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POL201: The Politics of Yemen

Dr. Gamal Gasim 

15 June – 13 July 2014

Itty Bitty Gamal Gasim


Gamal Gasim, assistant professor of Middle East Studies and Political Science at Grand Valley State University, earned his PhD in political science from Texas Tech.  He teaches Introduction to Middle East Studies, Middle East politics, and comparative politics.  He is also designing a new course on Arab and Muslim Americans.  Before Grand Valley, he taught at Texas Tech, University of Wisconsin-Madison during the summers of 2006 and 2007, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Beloit College during the summers of 2008 and 2009 respectively.  His research interests include comparative politics, Middle East politics, Islamic civilization, Islamic political parties and Muslim Americans.  A copy of Dr. Gasim's C.V. is available here

Course Description: 

This course is a survey of Yemeni politics since the turn of the 20th century.  As such, this course is designed to cover a wide array of issues that include such areas as the history of the Imamate in North Yemen, the colonial legacies of the British rule in the south, the process of modernization and its challenges, the unification of 1990 with its short-lived democratic transition, and the relationship between the state and society.  This course will also address the current Yemeni uprising and the prospects of reinforcing state institutions and the rule of law in the light of increased national and regional security challenges.  This course will also include some cultural excursions to historical sites within Sana'a city.  Details of such visits will be given during the semester as well as the biographies of invited guest speakers.  

Requirements:

No prior knowledge of Yemeni politics is required for this short, intense course, but its participants will have some quick catching up to do. Students are expected to attend all in-class seminars and to be prepared to discuss the assigned topics and readings, and will be assessed on preparation, participation, essays, and a final exam.

Required Readings:

  • Paul Dresch. A History of Modern Yemen. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2000.
  • Lisa Wedeen. Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen. Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press. 2008. 
  • Sheila Carapico. Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia. Cambridge Middle East Studies. 1998. 
  • Gregory Johnsen. The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and American's War in Arabia. (NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2012).
  • Additional articles to be assigned in class.

Reading Schedule:

I. The Rise of Modern State in Yemen

Date: June 15, 2014

Readings: Dresch, Paul. A History of Modern Yemen. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2000.  Chapters 1-3

II. The Rise of Modern State in Yemen II

Map Quiz June 17, 2014

Date: June 17, 2014

Readings: Dresch, Paul. A History of Modern Yemen. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2000.  Chapters 4-5

III. State and Society in Yemen I

Date: June 19, 2014

Readings: Lisa Wedeen. Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2008. Chapters: 1-2

IV. State and Society in Yemen II

Date: June 22, 2014

Readings: Lisa Wedeen. Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2008. Chapters: 3-5

V. The Unification and Yemen’s Democratic Transition

Date: June 24, 2014 

Readings: Sheila Carapico. Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia. Cambridge Middle East Studies.1998. Chapters 6-8.

Mid-Term Exam I: June 26, 2014

VI. Political Parties

Date June 29, 2014Readings: Carapico, Sheila. “How Yemen’s Ruling Party Secured an Electoral Landslide,” MERIP. May 16, 2003. http://www.merip.org/mero/mero051603Browers, Michaelle. “ORIGINS AND ARCHITECTS OF YEMEN’S JOINT MEETING PARTIES,” Int. J. Middle East Stud. 39 (2007), 565–586.

VII. National Economy and Economic Challenges

Date: July 1, 2014

Readings: Schmitz, Charles. “Crisis in the Yemeni Economy: a Troubled Transition to Post-Hydrocarbon Growth,” Middle East Institute, Scholarly Policy Paper, Dec 2011.  http://www.mei.edu/content/crisis-yemeni-economy-troubled-transition-post-hydrocarbon-growth

VIII. Gender and Women Issues

Date: July 3, 2014

Readings: Yadav, Stacey Philbrick. “Segmented Publics and Islamist Women in Yemen: Rethinking Space and Activism,” Journal of Middle East Women's Studies Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring 2010). Badran, Margot. “Unifying Women: Feminist Pasts and Presents in Yemen,” Gender and History, Vol. 10 No. 3, November 1998, pp., 498-518.

IX. Civil Wars and Conflicts

Date: July 6, 2014

Readings: Gregory Johnsen. The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia. (NY: W.W. Norton & Company, INC, 2012.). Part I

X. The Yemeni Uprising

Date: July 8, 2014

Readings: Gasim, Gamal. 2014. Explaining Political Activism Before and During Yemeni Spring. In co- edited by Lina Khatib (Stanford University) and Ellen Lust (Yale University) (Ed.), Taking to the Streets: Activism, Arab Uprisings, and Democratization. Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 109-35.

