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

661 ratings

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


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.


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 199 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 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 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 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 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 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。


By Lina J

Dec 31, 2020

I have sat several courses in the last few months and this, by far, is without a doubt the most comprehensive and eye-opening. With every lecture, I could not help but think that I wish that history and politics, when I was at school, would've been taught in this kind of manner. I learned a crazy amount of facts. But, most importantly, my horizons were widened to a degree that I cannot even describe. I certainly feel like I have a better understanding, that is a lot less myopic, of the world affairs, of history, of cultures, etc. Prof. Ebrahim Afsah is indeed a great lecturer, who encourages his students to dig, connect, use scientific method, think critically, etc. The most valuable short course that I have ever had the pleasure to sit. I genuinely feel like it added greatly to my development as a person. Having finished this course, I am now seriously considering choosing a social anthropology course for my Masters.

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


By Alan M D

Mar 15, 2021

I absolutely loved this class. It made me think, it made me evaluate everything I already knew in light of the new things I was learning and be able to articulate things more precisely and accurately about the Muslim Wolrd. I learned more than I ever expected. Prof. Afsah was an excellent instructor who never allowed me to accept the status quo but to research for myself taking into account the biases I may have.

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 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 Pranav B

Sep 25, 2020

Very informative course. I really loved the way of teaching of the professor. The course really helped me to understand the background and historical aspects regarding current problems in the Middle-East. The course also vanished some stereotypes I had regarding Islamic countries. Really need such informative courses. Thank You!

By Mary E

Jun 29, 2021

  Very informative course on the history of the Muslim world.  Dr. Afsah presents the material in a a concise format.  Definitely in the top 5 history courses I've taken throughout the years. Highly recommend for those who want a better understanding of the complicated political & social environment of the Islamic world.


Dec 14, 2020

Top quality course. Thanks a lot to Dr. Ebrahim Afsa. His course is extremely interesting and I wish I could know more about Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey. The last chapter was a little more complex though. I recommend this course if you want to have a deeper knowledge of the muslim world.

By Boo A K

Jun 24, 2021

A comprehensive insight into the Muslim world indeed. Being a Muslim, i myself was unaware of the many backdrops of the contemporary questionable conditions of the Muslim World. Thanks to the professor and the team for designing such a course.

By Una S

Oct 23, 2020

Fenomenal course! Interesting relates to current issues and the profesor is amazing and very engaging! highly recommend, would do any another course with the same profesor, his way of engaging is brilliant!

By Leanne P

Nov 22, 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.

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 Rajantha M C T

Dec 22, 2020

one of the best courses which not only gave a lot of knowledge but also opened an eye to the insights of the persisting problems that dominate the Muslim world. Really love it.

By Katarzyna 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 Samantha D

Apr 26, 2021

One of the most interesting courses I've ever taken. Learned a great deal and am yearning to learn more!