Accueil > Geopolitics of the Middle East: the Sunni Shia dissension

DAFF 3100A - Geopolitics of the Middle East: the Sunni Shia dissension

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The Sunni-Shia Muslims dissension is often depicted as a conflict existing since the death of the Prophet Muhammad when the question of succession was raised. Indeed, the succession gave birth to two conceptions of political power and religion: the imamate supported by the people that would later be called Shia Muslims and the caliphate, supported by the Sunnis-to-be. However, this dissension is not an essential, inevitable conflict between the two communities. The aim of this course is to understand that the dissensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims are also settled in particular political and regional contexts. This course consists in a critical effort to deconstruct an exclusively confessionnally-based reading of geopolitical issues in the Middle East.


ZAHIRI, Eva (Etudiante doctorante)

Course validation

Written essay at the end of the semester (50%): the student will be evaluated as much on his/her knowledge as on his/her own ideas on the subject; exposé (30%); oral participation throughout the semester both after the presentations and during discussions (20%).

Required reading

  • Hichem Djaït, “The Origins of the Islamic State in Islam. State and Society”, in Islam and Society, Klaus Ferdinand and Mehdi Mozzafari (ed.), Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies, 1988
  • S. A. Arjomand, The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran, Oxford University Press, 1988
  • Ewan W. Anderson, Middle East: Geography and Geopolitics, Londres, Routledge, 2000
  • Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future, Norton & Company, 2007
  • Saudi Clerics and Shi'a Islam, Raihan Ismail, Oxford University Press, 2016