Political Science 4333: Islam and Democracy
Professor Roy Edward Casagranda

In Memory of Edward Said (November 1, 1935 - Septermber 25, 2003)

To Achmad Sukarno, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Mohammad Mosaddeq, Jamal Abdel Nasser, Ahmed Ben Bella, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabbaz, and Naji Al-Ali

Fall 2003
Section: 12175
TTh 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Room: 138-SR
Office: PGH 395
Phone: 281-357-3741 or 713-743-3934
Email: Roy.Casagranda@mail.uh.edu
Office Hours: Tuesday 2:30-3:30
Syllabus: http://www.casagranda.com/POLS4333.html (case sensitive)
Class listserv: groups.yahoo.com/group/POLS4333
Orwell’s Essay: “Politics and the English Language” www.casagranda.com/orwellpolitics.html

But the state lies in all the tongues of good and evil;
 and whatever it says it lies; and whatever it has it has stolen.
  Everything in it is false; it bites with stolen teeth, and bites often.
 It is false down to its bowels.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Naji Al-Ali cartoon of murdered Palestinian girl grasping for stone in her death
Cartoon by Naji Al-Ali, 1936-1987

    This is a senior level undergraduate lecture on Islam and Democracy.  
    Be warned that the core question that the title of the course implies is impossible to asnwer.  It is impossible for two reasons.  First, the question itself is most certainly incorrectly stated.  If the question is in error, then one can only imagine the condition of the answer.  This is especially true since one is tempted to answer "yes" or "no."  Any social science question that begs a binary answer is almost certainly flawed.  
    The second reason is that in order to answer the question (assume, for the sake of addressing this second flaw that the implied question of the class is not fundamentally flawed to its very core) we would have to know what Islam and democracy are.  And perhaps even more daunting we would probably also have to know Arab history, Islamic history, recent global history, democratic theory, democratization, the democgraphics of the Muslim world, Arab culture, Islamic culture, democratic culture, a large amount of economics, some psychology, and even the history of petroleum.  This probably an impossible undertaking for a life time.  To do this in the brief period of a semester will require a very modest approximation.  And considering the uniqueness of the subject (especially from a propaganda standpoint) I cannot assume that anybody knows anything.  As a result an attempt must be made to cover everything.
    As Carlos Casteñeda would put it we are going to undertake in an "intentional folly."
    The aim of all my classes are never merely to acquire theoretical and factual data.  Rather the primary goal is always to make the classroom as much a part of the vita activa (a la Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition) as is possible.

Class Attendance: You will be expected to participate actively and regularly.  I reserve the right drop anyone who has missed three class sessions or more at my discretion.

For although all through their history they [Arabs] have shown a tendency to anarchy,
they willingly accord their allegiance to a man whom they consider to be worthy to rule.
Lieutenant-General Sir John Baggot Glubb Basha

Readings: You will need to read the books listed on the syllabus and posssibly outside texts in preparation for every class session.  The lectures will not necessarily be about the readings, however, questions regarding the readings should still be asked during the lecture.  You will be responsible for all material assigned and discussed in class even if you are not present for such discussions or it is not on the syllabus; even people with excused absences are still responsible for any missed material.  Get notes from one another.  Please note that 20% of your fiinal grade is based on classroom participation. 

Part 1 History, Culture, and Religion
Hourani, Albert | A History of the Arab Peoples: Second Edition | Belknap Press/0674010175
Ruthven, Malise | Islam: A Very Short Introduction | Oxford University Press/0192853899
Mernissi, Fatima | Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World | Perseus Publishing/0738207454
Part 2 Deconstructing the Image of Islam
Said, Edward | Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World | Vintage Books/0679758909
Said, Edward | Orientalism | Random House Trade Paperbacks/039474067X
Finkelstein, Norman | Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict | Verso Books; 2nd edition/1859843395
Part 3 Democracy and Democratization

Crick, Bernard | Democracy: A Very Short Introduction | Oxford University Press/019280250X
Schmitter, Philippe and Guillermo O'Donnell | Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions About Uncertain Democracies | Johns Hopkins Univ Pr/0801826829
Part 4 Two Case Studies
Forough Jahanbakhsh | Islam, Democracy and Religious Modernism in Iran, 1953-2000: From Bazargan to Soroush (Social, Economic, and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia, Vol 77) | Brill Academic Publishers/09004119825
Ibrahim, Saad Eddin | Egypt, Islam and Democracy: Critical Essays | Amer Univ in Cairo Pr/9774246640

The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty
 and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.

Malcom X


Over the course of the semester you will be required to write 3 three-page essays, pass a test on Islamic geography and some Islamic demographics, and write an original research paper of twelve to eighteen pages.  Plan on turning everything in on time; I will accept no late papers.

