COVID-19: Essential Information

Sebnem Gumuscu

Assistant Professor of Political Science

 work(802) 443-5393
  VIA ZOOM Tuesday 1:00 - 2:00, Thursday 9:00 - 11:00 and by appt.
 Robert A. Jones '59 House 107

Sebnem Gumuscu joined the Political Science Department in Summer 2014.

Her current project focuses on Islamist parties and their democratic commitments in power. Relying on extensive fieldwork in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia, she unpacks intra-party dynamics to explain divergent trajectories of Islamist governments.

Her first book, co-authored with E. Fuat Keyman, titled Democracy, Identity, and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Hegemony through Transformation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), examines Turkey’s transformation under the Justice and Development Party since 2002 within the broader context of Turkish modernization.

Her research interests include political Islam, dominant parties, democratization and democratic erosion, Middle Eastern and North African politics. Her articles appeared in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Democracy, Government and Opposition, Third World Quarterly, South European Society and Politics, and Middle Eastern Studies.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1544 - How Democracies Die      

How Democracies Die
Is democracy in a global crisis? Why do people from the Americas to Asia support autocratic leaders? Is there a trade-off between rights and popular will? In this course we will discuss these questions and explore how and why democracies die. We will study and compare global trends as well as individual cases to unpack the economic, social, and political sources of democratic decline. Our sources will include global democracy and freedom indices, cross-country surveys, Y. Mounk’s The People vs Democracy, S. Levitsky and D. Zibblatt’s How Democracies Die, and a selection of recently published articles on the topic. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2019

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IGST 0427 / PSCI 0427 - How Democracies Die      

How Democracies Die
After years of expansion since the end of the cold war, democracy now is in retreat. From young democracies in the developing world to bastions of liberal democracy in Western Europe and North America, democratic political systems are under mounting pressure. What are the fundamental features of this recession? What are the driving forces behind global democratic backsliding? Why do people support autocrats? In this course we will tackle these questions and discuss an array of factors that contribute to global democratic recession including the role of the political elite, failing institutions, eroding norms, and the role of ordinary people. In so doing we will delve deeper into economic and social causes of this decline. Our focus will span from global trends to individual cases such as Venezuela, Turkey, Hungary, India, the United States, and the Philippines. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1544) 3 hrs. Sem. CMP SOC

Fall 2020

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IGST 0700 - Senior Work      

Senior Work
(Approval Required)

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

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IGST 0706 - MES Senior Thesis      

Middle East Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

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IPEC 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2020

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IPEC 0700 - Intl.Pol.&Economics SR. Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

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PSCI 0103 - Intro to Comparative Politics      

Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course offers an introduction to the comparative study of political systems and to the logic of comparative inquiry. How are different political systems created and organized? How and why do they change? Why are some democratic and others authoritarian? Why are some rich and others poor? Other topics covered in this course include nationalism and political ideologies, forms of representation, the relationship between state institutions and civil society, and globalization. The goal in this course is to use comparative methods to analyze questions of state institutions -- how they arise, change, and generate different economic, social, and political outcomes. 3 hrs. lect. disc. (Comparative Politics)/ CMP SOC

Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2020, Fall 2020

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PSCI 0217 - Politics of M. East & N.Africa      

Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
This course is an introduction to important themes, concepts, and cases in the study of Middle Eastern and North African politics. We will examine key political issues in the region, focusing primarily on developments since World War II and issues of relevance to the region today. For the purposes of this course, the region is defined as the countries of the Arab world, Israel, Turkey, and Iran. The first half of the course introduces major themes in Middle Eastern politics. These include state development, nationalism, revolution, authoritarian rule, the petro-state, the Arab-Israeli conflict, conflicts in the Persian Gulf, civil conflict, the rise of Islamism, and attempts at liberal reform. The second half of the course examines how these themes have affected political development in a number of key cases. Primary cases include Egypt, Israel, Iran, Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Students will have the opportunity to individually assess other countries of personal interest in the region. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Comparative Politics)/ AAL MDE SOC

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019

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PSCI 0222 - Political Economy Middle East      

Political Economy of the Middle East
In this course we will study the political economy of the Middle East. More specifically, we will examine the regional mechanisms of production/distribution of resources as well as their political consequences. Questions to be addressed include: What are the causes of economic development and underdevelopment in the region? What is the role of the state, social classes, religion, and factor endowments in regional development? What are the political ramifications of the resource curse? Main themes of the course include state-business relations and crony capitalism, the military-industrial complex, rentier states, human development, unemployment and inequality in the context of the Middle East. 3 hrs. lect. (Comparative Politics)/ AAL MDE SOC

Spring 2018

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PSCI 0349 - Intl Politics of Middle East      

International Politics of the Middle East
In this course we will study the evolution of the inter-state system in the Middle East. Using contemporary International Relations (IR) theories we will examine the influence of great powers, regional states, transnational movements, and regional organizations on state interests, ideology, religion, and the region's political economy. Questions to be addressed will include: which levels of analyses are most helpful in understanding the complexity of Middle East politics? Which of the IR theories--realist, liberal, or constructivist-- best explain inter-state relations in the region? What other approaches may be useful in this endeavor? 3 hrs. sem. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/ AAL MDE SOC

Spring 2017

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PSCI 0438 - Political Islam      

Political Islam
In this course we will survey the central questions in studies of political Islam, focusing on the emergence of Islam as a political force in the contemporary period. Discussion will center on the following core topics: (1) the nature of political Islam and Islamic interests; (2) how Islamic political movements develop; (3) why Islamic political movements flourish or fail; (4) how Islamic interests are expressed in the political arena; and (5) what types of political systems are most compatible with politicized Islam? These questions will be addressed by looking at the general history of the contemporary Islamic resurgence and by examining case studies on Egypt, Algeria, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. 3 hrs. sem. (Comparative Politics)/ AAL MDE

Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2020

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PSCI 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Projects
A program of independent work designed to meet the individual needs of advanced students. (Approval required)

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

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PSCI 0700 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
(Approval required)

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

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PSCI 1041 - Contemp. Conflicts in the ME      

Contemporary Conflicts in the Middle East
The Middle East is known to be one of the most conflict-ridden regions of the world. In this course we explore the contemporary conflicts in the region and the basic motivation of major actors. Specifically, we will study the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the war in Syria and Yemen. We will study the causes and consequences of these conflicts at the regional and global level. (International Relations and Foreign Policy) AAL MDE SOC WTR

Winter 2021

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Program in International and Global Studies

Robert A. Jones '59 House
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753