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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Constitutional Struggles in the Muslim World by University of Copenhagen

4.8
stars
608 ratings
181 reviews

About the Course

Learn what motivates the restive Muslim youth from Tunis to Tehran, what political positions Islamists from Mali to Chechnya are fighting for, where the seeming obsession with Islamic law comes from, where the secularists have vanished to, and whether it makes sense to speak of an Islamic state. Since 2009 there has been a renewed wave of popular unrest sweeping throughout much of the Muslim world. Secular, but generally repressive and inefficient autocracies have come under pressure or been swept aside entirely. At the same, the various Islamic Republics have not fared much better, but been convulsed by internal unrest, economic and social decline. Throughout the Muslim lands, existing constitutional arrangements are being challenged, often very violently. This course is a survey of the constitutional ideas and institutions that have developed since the mid 19th century throughout predominantly Muslim countries, but its focus will lie on the actors that have dominated this discourse and shaped its outcomes. We will look at the large body of classical writings on the Islamic state only in so far as it is necessary to understand the contemporary debate, but concentrate on the legal and political developments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Three common themes will characterise the course:  We privilege the study of the legal and social reality and seek to highlight where it is at odds with dogmatic stipulations, be they religious or constitutional.  We seek to illustrate the practical tensions posed by limited administrative capabilities and political legitimacy that resulted from the incomplete reception of modern bureaucratic statehood.  We seek to examine how popular dissatisfaction with the practical performance of Muslim governments has fuelled demands for greater accountability under the guise of cultural authenticity.  Ultimately, the course aims to equip participants to better understand Muslim contemporary discourse about the res publica, better contextualise the demands for religious law in public life, and to better ascertain the theoretical and practical feasibility of postulated religious alternatives to the still-dominant secular model of governance....

Top reviews

LP
Nov 21, 2015

This course is really interesting and informative. It gave me a much better understanding for the history and politics behind some of the issues we are all facing today, and really broadened my mind.

NP
Dec 27, 2015

The course was good. But the real situation has been changing drastically. A supplement or extension of course is required to cover the up to date situation about IS activities, syria Iraq etc.

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1 - 25 of 178 Reviews for Constitutional Struggles in the Muslim World

By Mariam

Feb 12, 2016

The professor has a very biased view of the Islamic world, which is heavily based on his opinion and approach not on the real facts and dominant his

By Ying W

Oct 31, 2015

It is an attractive course about middle east. The instructor is born in Iran, he told a little bit story about him and his family in Iran. You will understand more than you read books.

By Roberto

Jul 20, 2017

Excellent overview on the problem of mixed success in the development of Muslim world under the lens of the development of institutions.

Very rich background in terms of recent history, economy and local culture: colonial past is taken into due consideration.

Due to the fragmentation of the area taken into account, more than remarkable outcome: a must if you want to understand more of a culture and of regions of the worlds tragically on the forefront in many cases.

In addition, the "iranian" (non european) perspective of the instructor brings even more interest into the course.

An excellent companion of the Tel Aviv University Course The Emergence of the Modern Middle East, also available on the platform.

By Bryndie B

Feb 20, 2016

Brilliant professor, with an intellectually rigorous, subtle, in-depth and wide ranging approach to unfolding a complex and at times controversial subject. I appreciate the numerous references to history, philosophy and economics, which balance the discussions of the place of religion in state institutions and policy. The legal framework was a treasure trove. Many thanks to Professor Afsah. I look forward to future courses you offer.

By Sarah M

Feb 2, 2019

This course is the best online course I have taken. I loved how it was structured, the Professor spoke well and clearly and was extremely knowledgeable, and the readings were well chosen. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in learning more about the Middle East, whether you are new, or intermediate. There are a lot of insights you can learn from.

By Sonia S

Sep 5, 2016

Amazing course with comprehensive lectures and balanced approach on historical and contemporary aspects that define the socio-political developments taking place in the Muslim world.

By Hamdanil R

Jan 2, 2016

A very thought-engaging and enjoyable course. I learned a lot about the history and contexts of various Muslim countries, the challenges faced by them as well as the practical challenges that Islamic-based political thought have not demonstrably addressed so far. The instructor is very knowledgeable and well-meaning. I like the course's approach of not so much attempting to answer the questions as just a 'tour guide' and an entry point to the much more complex discussion about the topic. I might not agree with everything in the course, and some of his statements might have made me a bit uncomfortable, but overall this is an engaging and insightful course.