Three-page Papers: The 3 three-page papers will concern an essential concept or basic theoretical issue relating to the class.  You will be expected to address fundamental theoretical issues, not merely technical questions.  You will likely have to read unassigned material relating to the subject.  Papers should be edited for grammar, punctuation, consistency of thought, theoretical soundness, and spelling.  Do not let the length of these papers confuse you.  These papers should be treated with professional and academic care.  Note: the three-page papers are not summaries!  Do not summarize!  Reading comprehension is a given at the senior level; these papers must transcend the obvious.  They need to tackle the substance of issues.  Take risks and be innovative.

Geography and Demographics Test: You will be required to learn the names and locations of all the Muslim nation-states and learn some essential demographic elements of such nation-states.

Research Paper: The coupe de main of the course will be a 12 to 18 page research paper.  You should start thinking about your area of research from the first day of class.  You may choose to do either a case study or a comparative study. 

A case study analyzes a specific instance of whatever your research theme is.  For example if you wanted to research a Islamic theocracy and democratization you might look at Iran since the revolution.  

A comparative study is just that.  It compares several cases in order to discover a pattern.  For example lets say you wanted to look at the relationship between Arab flags and democratization.  First, you would need to hypothesize that some characteristic found in some Arab flags had some effect on that sate's democratic nature.  Next you would need to find some way to measure democracy in each Arab state.  Then you would have to create a data set that compared the flag data with the degree of democratization across nations.  And finally, you would draw your conclusions based on your results.  Note: this is not a completely unreasonable study, but probably because it is a proxy for measuring something else.  Also you would probably have to control for several factors such as flag changes over the years.  Also note that your research may discover that there is no pattern; this is a valid research outcome.

To begin either type of paper you must first find a suitable topic area that gets my approval.  I want you to start thinking about what you want to research as of yesterday.  The longer you put it off the less likely you are to complete the assignment with the degree of quality required of it.  After you have a suitable topic you will need to develop a hypothesis (if you have not already done so), a list of your assumptions, a methodology for testing your hypothesis, a means for collecting data, and a conclusion that describes your results.  All of this must be in your paper.  Note: a very valid conclusion to any science research is that your hypothesis was wrong.  

You are to turn in your topic area for approval by September 25 (1 point).  Keep in mind that this is a political science class.  Keep asking yourself, “what is the political science question that I am trying to answer.”  You must submit an outline or rough draft of your paper by October 16 (3 points).  A first draft is due November 4 (5 points).  The Final draft is due on December 16, no later than 2:00 PM (36 points).

Your final draft will need to be turned into me, in hard copy and soft copy; I must receive both the hard copy and the soft copy by 2:00 PM December 16.  Since email is not always delivered in a timely fashion I receommend emailing me your soft copy no later than the 15th of December.  You must turn in your hard copy to PGH 447 (the political science office) no later than 2:00 PM December 16, 2003, where they will stamp the time it was received on your paper.  Since you will have 12 days from the last class until you have to turn the Research paper no excuse will be accepted for late papers.

I am going to publish your final papers on http://www.casagranda.com/POLS4333.html under your name.  In the event your paper is accepted for publication by a journal or publisher you will need to send me proof of acceptance before I will remove your paper from http://www.casagranda.com/POLS4333.html.  In other words I will retain the copyright for your paper until you get it published elsewhere.  Should you chose to publish with SOMA (Student Organization for Media Accuracy) your work will be on both sites.  By turning in a final draft of your research paper you are agreeing to the above terms.  

You are also encouraged to chose at least two reliable  (e.g. The Guardian, Reuters, The Independent) and two main stream media sources (e.g. New York Times, ABC, CNN).  Use these sources follow coverage of your research topic.  This is not merely in order to keep up with current events.  You should also be looking for news media bias, propaganda, ommission, and lies.

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill

Tentative Reading Schedule

August 26: Introduction
History, Culture, and Religion
August 28, September 2, & 4: Hourani
September 9 & 11: Ruthven
September 16, 18, & 23: Mernissi
September 25: First three-page paper due
                    Research Topic due

Deconstructing the Image of Islam
September 25, 30, & October 2: Said
October 2: Geography Test
October 7, 9, 14, & 16: Said
October 16: Research Outline or Rough draft due
October 21 & 23: Finkelstein
October 23: Second three-page paper due

Democracy and Democratization
October 28 & 30: Crick
November 4: Research Paper First Draft due 
November 4 & 6: Schmitter
November 11: Third three-page paper due

Case Studies
November 11, 13, & 18: Jahanbakhsh
November 20, 25, & December 2: Ibrahim
November 27: Thanksgiving
December 4: The Future
December 16, 2:00 PM: Final Draft of Research Paper is Due in both hard and soft copy (hard copies maybe turned it into the political science office room PGH 447)

Who controls the past controls the future:
who controls the present controls the past.
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

Final Grade Formula

The final grade will be calculated as a sum of the following components. Each component will receive a simple percentage, which will then be multiplied by the points it is worth.

