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Learner Reviews & Feedback for After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure by University of Copenhagen

4.7
stars
390 ratings
109 reviews

About the Course

Learn why the hope and excitement of the Arab Spring is gone, why so many Arab states are falling apart, why the youth are so frustrated, why there are so many refugees, and what can be done about it. The so-called Arab Spring appeared to end decades of exceptionalism and bring the Arab world back into the mainstream of global developments. The rebellions promised the return of politics and the reassertion of popular sovereignty against their corrupt and geriatric leaders. Much hope and flowery language greeted the young men and women who deposed their leaders and tried to build new, better societies. Today, the Arab world is in deep crisis. Of the 22 member states of the Arab League, at least five have essentially collapsed: Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria exist only in name today, as their territories have fallen to competing, murderous armed groups. In the remaining countries, the old autocracies have reasserted themselves. The repression at home is now worsened by regional conflict on an unprecedented scale, and the resulting frustration has led to the biggest refugee flows in recent memory. What went wrong? This course offers an overview of the structural shortcomings of Arab states and societies, which help us understand why the democratic awakening did not happen but instead “has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism.” This raises the obvious and renewed question whether there is something inherent in the Arab, and by analogy Muslim, condition that makes them special. Does this condition make this part of the world impervious to generally observable trends towards greater accountability, popular participation in political decision-making, greater generation and fairer division of economic wealth? Join this course to find out!...

Top reviews

JY

Apr 15, 2020

Provides a fascinating and important approach to studying this topic. The professor's framework and intellectual depth enriched my understanding of this important and enduring problem.

LK

Oct 13, 2018

An eye opening experience. I really hope this becomes a mandated course among anyone participating in any diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East and the Arabic world.

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1 - 25 of 109 Reviews for After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure

By Leon K

Oct 13, 2018

An eye opening experience. I really hope this becomes a mandated course among anyone participating in any diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East and the Arabic world.

By John Y

Apr 15, 2020

Provides a fascinating and important approach to studying this topic. The professor's framework and intellectual depth enriched my understanding of this important and enduring problem.

By Boris E

Sep 04, 2017

That is the second class I am taking with Professor Afsah and would love to take more. The class is interesting, engaging and relevant. Highly recommended!

By Catherine V

Dec 18, 2017

This course is Coursera's hidden gem of neo colonial discourse and that is what makes it worthy of attention. It's not so easy today to find an academic institution which members openly support cultural imperialism and teach in a way like Edward Said never existed. And I really like those subtle details when white majority make people of colour voice this kind of content. If a white person would have to say something like "members of underperforming socieities", that would be racism. But like now it can be safely named "diversity"!

By gigi n

Jun 20, 2019

Nice format to measure one's understanding of each subject matter. The course is thoughtfully intersectional; and its comprehensive in making good use of western political theories and concepts and how these idea have failed to develop or take root in Arab political history.

By Beatriz m D

Feb 28, 2020

Ha sido un gran curso.

By Joy S

Oct 26, 2017

2nd course I have taken from this instructor. This one was thankfully much shorter. Good info, would have rated it higher, but the last quiz was made overly difficult. They keep switching the positions of the answers. I watched the week 6 video twice but could not pass after 6 attempts.

By John H

Jun 10, 2020

Some students have complained that Dr. Afsah ignores the effect of external factors on the current state of Middle East societies. This is largely true, but he is intentionally focusing on what the citizens of those countries can change for themselves, which would also change the power differential between them and external actors. His analysis of what has gone wrong is outstanding. Now the people of those nations must develop plans to fix it. It can't be a solution from outside, although we should help as we can and as we are permitted to.

By Noor

Dec 24, 2018

Very informative and eye opting for an Arab trying to understand why we r behind other countries and to realize how to go about it

By Mohammed A A

Nov 19, 2018

thank you very very match

By Shereen N

Aug 05, 2020

I was looking for a course with balanced content that tackles politics and its different dimensions in the Arab region, but unfortunately found out that this course has inaccurate, biased content. You will see that it's subjective and one-sided; quoting specific journalists and activists, giving you a poor view on a scene taken from one lens while ignoring the whole spectrum that its many views are needed to archive a wide, accurate view.

It's hard for me not to notice that it seems packed with certain agenda, unfortunately!

By Hannah E

Feb 12, 2018

Not a very objective outlook on the Middle East after the Arab Spring. Quite disappointed to be honest as the University of Copenhagen is well known, and I expected their courses to be more informative instead of highly subjective.

By S M H s

Jan 06, 2019

Arab world systematically failed to produce the society which can yearn for the true democratic aspirations. The So-called "Arab Spring was absolutely clueless and leaderless. The leaders of Arab nations tried to mitigate the effect of uprisings by just giving them temporary comfort rather than installing democratic and sustainable economic system. Above all the "Political Islam" added insult to the injury which is most often misinterpreted in terms of bringing prosperity and justice in society. Consequently , producing vacuum for the group like "ISIS". Similarly, the purchased achievements in academia miserably led to rely on the family system nepotism. To sum up, It can be observed that pessimism seems to prevail in coming future for the democratic system in the future.

