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Syria Teaching & Learning Guide*
R. Hinnebusch, Syria: Revolution from Above (London and New York: Routledge, 2001). An accessible, concentrated and comprehensive overview of modern Syrian history, poli- tics, economy and foreign policy until the death of Hafiz al-Asad. Should be read as a prelude and background to the following more indepth work on particular aspects or periods of the Syrian story.
Philip Khoury’s two volumes are the classics on the pre-independence period: Urban Notables and Arab Nationalism: the Politics of Damascus, 1860–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983) and Syria and the French Mandate: the Politics of Nationalism 1920– 1936 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987).
Patrick Seale’s two volumes, The Struggle for Syria (London and Oxford: RIIA, Oxford University Press, 1965) and Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East (Berkeley, CA: Univer- sity of California Press, 1988) are highly readable, exhaustively researched and unmatched as histories, the first of the pivotal period of pre-Ba’th political mobilization and the sec- ond of the shaping of Hafiz al-Asad and his impact on modern Syria.
Bassam Haddad’s volume on the political economy of Syria and its state-business relations is unique in terms of its empirical research and conceptual framework. It covers the crucial period between 1970 and 2005 and foreshadows the social unrest in the post 2005 period. Business Networks: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2012).
S. Heydemann’s Authoritarianism in Syria: Institutions and Social conflict (Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 1999) examines the political economy and class struggle in pre- Ba’th Syria as a way of understanding Syria’s path under the Ba’th.
I. Rabinovich’s Syria Under the Ba‘th, 1963–1966: The Army-Party Symbiosis (New York, NY: Halstead Press, 1972) gives an intimate portrait of the pivotal power struggles that set the course of Ba’thist Syria. Uniquely based on primary documents.
N. V. Dam’s The Struggle for Power in Syria: Sectarianism, Regionalism and Tribalism in Poli- tics, 1961–1980 (London: Croom-Helm, 1981) is the most scholarly and well-researched example of the popular ‘‘mosaic’’ interpretation of Syrian politics.
V. Perthes’The Political Economy of Syria under Asad (London: I.B Taurus, 1995) is the classic political economy of Syria under Hafiz.
H. Batatu, Syria’s Peasantry, The Descendants of its Lesser Rural Notables and their Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999). The Ba’th state in many ways orig- inated in peasant mobilization. Batatu examines the rural roots of the Syrian regime and its consequneces. For those interested in the details, his book may be read in tan- dem with the two volume work of R. Hinnebusch on a similar theme, Peasant and Bureaucracy in Ba‘thist Syria: The Political Economy of Rural Development (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989); and Authoritarian Power and State Formation in Ba‘thist Syria: Army, Party and Peasant (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990).
E. Kienle, Contemporary Syria: Liberalisation between Cold War and Cold Peace (London: British Academic Press, 1994), examines various aspects of Syria’s economic liberalization under Hafiz.
F. Leverett, Inheriting Syria: Bashar’s Trial by Fire (Washington, DC: Brookings Institute Press, 2005), carries the story forward to the post-Hafiz period.
Syrian Studies Association: http://www.ou.edu/ssa/ The professional association of scholars of Syria.
Centre for Syrian Studies, University of St. Andrews: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/ intrel/css/ Publishes the series, St Andrews Papers on Contemporary Syria, cutting edge research on contemporary Syrian political economy.
Syria Comment: http://joshualandis.com/blog/ Extensive resource on contemporary Syrians affairs
Jadaliyya Syria Page: Syria.jadaliyya.com/ Analysis on Syria’s history, society, culture, and politics.
Syria History: http://www.syrianhistory.com/ An on-line museum of modern Syrian history
Creative Syria: http://creativesyria.com/discussion/thinktank.php Opinions by Syria analysts
Levant Watch: http://levantwatch.blogspot.com/ Posts news and comment on Syria and Lebanon
Syria Daily: http://syriadaily.com News reports on the Middle East and Syria
Topic 1: Introduction to Syrian Studies.