By Сабина

Jul 12, 2020

For me, for a student with Bachelor degree in ME studies, this course presented a different angle on the region. What I really liked is that the data was not 100% historic, in contrary it combined various concepts from social science. In addition, prof. Ebrahim Afsah heavily referred to qualitative and quantitative data, therefore his views were backed by various sources. Furthermore, I liked that all readings supplemented information presented in the course and strengthened gained knowledge. Overall, I really enjoyed taking this course and think that students who attend in present lectures of this professor are really lucky.

By Esteban Q S

Apr 19, 2020

I want to tel that I am diplomat from Costa Rica willing to learn about muslim societies. This course was really good, the teacher has the ability to get the attention of the students (obviously my attention). I was thinking all the things I´ve learned but also all the questions that come to my mind. I hope I can contact the teacher in a near future to analice the possibility to visit Costa Rica as a lecturer. I gladly would like to work on that.

By Ibrahim M

Jul 29, 2020

Brilliant course and professor. I liked how the course was for the most part objective in reasoning and explanation. Being Azerbaijani I could see also many problems from my society with regards to transformation to modernity and in other matters. I would really want to see in the future more information about Azerbaijan and Central Asian states as there was not much information about these states in this course

By LIngrid

May 16, 2016

Dr. Ebrahim Afsah通过这门课程想阐明的一个重要立场是:中东地区目前面临的各种困境不能以“伊斯兰教”这一单一原因来解释,也不能过分归因于外部势力干涉。我们要提防这种最容易得出但过分简化了事实的解释。 每个国家都有其独特的历史,过去的历史,如果没有决定,至少限定了它们未来的走向;每个国家又都有不同的特点,这些特点对其社会、政治体制的影响常常远甚于伊斯兰教对其的影响。这也是为什么十周里教授要一个国家一个国家地梳理,尽可能地向我们展示这一地区的复杂性与多样性。真的是非常棒的一门课,信息量超大,课程负荷也比较重,但真的很有收获。

而且Dr. Ebrahim Afsah是一个在德国长大、在美国接受学术训练而在丹麦用英语授课的伊朗穆斯林,光是这一点就已经足够吸引我想要来听听他有什么要说的了。

这门课在我心中奠定了哥本哈根大学世界一流名校的地位。

By Frances M

Apr 16, 2017

I found the course very informative and interesting. The variety and concentration of detail was impressive and the lecturer always engaging and clearly strongly invested in the material. He was also very sensitive to his audience. I would certainly recommend the course and hope to find other courses run by the same lecturer. Thankyou.

By narendra p

Dec 28, 2015

The course was good. But the real situation has been changing drastically. A supplement or extension of course is required to cover the up to date situation about IS activities, syria Iraq etc.

By Kasia K

Jan 21, 2016

An excellent introduction to the social realities and politics of the Muslim World for inquisitive learners, not only for law students.

By Gösta S

Jul 25, 2016

Extremely useful and rewarding. The content is really worth the effort to listen and understand.

By Amr A W

Nov 10, 2015

Excellent course. :)

By John L

May 26, 2020

While working from home, our team has been encouraged to find learning opportunities that can expand our understanding of the areas in which we have professional interest. This course has been a wonderful opportunity to learn how Muslim countries have struggled with the idea of democracy and constitutionalism in the creation of their countries. Dr Ebrahim Afsah’s excellent course has been a definite building block of my understanding of the region of the world in which I struggle to comprehend political policy. The historical context of constitutional issues which this course covered will go a long way in how I will understand ideologic issues that I come across. Understanding historical context is always an issue when looking at how countries develop their foreign policies, and if you have a foundational understanding in how that country developed its own government, it definitely helps you understand how they not only look at themselves, but also how they deal with other counties, whether they follow traditional government building or not. This course was definitely one I would and have admonish others who desire a deeper understanding of the issues these governments have and I am looking forward to finding and completing other courses in this vein.

