Introduction to Middle East Politics

POLS 3328

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Tweets and texts earlier this year caused political science Assistant Professor Brent Sasley to change the course syllabus. Introduction to Middle East Politics now includes 2011’s political uprisings and revolutions known as the Arab Spring. “People who study the region closely said something would happen. The regimes, the governments, couldn’t hold on,” Dr. Sasley says. “When the economy was OK, the people could tolerate it. But a large number of young people are without jobs. These young people are better informed, they knew their rights, and they knew how to organize.” Sasley calls the events part of a communications revolution. Social networking has been cited for the instantaneous information during the uprisings. “People were not secretly plotting. Mostly, it was spontaneous, a groundswell bubbling up.” Cultural differences and misconceptions make it hard for many Americans to understand how Middle East politics differs from politics in the West. “We have this idea that if we just keep talking, we can solve the problem,” Sasley says. “That just doesn’t happen in the Middle East.”

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