XI. Regional and International Security Challenges

Date:  July 10, 2014

Readings: Gregory Johnsen. The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia. (NY: W.W. Norton & Company, INC, 2012.). Parts II & III

Recommended Readings:

  • Burrowes, Robert. “Political Adjustment and Socioeconomic Development Under al-Hamdi: 1974-1976” and “Domestic Stalemate and Fast-evolving External Politics: 1975-1977,” in The Yemen Arab Republic: The Politics of Development. Boulder, CO: Westview Press..
  • Dresch, Paul.  Imams and Tribes: The Writing and Acting of History in Upper Yemen, in.
  • Fain, Taylor, W. 'Unfortunate Arabia': The United States, Great Britain and Yemen, 1955-63, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Vol.12, No.2 (June 2001), pp.125-152
  • Ferris, Jesse, “Soviet Support for Egypt’s Intervention in Yemen, 1962–1963,” Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4, Fall 2008, pp. 5–36
  • Halliday, Fred.  “Development of Foreign Policy: through the first decade,” and “The Yemeni Socialist Party: ‘normalization’ and factional conflict,” in Revolution and Foreign Policy: The Case of South Yemen 1967-1987,  New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
  • M. S. El Azhary (1984): Aspects of North Yemen's relations with Saudi Arabia, Asian Affairs, 15:3, 277-286
  • Weir, Shelagh. (2007) Tribal Order. Austin: University of Texas Press. “Social and Political Inequality,” pp. 37-65
  • Willis, John M. “Making Yemen Indian: Rewriting the Boundaries of Imperial Arabia,” Int. J. Middle East Stud. 41 (2009), 23–38.
  • Witty, David, M. A Regular Army in Counterinsurgency Operations: Egypt in North Yemen, 1962- 1967,” The Journal of Military History, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 401-439 
  • Elie, Serge.  State-Community Relations in Yemen: Soqotra’s Historical Formation as a Sub-National Polity, History and Anthropology, Vol. 20, No. 4, December 2009, pp. 363–393
  • Burrowes, Robert D. “The Yemen Arab Republic's legacy and Yemeni unification,” Arab Studies Quarterly. Fall 92, Vol. 14 Issue 4, p41. 28p
  • Lichtenthaler, Gerhard.  “Environment, Society and Economy in the Sa’dah Basin,” in Political Ecology and the Role of Water.  Ashgate.
  • Schwedler, Jillian “Yemen's Aborted Opening,” Journal of Democracy, Volume 13, Number 4, October 2002, pp. 48-55
  • Alley (Longley), April. “The High Water Mark of Islamist Politics? The Case of Yemen,” MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL, VOLUME 61, NO. 2, SPRING 2007
  • Yadav, Stacey Philbrick. “Understanding ‘What Islamists Want:’ Public Debate and Contestation in Lebanon and Yemen,” Middle East Journal, Volume 64, No. 2, SPRING 2010 
  • Yadav, Stacey Philbrick. “Antecedents of the Revolution: Intersectoral Networks and Post-Partisanship in Yemen,” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism: Vol. 11, No. 3, 2011
  • Vom Bruck, Gabriele, “Regimes of Piety Revisited: Zaydī Political Moralities in Republican Yemen,” Die Welt des Islams 50 (2010) 185-223
  • Hamidi, Ayman (2009) “Inscriptions of Violence in Northern Yemen: Haunting Histories, Unstable Moral Spaces,” Middle Eastern Studies, 45:2, 165-187
  • Hill, Ginny.  “What is Happening in Yemen?” Survival, vol. 52 no. 2, April–May 2010, pp. 105–116
  • Fattah, Khaled.  Yemen: A Social Intifada In a Republic of Sheikhs Middle East Policy, Vol. XVIII, No. 3, Fall 2011
  • Dorlian, Samy. “The Sa’da War in Yemen: between Politics and Sectarianism,” The Muslim World, Volume 101, April 2011
  • King, James Robin. “Zaydī revival in a hostile republic: Competing identities, loyalties and visions of state in Republican Yemen, Arabica 59 (2012) 404-445
  • Breisinger, Clemens, and Xinshen Diao, Marie-Helen Collion, and Pierre Rondot. “Impacts of the Triple Global Crisis on Growth and Poverty: The Case of Yemen” Development Policy Review, 2011, 29 (2): 155-184
  • International Crisis Group. BREAKING POINT? YEMEN’S SOUTHERN QUESTION Middle East Report N°114 – 20 October 2011 http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iran%20Gulf/Yemen/114%20Breaking%20Point%20--%20Yemens%20Southern%20Question.pdf
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