Respectfully submitted,

John Latham

By Dzulhafiez S B I

Nov 11, 2020

Kindly take note the course is good. Learnt many things in the course. Kindly take note that Singapore is based on the so called failed system "meritocracy". After having completed the course, I was sexually harassed by political cartels. University of Copenhagen is a good university and they are just insulting us here. Singapore is not welcoming to muslims. Here , they are enforcing capitalism and bad bereaucracy. Certainly , the results of the elections is fake and made up of lies that " need" to be falsely enforced. Certainly , I noticed that they are empowering the bad leadership here. As such , Singapore is a bad and false system that has failed. Much needed syariah is needed to be introduced with fair shares given to the minority muslims. Certainly this is not a God friendly area and hostilities are increasing through financial corruption and fake socioelitism which is actually theft that is not detected.Overall , good course. I am craving Danish shortbread after the course.

By Arlind

Dec 18, 2015

I must say that this is one of the most inspiring, eye-opening and lucid courses I've ever taken at Coursera. While the emphasis is placed on the social and economic factors that shaped the Muslim societies, thus rendering the religious factor secondary, this course provides an alternative lense in understanding the region. I particularly like the way the instructor challenges the well-established narratives about the region and gives us the empirical/historical facts behind the real causes that shaped the Muslim world as we know it! I have already recommended it to all of my politically-minded friends and would do so the same for everyone else interested in the region or who wants to better understand the news at least :D

By Maite S

Nov 24, 2015

Para poder entender la complejidad del mundo musulmán, necesitamos recibir información sobre su historia, sus sistemas de organización, invasiones de poderes externos y los enfrentamientos internos que a lo largo de los años han sufrido estos países. Es imposible entender la actualidad si no nos damos un tiempo para entender el pasado, y creo que este curso es esencial para empezar a vislumbrar el porqué de tantas luchas y conflictos en la actualidad. Además el curso viene acompañado de una buena selección de libros que nos permiten ahondar en el tema. Todo esto nos ayuda a entender mejor la situación de nuestro mundo, eliminar prejuicios, que buena falta nos hace.

By Antje M

Sep 7, 2017

I enjoyed this (as my first) coursera course from Ebrahim Afsah. I feel now to have a comprehensive overview about Arabic history and colonial past. I've learned to understand the struggles of the Arab world to be dissatisfied by capitalism and communism. The course also allowed a critical point of view on the missing self-criticism of the Arab World. All in all, although this was a lot of information to take in, i can say that I would love to take other courses by this Professor and his team. It was professional but also entertaining, with good materials and personal insights. Thank you and I believe we will see us again.

By Jorge D V P

Sep 6, 2017

It has been an excellent course, really very useful, I am very interesting the way to face the same on the part of the teacher, with a diagram that was very clear and didactic. The development of a theme as complex as this, especially for Westerners who really have little access to reliable sources in the face of the issue, given that we always find political and religious interests hidden behind. Really very good, I am currently attending the course on the failure of democracies after the Arab Spring. A pleasure greetings and I would like to continue investigating on this subject that I am passionate about.

By Attaullah K

Sep 21, 2020

i as afraid that this course would be dull and boring and mainly expecting a lot of legal jargon. I was pleasantly surprised by the historical and politial background given by the instructor.

i must admit that the we have been subjected to a selected perspective of history by the governments.

This course took a lot of effort to complete, but it has broadened my horison and enlightened me.

i now see a different world, and things are making better sense to me,

Thank you to all the staff involved, University of Copenhagen and especially the insructor.

Attaullah Khan

Pakistan

By Filip G

May 8, 2016

For a survey course, this module does a fantastic job of presenting the various struggles and discourses in the Muslim world, as well as contextualizing its inherent problems both historically and within present-day. It does so objectively, without sacrificing important reflection in the name of political correctness. I recommend this course as a jump-off point for anyone who wants to better understand this topic on an introductory level, or would like to later pursue independent study into more complex or narrow topics. Thank you Professor Afsah!

By Maria A V

Dec 14, 2017

This is one of the best courses I have ever studied. It gives extensive insight in the political, cultural, historical and institutional backgrond of contemporary muslim countries. It provides sociological and interpretative threads to understand the main challenges met by these peoples in their "clash" with modernity, in a heartful and deeply researched attempt to find a way out of backwardness and radicalization, an attempt that defies radicalized and istitutionalized Islamic views, but also profoundly respects Islam itself.