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

4.7
stars
481 ratings
135 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 14, 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 12, 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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126 - 136 of 136 Reviews for After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure

By Rebecca T

Feb 9, 2019

Overall, a very interesting and deep look at a the structural issues which plague the Arab Spring. The readings, however, consistently required more then the allotted 1 hour set in the course.

By Chaya S

May 16, 2021

It was a very informative course but the number of quizzes were excessive and sometimes questions were unrelated to the lecture topic.

By Moises G G

May 16, 2020

Good experience and materials. It is neccesary to consider external factors in the same manner as internal ones.

By Danny C

May 15, 2020

Meaningful insights on the causes and consequences of the Arab spring from several points of view

By Majda M

Dec 24, 2020

It is biased by the opinion of the teacher.

By Aishwarya S

Jun 13, 2020

Very interesting

By Smriti

May 27, 2020

nice course

By Sam B

Jul 24, 2020

This was my first course on Coursera. For context, I am final year undergraduate student studying International Relations, I am quite experienced in this area.

I had high expectations for the course, but sadly these were not met. The content itself was interesting, but presented in a very dry way. Dr. Afsah was clearly reading from a script the entire time, and the information became very hard to absorb because he was not really 'lecturing', but rather just 'presenting'. Very convoluted academic language was used, which also often did not make sense (English is obviously not his first language, but he is nevertheless very educated). The fact that, I, and educated university student who speaks native English, could not understand The quizzes are quite easy and there is no other form of assessment.

My biggest criticism is of the discussion forums. My native language is English, and none of the prompts made sense. There was no question, or even a point of contention. Instead, simply a statement with little context. I was not alone in not understanding this, as 90% of people did not respond at all (like me), or simply wrote one or two words (like 'good'). Discussion forums and prompts can be a great way to reinforce your learning, but they were useless here.

By Rory M

Apr 7, 2020

Awful. Quizzes are broken down unnecessarily and barely any opportunity to critically engage. Not worth it

By Zuhar A

Aug 15, 2021

I​ watched through part of the first week and decided not to continue. The instructor is biased toward the eurocentric perspectives. They ignore for example the impact of the west starting from the Sykes-Picot Agreement, western mandates and modern innovations and occupations. One can not assess such a complex situation just by relating back to these "Arabic and Islamic exceptions" as it seems to be a lack of understanding of cultural differences by intellectuals who have no background in the richness of philosophical approaches to analysis and only look at reality from the lens of enlightenmet and rational whereas reality is more complex than that. I deem the course racist and harmful and I hope that other more sophisticated cultural thinkers would write a piece on this.

By William W

Dec 10, 2021

Orientalist giberish amounting to nothing intelectual and nothing constructive.