After considering the geography, religions and modern history of the Middle East, the course will examine the governments and political systems of the Middle Eastern countries. The course will also focus on the political elites, leadership styles and state structure prevalent in the region, trying to explain the region’s problem with democratic deficit and challenges to political development. Women’s conditions in the region as well as challenges to their economic and political participation will be another subject matter to be discussed. Case studies of the major countries of the Middle East including Turkey, Iran and Egypt will help study the process of political development and the prospect for change in these three countries. The roots and results of the Arab Spring and the rise of fundamentalist Islamic movements in recent decades will also be discussed.