Focus Questions: What are the main issues in modern Syrian studies?; can rival ‘‘schools’’ or approaches be identified? Readings: R. Hinnebusch, ‘‘Modern Syrian Politics,’’ History Compass, 6 (Nov 2007): 263–285
R. Hinnebusch, Syria: Revolution from above, introduction.
Topic 2: From Empire to sovereignty
Focus Question: how did Syria’s trajectory from empire (s) to sovereignty create chal- lenges for state builders.
Readings: P. Khoury, Urban Notables and Arab Nationalism: the Politics of Damascus, 1860–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). P. Khoury, Syria and the French Mandate: the Politics of Nationalism 1920–1936 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987). E. Dawn, ‘‘The Rise of Arabism in Syria’’, Middle East Journal, 16⁄2 (1962): 145–68. M. Muslih, ‘‘The Rise of Local Nationalism in the Arab East’’, in R. Khalidi (ed.), The Origins of Arab Nationalism (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1991), 167–85. E.Tauber, The Formation of Modern Syria and Iraq (London: Frank Cass, 1995). A. L. Tibawi, A Modern History of Syria (London: Macmillan, 1969). Z. N. Zeine, The Struggle for Arab Independence (Beirut: Khayats, 1960).
Topic 3: State and Identity
Focus Questions: Discuss the strategies by which Syrian state builders have dealt with the competition to the state from sub and supra-state identities.
Readings: J. Gelvin, Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass politics in Syria at the Close of Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998). M. Kedar, Asad in Search of Legitimacy (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2005). M. Maoz, ‘‘Attempts at Creating a Political Community in Modern Syria’’, Middle East Journal, 26⁄4 (1972): 389–404. M. Van Dusen, ‘‘Political Integration and Regionalism in Syria,’’ Middle East Journal, 26⁄1 (1972): 123–136. R. Hinnebusch, ‘‘Syria under the Ba‘th: State Formation in a Fragmented Society’’, Arab Studies Quarterly, 4⁄3 (Summer 1982): 177–199. M. Mufti, Sovereign Creations: Pan-Arabism and Political Order in Syria and Iraq (Ithaca & London: Cornell U. Press, 1996).
Topic 4: The Rise and Fall of Oligarchic Liberalism
Focus Questions: What strategies did post-independence elites and their rivals use to shape the pathway of Syrian political and economical development? Assess the roles of the military and of landlord-peasant conflict in the de-stabilization of the state.
Readings: Hinnebusch, Revolution from Above ch 2.
R. B. Winder, ‘‘Syrian Deputies and Cabinet Ministers: 1919–1959’’, Middle East Journal, 16 (August 1962): 407–429 and 17 (Winter–Spring 1963): 35–54. P. Seale, The Struggle for Syria (London and Oxford: RIIA, Oxford University Press, 1965).
M. Van Dusen, ‘‘Downfall of a Traditional Elite’’, in F. Tachau (ed.), Political Elite and Political Development in the Middle East (Cambridge, MA: Schenkman⁄Wiley, 1975), 115– 155. G. Torrey, Syrian Politics and the Military, 1945–1958 (Columbus: Ohio State University, 1964).
S. Heydemann, Authoritarianism in Syria: Institutions and Social Conflict (Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 1999).
Topic 5: Rise of the Ba’th
Focus Questions: Was the rise of the Ba’th a revolution? Assess the different interpreta- tions of the power struggles in the 1963–70 period?
