Debating Islam and the Middle East

Mehmet Gurses
International Relations / Current Events

Course Description

The complex and complicated nature of Islam, as the second largest religion, and the Middle East, as arguably the most violent region in the contemporary world, has led to much debate, confusion, and disagreement over several key issues. What is Islam? Is Islam inherently political? How does Islam depict and treat women? Can democracy take root in a Muslim-majority society? Answers to these fundamental issues have consequences for the US relationship with the Muslim World. Professor Gurses will address these questions and more. This lecture series aims to provide a coherent understanding of these complex issues in light of changes at home and abroad.


  1. Islam 101: Islam Simplified.
  2. War and Peace in Islam.
  3. Women and Islam.
  4. Democracy and Islam: Are They Really Compatible?

About the Instructor

  • Mehmet Gurses, PhD, is a professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University and comparative politics and international relations editor of the journal Politics and Religion (Cambridge University Press). His research interests include ethnic and religious conflict, post-civil war peace building, post-civil war democratization, and the Middle East. He is the author of Anatomy of a Civil War: Sociopolitical Impacts of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey (University of Michigan Press, 2018) and co-editor of Conflict, Democratization and the Kurds in the Middle East: Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). He has published extensively in journals including, International Interactions, Social Science Quarterly, Civil Wars, Defense and Peace Economics, Democratization, International Studies Perspectives, Party Politics, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Political Research Quarterly, and Comparative Politics.

    Lifelong Learning Professorship of Current Affairs, 2019-2020