By Conor L

May 25, 2020

Excellent course on the philosophies of the Arab world. It is important to understand the region's modern history to be able to make wise decisions on its future. Without being an indoctrination of any of the ideals, the professor wisely lays out the pathway for a better life in the Arab world while demonstrating what failures should be corrected to achieve that goal. I walked away from this course with an enlightened sense of both western and eastern philosophy as well as a better recollection of the recent turmoil in the region. I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone looking to gain further insight into both the philosophy and politics of the Arab world.

By Akanksha S

Jul 27, 2018

I'm not much of a visuo-audio learner, so I mostly learnt through reading the transcripts. I have to say that the insight, the depth, the thorough and thought-provoking analysis offered by the professor is excellent, and truly made me love this course. I have been talking about it non-stop to my friends and family. I can't believe how much I have learnt about the Arab World and the Arab Spring through this one course, and it has been an extremely fulfilling experience. I am so glad I picked it, and I hope I can see more from Dr. Ebrahim Afsah. Thank you so much, it was a phenomenal experience!

By Linda B

Aug 22, 2017

This is an excellent course on helping to understand why the Middle East is in such turmoil and governments are failing. The lectures covered many topics that pertain to the everyday lives of the people, and helped me understand why they are protesting . Everything I learned can be directly applied to the middle eastern countries today. I highly recommend these set of lectures to anyone who wonders why the Middle East is in such turmoil with no solution in sight. As an American, I wonder why we keep sending troops to the Middle East while the situation just keeps getting worse.

By Iva V

Nov 09, 2017

This is really great, very valuable for anyone interested in the Arab / Muslim worlds, constitutional debates, structural challenges, historical contexts, demography and economics, and generally anything and everything that stands on the crossroads of society and law. The professor is great, he loves institutions and procedure and rule of law, and it's a real pleasure listening to him. He quotes from a very vast literature - political science, history, but also policy briefs and reports. Super interesting and highly recommended.

By Chelsea C

Mar 31, 2020

Thoroughly enjoyed the way this course was structured and the variety of sources and perspectives used. Instructor was able to convey complex and detailed material in an engaging way that I have yet to see other online courses do successfully. My only issue was the need to review the transcripts afterwards to make sure I got all of the details; in person, I would have had enough time to take notes as the instructor spoke, which helps me learn by combining the audio with the act of writing notes.

By Scott L

Dec 05, 2017

Tremendous review of history across the Middle East from the view of how the Arab Spring and years around that were unable to deliver on the potential that had. By doing a full review of how the countries of the Arab world got to where they are, a more comprehensive understanding of why that region of the world cannot simply move through revolution is obtained. Outstanding class done with attention to detail yet staying independent and respectful of all the parties involved.

By Ruth J S H

Apr 12, 2018

Es una excelente herramienta para comprender los sucesos geopolíticos de la zona, además, se obtiene información sobre de política, democracia y gobernanza. La bibliografía es buena, si uno quiere ampliar los temas. ¡¡Gracias!!

It is an excellent tool to understand geopolitical events in the area, in addition, you get information about politics, democracy and governance. The bibliography is good, if one wants to expand the issues. Thank you!!

By John L

Jun 17, 2020

This course goes a long way in helping people in understanding Arab culture. Anybody who plans on a career with tentacles reaching into the Arab world would definitely need this course to complete their understanding of the region. Dr. Afsan always brings his A game to these courses, and this was no exception. His expertise and presentation of the material makes it completely understandable and has furthered my understanding in this area.

By Sudhanshu M

Apr 01, 2018

This was a truly wonderful course! I took it as a high school student, and though the material was tough to comprehend at times - I was able to work through it. I truly learned so much about the Arab Spring. Our lecturer was fantastic and taught in a way that I didn't expect but grew to like. I recommend this course to anybody curious as to what the Arab future holds, and how this situation arose. Thank you to all!

By Maren S

Apr 01, 2018

My sincerest thanks to Prof Afsah and the whole team. I wish I had more time at hand to participate in the discussion forum. The time factor has been the part I personally struggled most - but that´s maybe just me. I found the lectures highly informative and thought provoking. While suffering with a bad education system in my youth, I feel very fortunate having such an inspiring instructor as Prof Afsah.

By Ganapati K

Aug 31, 2017

Amazing course, extraordinary lectures by Professor Afsah. This was more gripping than the earlier course on " Constitutional Struggles in the Muslim World ", because it is more contemporary, with events related from this century across the Gulf and North Africa, which we are all aware, analysed by the Professor in perspective, with observations from various experts bringing it all in focus.

By Nada H E

Sep 22, 2017

It was a very challenging yet interesting course, i never thought it would be that much intense with full range of readings and different perceptions were argued, and looking at the situation in the Middle East differently and not neglecting any views Western and Eastern.

I highly recommend anyone to join this course, especially with the list of the books that were used in the course.