - Sayyid Qutb and the radicalism of Political Islam 7 March 2022

Lecture 7 – The Society of Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian State 8 March 2022

Lecture 8- Extension of Islamism in the Middle East 9 March 2022

Lecture 9 - The Global Islamic Jihad (Al Qaeda): The Afghan nurturing till September 11th 10 March 2022

Lecture 10 - The Iraqi quagmire 11 March 2022

Lecture 11 - The Arab Spring: The Muslim Brotherhood: from violence to democracy? 21 March 2022

Lecture 12 - The Syrian civil war 22 March 2022

Lecture 13- The IS Caliphate versus Al Qaeda? 23 March 2022

Lecture 14 - Sectarianism in the Middle East and the Gulf Peninsula 24 March 2022

Lecture 15– Islamism in the Shiia tradition 25 March 2022

Lecture 16 - Shiism revival and Sunni tensions 4 April 2022

Lecture 17– The Sunni-Shia Divide? Saudi Arabia vs Iran 5 April 2022

Lecture 18– Lebanon: sectarianism as a State system 6 April 2022

Lecture 19 - Hizbullah and the transformation of the Lebanese State 7 April 2022

Lecture 20 - The complexity of contemporary Salafism 8 April 2022

Lecture 21 – The issue of authority and politics within Salafi tradition 20 April 2022

Lecture 22 - Salafism and the Arab Spring 21 April 2022

Lecture 23 - Politics and Islamism in the Gulf Peninsula 22 April 2022

Lecture 24 – Tensions within Islamism(s) 2 May 2022

Lecture 25 -Islamism: an outdated ideology of change? -1 3 May 2022

Lecture 26 - Islamism: an outdated ideology of change? -2 4 May 2022

Lecture 27 - Final thoughts 5 May 2022


Modalità di insegnamento

The course adopts a lecture/seminar format. The lecturer will introduce the topic of the day and students are expected to contribute to class discussions.



Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

The course adopts a lecture/seminar format. The lecturer will introduce the topic of the day and students are expected to contribute to class discussions.

Students will be assessed on 1 research essay (50% of the final mark) and on one book report (50% of the final mark). The essay is due on Friday May 13th, 2022 and should be sent to me by e-mail. Students are encouraged to choose their own topic with previous agreement from the lecturer. The research essay will be no longer than 5000 words; it should be analytical and not descriptive. The essay must be the student's own work as plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism will be treated very seriously, and in order to avoid suspicion, students should reference their work correctly. The book report is due on Friday May 6th, 2022 and should be sent to me by e-mail. Students will have to demonstrate that they have actually read the book and identify the main arguments the author(s) puts forth. In addition, students will have to highlight the strength and weaknesses of the arguments made in the book by employing specific examples and relying on other readings. The report will be no longer than 2,000 words. A list of books is provided on the last page of the course outline, but you can choose to write the report on a book of your choice with previous agreement from me.

Testi consigliati e bibliografia


There is no manual for this course. All the readings are journal articles. the lecturer will suggest in class a number of manuals that can be useful as a reference for students who are completely unfamiliar with the politics of the region.



LIST OF BOOKS - Book Report due on May 13th, 2022

Achcar, Gilbert (2013). The People Want. London: Saqi Books.

Al-Naqeeb, Khaldoun (1990). Society and State in the Gulf and Arab Peninsula. A different perspective, London, New York, Routledge.

Al Racheed, Madawi. (2018). Salman's Legacy: The Dilemmas of a New Era in Saudi Arabia, Oxford University Press.

Ayubi, Nazih (1991). Political Islam. Religion and Politics in the Arab world. London: Routledge.

Bayat, Asef (2009). Life as Politics: How ordinary people change in the Middle East. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Beinin, Joel (2015). Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Stanford Briefs.

Bonnefoy, Laurent (2012). Salafism in Yemen. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Browers, Michaelle (2006). Democracy and Civil Society in Arab Political Thought: Transcultural Possibilities. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Brown, Nathan (2012). When victory is not an option. Islamist movements in Arab politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Bush, Sarah (2015), The Taming of Democracy Assistance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Byman, Daniel (2015). Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cavatorta, Francesco & Durac, Vincent (eds) (2015). Politics and Governance in the Middle East. London: Palgrave.

Cavatorta, Francesco & Merone, Fabio (eds) (2017). Salafism after the Arab Awakening. Contending with People’s Power. Oxford: OUP.

Chalcraft, John (2016). Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Corboz, Elvire (2015). Guardians of Shi'ism: Sacred Authority and Transnational Family Networks. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Dabashi, Hamid (2008). Islamic Liberation Theology. Resisting the Empire. London: Routledge.

Daher, Aurelie (2016). Hezbollah. Mobilisation and Power. London: Hurst & Co.

