Accueil > Lebanon : between War, Liberation and Political Reform (1975-2017)

CSPO 2910A - Lebanon : between War, Liberation and Political Reform (1975-2017)

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

In the study of state and politics in the Middle East, Lebanon is a puzzling case. The consociational distribution of power between no less than eighteen official religious sects, turned Lebanon's politics into a zero-sum-game. As a consequence, it has prevented the emergence of a supra-sectarian authority that could be called a “state” in the Western sense of the concept. This institutional weakness generates a paradox. It threatens the country's sovereignty by making it more vulnerable to regional and global powers. From a civil war (1975-1990) and the Israeli occupation of its south (1978-2000), to the relative calm of Syrian tutelage (1990-2005), regular turbulence periods since and another war with Israel (2006), the war in neighboring Syria, Lebanon gives the impression of great instability and unpredictability. The positions of its main actors often seem to answer to different, contradictory rationalities. But despite appearances, Lebanon remains a real subject of its own history. Its “lack of State” gives it a flexibility that can sometimes turn out to be useful to overcome political blockages. In other words, the political game in Lebanon is the product of calibrated doses of local, national, regional and international imperatives addressed through more or less rigid frames of meaning-making. This course aims to shed light on the submerged part of the iceberg of Lebanese politics, and to assess its significance for the country's social and political future. As such, our aim here is to build a “model of Lebanese politics” and determine what it can teach us for other countries of the region (Iraq, Syria), which already present – or will soon present – some of the same social and political features as Lebanon.


DAHER, Aurélie M. (Chercheur - doctorant contractuel)

Pedagogical format

This course will be taught as a ‘hybrid class', mixing lectures and seminar-like presentations. Class meetings will include empirical and theoretical talks, projection of audio-visual materials, and comments and analyses by the students. Class will meet twice a day, from Monday January 22, 2018 to Friday January 26, 2018.

Course validation

- Exposé oral – 40% - Mémoire final – 50% - Participation – 10%

Required reading

  • PICARD, Elizabeth, Lebanon, a Shattered Country: Myths and Realities of the Wars in Lebanon, New York, Holmes and Meier, 2002, 236 p.
  • SALIBI, Kamal, A House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered, University of California Press, 1990, 247 p.

Additional required reading

  • HANF, Theodor, Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon: Decline of a State and Rise of a Nation, London, Tauris, 2013, 712 p.
  • FISK, Robert, Pity the Nation, The Abduction of Lebanon, New York, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002, 752 p.
  • AUGBOLLE, Sune, War and Memory in Lebanon, Cambridge University Press, 2012, 280 p.
  • SCHIFF, Ze'ev, YA'ARI, Ehoud, Israel's Lebanon War, Simon and Schuster, 1985, 320 p.