Readings: Hinnebusch, Revolution from Above, ch 3 K. S. Abu Jaber, The Arab Ba‘th Socialist Party: History, Ideology, and Organization (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1966). J. Devlin, The Ba‘th Party: A History from its Origins to 1966, (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1976). M. Seymour, ‘‘The Dynamics of Power in Syria since the Break with Egypt’’, Middle Eastern Studies, 6⁄1 (January 1970): 35–47. G. Torrey, ‘‘The Ba‘th: Ideology and Practice’’, Middle East Journal, 23⁄4 (Autumn (1969): 445–470. N. Van Dam, The Struggle for Power in Syria: Sectarianism, Regionalism and Tribalism in Politics, 1961–1980 (London: Croom-Helm, 1981). A. Perlmutter, ‘‘From Obscurity to Rule: The Syrian Army and the Ba‘th Party’’, Western Political Quarterly, 22⁄4 (1969). I. Rabinovich, Syria Under the Ba‘th, 1963–1966: The Army-Party Symbiosis (New York, NY: Halstead Press, 1972).
Topic 6: The Consolidation of the Asad Regime
Focus Question: How did Asad consolidate the Ba’th regime?
Readings: Hinnebusch, Revolution from Above, ch 4, 5 H. Batatu, ‘‘Some Observations on the Social Roots of Syria’s Ruling Military Group and the Causes of its Dominance’’, Middle East Journal, 35⁄3 (1981): 331–344. A. Dawisha, ‘‘Syria Under Asad, 1970–1978: The Centres of Power’’, Government and Opposition, 13⁄3 (Summer 1978): 341–354. A. Drysdale, ‘‘Ethnicity in the Syrian Officer Corps: A Conceptualization’’, Civilisations, 29⁄3–4 (1979): 359–373. A. Drysdale, ‘‘The Syrian Political Elite, 1966–1976: A Spatial and Social Analysis’’, Middle Eastern Studies, 17⁄1 (1981b): 3–30. M. A. Faksh, ‘‘The Alawi Community of Syria: A New Dominant Political Force’’, Middle Eastern Studies, 20⁄2 (April 1984): 133–153.
R. Hinnebusch, Authoritarian Power and State Formation in Ba‘thist Syria: Army, Party and Peasant (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990). M. Kedar, Asad in Search of Legitimacy (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2005). E. Picard, ‘‘Clans militaires et pouvoir ba‘thiste en Syrie’’, Orient, Hamburg, (1979): 49–62.
M. Maox, Asad, the Sphinx of Damascus: A Political Biography (New York, NY: Grove Weidenfeld, 1988). Y. Sadowski, ‘‘Ba’thist Ethics and the Spirit of State Capitalism: Patronage in Contempo- rary Syria’’, in P. J. Chelkowski and R. Pranger (eds.), Ideology and Power in the Middle East (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1988), 160–184.
P. Seale, Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988). L. Wedeen, Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999).
Topic 7: Ba’thist Political Economy
Focus Question: Analyze the class content of Ba’thist development strategies and explain their evolution.
Readings: Hinnebusch, Revolution from Above, ch 6. A. Drysdale, ‘‘The Regional Equalization of Health Care and Education in Syria since the Ba‘thi Revolution’’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 13 (1981a): 93–111. S. Heydemann, ‘‘The Political Logic of Economic Rationality: Selective Stabilisation in Syria’’, in H. Barkey (ed.), The Politics of Economic Reform in the Middle East (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), 11–39. R. Hilan, Culture et developpement en Syrie et dans les pays retardes (Paris: Editions Anthro- pos, 1969). R. Hinnebusch, ‘‘The Political Economy of Economic Liberalization in Syria’’, Interna- tional Journal of Middle East Studies, 27 (1995): 305–320. R. Hinnebusch, ‘‘Syria: the Politics of Economic Liberalization’’, Third World Quarterly, 18⁄2 (1997): 249–256. E. Longuenesse, ‘‘La classe ouvriere au Proche Orient: La Syrie’’, Pensee, 197 (February 1978): 120–132. E. Longuenesse, ‘‘The Class Nature of the State in Syria’’, MERIP Reports, 9⁄4 (1979): 3–11. V. Perthes, ‘‘The Bourgeoisie and the Ba’th’’, Middle East Report, 21 ⁄ 170 (May–June 1991): 31–37. V. Perthes, ‘‘The Syrian Private Industrial and Commercial Sectors and the State’’, Inter- national Journal of Middle East Studies, 24⁄2 (May 1992): 207–230. V. Perthes, The Political Economy of Syria under Asad (London: I.B Taurus, 1995). D. Waldner, State Building and Late Development in Syria, Turkey, Korea and Taiwan (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999).