Daher, Joseph (2016). Hezbollah. The political economy of the party of God. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Davidson, Christopher (2012). After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies. London: Hurst & Co.

Gray, Matthew (2013). Qatar: Politics and the Challenges of Development. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

Haddad, Bassam (2011). Business networks in Syria: the political economy of authoritarian resilience. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Hafez, Mohammad (2003). Why Muslims Rebel: Repression and Resistance in the Muslim World, Boulder-Colorado: Lynn Rienner.

Hamid, Shadi (2014). Temptations of Power. Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a new Middle East, Oxford: Oxford University Press.  

Haynes, Jeffrey & Ben-Porta, Guy (eds) (2014). Religion, Secularism and Politics. A Mediterranean View. London: Routledge.

Herb, Michael (1999). All In The Family: Absolutism, Revolution and Democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Hertog, Steffan (2011). Princes, Brokers and Bureaucrats: oil and the state in Saudi Arabia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

(eds.) Haykel, Bernard, Hegghammer, Thomas, and Lacroix, Stephane (2016). Saudi Arabia in Transition: Insights on Social, Political, Economic and Religious Change, Cambridge University Press.

Kandil, Hazem (2014). Inside the Brotherhood. London: Polity Press.

Kubicek, Paul (2015). Political Islam and Democracy in the Muslim World, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

Kepel, Gilles (1985). Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet and Pharaoh, Saqi Book.

Kepel, Gilles (2003). Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, Belknap Press.

Kepel, Gilles (2006). The war for Muslim Minds. Islam and the West, Harvard University Press.

Jamal, Amaney (2007). Barriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Lacroix, Stephane (2011). Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia, Harvard University Press.

Lefevre, Raphael (2013). Ashes of Hama. The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lister, Charles (2016). The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Louer, Laurence (2012). Transnational Shia Politics. Religious and Political Networks in the Gulf. London: Hurst.

Mahmood, Saba (2004). Politics of Piety: Islamic revival and the feminist subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press.    

Masoud, Tarek (2014). Counting Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Matthiesen, Toby (2013). Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Spring that wasn’t. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Matthiesen, Toby (2014). The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Menoret, Pascal (2005). The Saudi Enigma. London: Zed Books.

Mouline, Nabil (2014). The Clerics of Islam: Religious Authority and Political Power in Saudi Arabia. Yale University Press.

Ould Mohamedou, Mohammed-Mahmoud (2017). A Theory of ISIS. Political Violence and the Transformation of the Global Order, London: Pluto Press.

Owen, Roger (2012). The Rise And Fall Of Arab Presidents For Life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Phillips, Christopher (2016). The Battle for Syria. International Rivalry in the New Middle East, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Pierret, Thomas (2013). Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Potter, Lawrence G. ed. (2014). Sectarian Politics in the Gulf. London: Hurst & Co.

Rabil, Robert (2011). Religion, National Identity, and Confessional Politics in Lebanon, London: Palgrave.

Rabil Robert (2014). Salafism in Lebanon. From Apoliticism to Transnational Jihadism. Washington: Georgetown University Press.

Rosefsky-Wickham, Carrie (2013) The Muslim Brotherhood. Evolution of an Islamist movement, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Ross, Michael (2012). The oil curse: how petroleum wealth shapes the development of nations. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Rougier, Bernard (2007). Everyday Jihad. The rise of militant Islam among Palestinians in Lebanon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rougier, Bernard. (2015). The Sunni Tragedy in the Middle East. Northern Lebanon from Al-Qaida to ISIS. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Salloukh, Bassel et al. (2015). The Politics of Sectarianism in Postwar Lebanon. London: Pluto Press.

Selime, Zakia (2011). Between Feminism and Islam: Human rights and shari’a law in Morocco. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

(eds.) Seikaly, May. Mattar Khawla (2014). The Silent Revolution. The Arab Spring and the Gulf States, Gerlach Press.

Shaery-Eisenlohr, Roschanak (2008), Shi’ite Lebanon. Transnational Religion and the making of national identities, Columbia: CUP.

Shehata, Dina (2010). Islamists and Secularists in Egypt. Opposition, conflict and cooperation. London : Routledge.

Storm, Lise (2013). Party politics and the prospects for democracy in North Africa. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

Volpi Frederic (2010). Political Islam: A critical reader. London: Routledge.

Volpi Frederic (2010). Political Islam Observed: Disciplinary Perspectives. New York - Chichester: Columbia University Press.

Wagemakers, Joas (2016). Salafism in Jordan: political Islam in a quietist community. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wehrey Frederic (2014). Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings, Columbia University Press.

Wiktorowicz, Quintan (2004).  Islamic Activism. A Social Movement Theory, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2004

Yom, Sean (2015), From resilience to revolution, New York: Columbia University Press.

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