Middle Eastern Politics

Throughout the semester, we have covered multiple facets of Middle Eastern politics, from historical legacies of colonialism, religion, security apparatuses, natural resources, identities and rivalries,…

Throughout the semester, we have covered multiple facets of Middle Eastern politics, from historical legacies of colonialism, religion, security apparatuses, natural resources, identities and rivalries, gender relations, and the causes and consequences of the Arab Spring. To a large extent, these topics have all touched on the push and pull of authoritarianism and democracy, as well as the possible barriers to democratization. In 8-10 pages, write a response to the following prompt:
Scholars often surmise that there is something “unique” about the resilience of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East that has prevented democracy from taking hold. What are the primary causes of this authoritarian resilience in the region and how exactly do they hinder democratization? What if any practical solutions exist to better facilitate democratization in the region?
In your response, you must do the following:
1. Use supporting evidence from at least 3 weeks of readings. You should cite at least 10 unique sources (chapters, articles, documentaries, etc.) and you should provide at least 10 in-text citations. Please refer to this link for my expectations concerning how to do in-text citations. You may use outside resources in addition to these requirements, but they will not act as a substitute for them. The sources should be credible. Please use these guidelines for determining source credibility.
2. You must include a sources cited page, which does not count toward the 8-10-page requirement. Please refer to this link for my expectations on the formatting.
3. The paper must be formatted as follows: 12-point, Times New Roman font, 1-inch page margins, and double-spaced. Do not format the first page of the paper like this. I don’t need all of that extra information at the top. Simply write your first and last name in the header by double clicking the top of the page in Microsoft Word.
4. Please do not provide unsubstantiated opinions or mere speculation. This is an evidence-based paper. The goal is for you to show me what you have learned in the course and apply this knowledge to the construction of an argument.
5. Focus on making your argument compelling.
6. Your paper should be organized as follows: introduction (the basic argument you are making and the summary of what to expect in the paper), define and describe phenomenon 1 and how and why it hinders democracy (define and describe phenomenon 2 and how and why it hinders democracy, define and describe phenomenon 3…), summary of these phenomena, evaluation of how these phenomena can be overcome with practical solutions (or if they cannot, explain why in detail using evidence from the course), and summary of the paper (1 paragraph).
7. Be specific and don’t be vague. Being vague and inexact signals that you do not understand what you have covered or that you have rushed through the assignment, both of which will cost you points. Expectations and tips for not being vague can be found here. I highly suggest at least skimming these points before turning in your assignment.
8. Do not turn in a first draft. This should be a polished, revised version of the original.
9. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. This includes not using quotations when the sentence or phrase is lifted directly from a source, copying your peers, and replacing a few words of a source to make it a bit different but not attributing ownership of the idea to its original source. It is possible to plagiarize yourself (turning in previous parts of work). If you do this, you will fail the course. Please refer to the university policies on plagiarism. Refer to this source for tips on how to avoid plagiarism. If you plagiarize in your paper, you will fail the course.
10. Use quotations from sources sparingly. I don’t want a substantial amount of your paper being quotes. Learn how to paraphrase. If you paraphrase, cite the source with an in-text citation (just because you didn’t use exact words, they need to be attributed to the original source because they were not your own thoughts). Definitely do not quote an entire paragraph.
11. Finally, I don’t want to read papers premised on the stereotype that there is no democracy because Islam is a “violent religion.” This argument is not credible, steeped in Orientalism, and is a lazy way to approach a complex issue like democratization. It’s also a tired, boring argument. This is not to say you can’t refer to religion at all in your paper. It’s a relevant point, particularly the desire of citizens in MENA for religion to be involved in democracy somehow. I just don’t want to read essentialist arguments steeped in unverifiable stereotypes unrelated to the course content.
These are all tips and tricks designed to set you up for the highest possible grade. Don’t lose easy points! I look forward to reading your papers.


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