1st Three-Page Paper          5
2nd Three-Page Paper       10
3rd Three-Page Paper        15
Map quiz                             5
Research Paper                  45
Participation/Improvement  20

Total                                100

For example a person getting 80% on the Research Paper assignment will get 36 points towrad her or his final grade. A person getting an 70% on the first three-page essay will receive 3.5 points toward her or his final grade.  

Iranian Democracy Films:
1953 Coup (Moe)
18 Tir (Jamshir Jam)
Ahanabad (Hatef)
Khiaabaan-e Khaab-haa (Alireza Assar)

Academic Dishonesty: Work tainted by dishonesty has no academic value.  University Rules and Regulations define academic dishonesty as the following acts among others: cheating; knowingly assisting another student to cheat; plagiarism; and unauthorized possession of examinations.  Any act of academic dishonesty will automatically result in a grade of "zero" for affected work. In addition, any act of academic dishonesty will be referred to University authorities for disciplinary action where harsher penalties are likely to be mediated out.  Plagiarism is a serious offense.  So far I have pursued every case of plagiarism committed in my classes.  In every case the result was that the guilty student was dropped from my class with an "F."  However, harsher penalties such as probation, suspension, and expulsion can also be meted out by the department and the university.

"Plagiarism is the unacknowledged borrowing of information, wording, organization, or ideas. Whether the original source is public (e.g., a newspaper or critical article) or private (e.g., a classmate's paper), you need to indicate your indebtedness in any of the above areas. Where you repeat the exact language of your source, you must treat the borrowed material as a quotation and place it within quotation marks. However, by merely changing a few words or the word order or by paraphrasing, you do not avoid plagiarism. In all cases, you should cite your sources (using any recognized format, including APA). There is nothing wrong in acknowledging an intellectual debt to someone."  In fact a good quotation will strengthen your argument, show your knowledge of the literature, and help you avoid reinventing the wheel every time you write something academic.  "Your reader is only concerned that you have something new to say about the material which you have used, that it contributed in some way to the development of your ideas in your writing. To assemble material without developing it in any way is a waste of your time and the reader's. The danger of plagiarism is not the pain of discovery, for which the penalty is sure, but the delusion of accomplishment where there has been none."
--From handout by Department of English, Trenton State College (copied from J. D. Yoder website)

Recommended Reading: 
El Saadawi, Nawal | Woman at Point Zero | Zed Books/0862321107
Glubb, John | A Short History of the Arab People | Scarborough House/0812813510
Ghabdian, Najib, Michael W. Suleiman (Editor),  John P. Entelis (Editor) | Democratization and the Islamist Challenge in the Arab World (State, Culture & Society in Arab North Africa) | Westview Press/0813327849
Gill, Graeme | The Dynamics of Democratization: Elites, Civil Society and the Transition Process | Palgrave Macmillan/0312231725
Arendt, Hannah | The Human Condition | University of Chicago Press/0226025985
Rampton, Sheldon and John C. Stauber | Weapons of Mass Deception | J. P. Tarcher/1585422762
Dye, Thomas | Irony of Democracy | Wadsworth Publishing/0155061216
Uhlin, Anders | Indonesia and the "Third Wave Democratization": The Indonesian Pro-Democracy Movement in a Changing World | Palgrave Macmillan/0312173830
Abrahamian, Ervand | Iran Between Two Revolutions | Princeton Univ Pr/0691101345
Herman, Edward and Noam Chomsky | Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media | Pantheon Books; (January 15, 2002)/0375714499
Parenti, Michael | Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media | Bedford/St. Martin's; 2nd edition/0312020139
Iraq and Kuwait: A History Suppressed by Ralph Schoenman
9-11 by Noam Chomsky
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth about Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters by Greg Palast
Democracy for the Few by Michael Parenti
Media Power in Politics by Doris A. Graber (Editor)
Taken by Storm: The Media, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Gulf War (American Politics and Political Economy Series) by W. Lance Bennett (Editor), David L. Paletz (Editor)
The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering by Norman G. Finkelstein
Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (South End Press Classics Series) by Naom Chomsky, Edward W. Said
Acts of Aggression: Policing Rogue States (Open Media Series) by Noam Chomsky, Edward W. Said (Contributor)
Our Media, Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media (Open Media Series) by Robert W. McChesney, John Nichols, Barbara Ehrenreich 
1984 by George Orwell