Quinn Mecham

Visiting Research Associate


Quinn Mecham (Ph.D. Stanford, 2006) teaches courses on Comparative Politics, Middle Eastern Politics, Civil Conflict, and Political Islam.  His primary research focuses on Islamic movements and the strategies and behavior of Islamist political parties. Additionally, he has written on sectarian violence, civil conflict, authoritarianism, and state failure.  He has done field research in Turkey (Fulbright, 2001-2002), Morocco, Senegal, France, Egypt, Indonesia, among other countries.  He was an Academy Scholar at Harvard University (2007-08), a visiting scholar at George Washington University (2009-10), and a member of the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State (2009-10), focusing on the Arab Gulf, political Islam, and global religious affairs.  He is the author of From the Sacred to the State: Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization (under review), and the co-editor of a volume on Islamist political parties in Asia and the Middle East.  In addition, he has written articles for Third World Quarterly, Middle Eastern Studies, MIT Center for International Studies, Project on Middle East Democracy, among many others.     



Course List: 

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

FYSE 1228 - World of Winston Churchill      

World of Winston Churchill
In this course we will examine the making of the modern world through the life of Winston Churchill, one of the architects of Post-WWII Europe and the contemporary Middle East. As a parliamentarian, champion of the British Empire, war-time leader, international negotiator, and unparalleled orator, Churchill’s impact is extraordinary. Major course themes will include British parliamentary life, colonial empire, World War I, state formation in the Middle East, the rise of Nazism, World War II, the United Nations, and the early Cold War. Course materials will include historical and political analysis, as well as Churchill’s speeches and film screenings. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR HIS SOC

Fall 2011

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INTL 0706 - MES Senior Thesis      

African Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2012, Fall 2012

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IPEC 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2012

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

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2012

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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 SOC

Fall 2011

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PSCI 0378 - Civil Conflict Afr/Mid East      

Civil Conflict in Africa and the Middle East
In this course we will examine the sources of civil conflict by investigating prominent cases of civil conflict and civil war in Africa and the Middle East, broadly defined. Major theories of political and ethnic conflict are introduced and applied to specific cases, including South Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Students will have the opportunity to make arguments about the causes and solutions to violent conflict, as well as individually examine a case study of their choice in the region. (PSCI 0103) 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Comparative Politics)/ AAL

Spring 2012

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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

Spring 2012

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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 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012

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PSCI 0700 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
(Approval required)

Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012

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Book-length projects

From the Sacred to the State: Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization (under review, Cambridge University Press)

Playing by the Rules: Islamist Parties in the Middle East and Asia, co-edited with Julie Chernov Hwang (under review, University of Pennsylvania Press)


Selected Publications

"The Rise of Islamist Actors: Formulating a Strategy for Sustained Engagement," Project on Middle East Democracy (April 2012)

"Erbakan's Unintended Legacy," Foreign Policy (March 2011)

Review of Mahmood Monshipouri, Muslims in Global Politics: Identities, Interests, and Human Rights, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Summer 2012).

"Islamist Movements and the Arab Uprisings: From Popular Protest to Electoral Success," in Marc Lynch and Lisa Anderson, eds., Perspectives on the Arab Uprisings (tentative title), Columbia University Press (under review)

"Democratic Ideology in Islamist Opposition? The Muslim Brotherhood's 'Civil State' (with Chris Harnisch), Middle Eastern Studies (March 2009)

"Why Do Islamist Groups Become Transnational and Violent?", MIT Center for International Studies, 06-11 (August 2006)

"From the Ashes of Virtue, A Promise of Light:  The Transformation of Political Islam in Turkey", Third World Quarterly (April 2004)

Working Papers

"Leadership Strategies Under Duress: Governmental Responses to Popular Uprisings in the Arab World"

"State vs. Government in Turkey: How Islam has Framed the Contest Between Elected and Unelected Officials"

"Institutional Incentives and the Electoral Success of Islamist Parties: Explaining the Divergent Trajectories of the PKS in Indonesia and the AKP in Turkey (with Julie Chernov Hwang)

"From Islamist Movement to Islamist Party: Why Islamist Leaders Form Political Parties"

"Parliamentary Opposition Under Egyptian Authoritarianism: The Legislative Impact of the Muslim Brotherhood," (with Bryce Loidolt)

"Public Feedback in Authoritarian Regimes: When do Arab Gulf Monarchs Consult with their Citizens?" (with Abraham Katz)

"Sources and Evolution of Sectarian Conflict in Iraq," (with Sara Lowes)

Research  Interests

Civil Conflict
Comparative Politics
Democratic Development/Rule of Law
Political Islam
Religion and Politics

Program in International and Global Studies

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