• Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies, International Relations, Political Sciences
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof James Piscatori
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

This course examines in detail the debates over the democratisation of Muslim societies. It begins by an examination of modern Islamic thought and considers diverse views of the state, authority, pluralism, and citizenship. It assesses the importance of political culture and structural factors to the emergence of democracy. In doing so, it critically examines essentialist and exceptionalist assumptions about Middle Eastern and Muslim societies, the role of elections, the position of Islamist movements, the constraints on democratic consolidation, and the possibilities of ‘exporting' democracy.  While the course is organised thematically, examples are drawn from a number of specific cases and democratic theory is invoked in order to relate the specificity of Muslim societies to broader debates. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

To understand the diverse normative positions on democracy and political authority in contemporary Muslim societies; to assess the importance of elections in the Middle East as a marker of political liberalisation; to assess whether democratization can be assisted by external intervention; to evaluate the academic controversies on the subject.

Indicative Assessment

1 x 4,000 - 5,000 word essay = 50%

1 in-class oral presentation = 10%

1 x 3 hr examination to be held in exam period at end of semester = 40%

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One two-hour seminar per week for 11 weeks.  Regular attendance is compulsory.

Preliminary Reading

John L. Esposito and John O. Voll, Islam and Democracy.  New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Larry Diamon, Marc F. Plattner, and Daniel Brumberg, Islam and Democracy in the Middle East.  Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.  



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3252
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4638
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9855 18 Jul 2016 29 Jul 2016 31 Aug 2016 28 Oct 2016 In Person N/A

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