History Compass Teaching & Learning Guide 1621 Focus Question: Discuss the change in the Syrian countryside under the Ba’th
Readings: F. Metral, ‘‘State and Peasants in Syria: A Local View of a Government Irrigation Project’’, Peasant Studies, 11⁄2 (1984): 69–89. Z. Keilany, ‘‘Land Reforms in Syria,’’ Middle Eastern Studies, 16 (1980): 208–224. R. Hinnebusch, Peasant and Bureaucracy in Ba‘thist Syria: The Political Economy of Rural Development (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989). H. Batatu, Syria’s Peasantry, the Descendants of its Lesser Rural Notables and their Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999). I. Za‘im, ‘‘Le probleme agraire Syrien: Etapes et bilan de la reforme’’, Developpement et Civilisations, 31 (1967): 68–78. J. Hannoyer, ‘‘Grands projects hydrauliques en Syrie: La tentation Orientale’’, Maghreb- Machrek, 109 (July–August 1985): 24–42.
Topic 8: Agrarian Politics and Policy
F. Leverett, Inheriting Syria: Bashar’s Trial by Fire (Washington, DC: Brookings Institute Press, 2005). E. Zisser, ‘‘Bashar al-Asad and his Regime – Between Continuity and Change’’, Orient, 45⁄2 (June 2004): 239–256.
E. Zisser, Commanding Syria: Bashar al-Asad and the First Years in Power (London: I.B. Taurus, 2006). S. Abboud, ‘‘The Transition Paradigm and the Case of Syria’’, in Syria’s Economy and the Transition Paradigm (St Andrews: St Andrews Papers on Contemporary Syria, 2009), 3–31.
Topic 9: State and Islam in Syria.
Focus Questions: Why did Islamic revolution fail in Syria? What residue has the struggle of regime and political Islam left on their relations?
Readings: U. F. Abd-Allah, The Islamic Struggle in Syria (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1983). H. Batatu, ‘‘Syria’s Muslum Brethren’’, MERIP Reports, 12⁄110 (Nov–Dec 1982): 12– 20. R. Hinnebusch,. ‘‘State and Islamism in Syria’’, in A. S. Sidahmed and A. Ehteshami (eds.), Islamic Fundamentalism (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), 199–214. T. Mayer, ‘‘The Islamic Opposition in Syria, 1961–1982’’, Orient, 24 ⁄ 4 (December 1983): 589–609. H. G. Lobmeyer, Opposition and Resistance in Syria (London: IB Tauris, 2001). I. Weismann, ‘‘Said Hawwa: The Making of a Radical Muslim Thinker in Modern Syria’’, Middle Eastern Studies, 29 (1993): 607–11.
Topic 10: Leadership Succession and Authoritarian Adaptation under Bashar
Focus Question: Explain authoritarian persistance and adaptation in Syria (that is, what techniques and conditions have enabled the regime to evade democratization)
Readings: R. Hinnebusch, ‘‘Calculated Decompression as a Substitute for Democratization: Syria’’, in B. Korany, R. Brynen and P. Noble (eds.), Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Arab World (Boulder, CO: Lynn Rienner Press, 1998), 223–240. E. Kienle, Contemporary Syria: Liberalisation between Cold War and Cold Peace (London: British Academic Press, 1994). A. George, Syria: Neither Bread Nor Freedom (London & New York: Zed Books, 2003) Haddad, Bassam., ‘Change and Stasis in Syria: One Step Forward...’’, Middle East Report, 29⁄4 (winter 1999). V. Perthes, Syria under Bashar al-Asad: Modernisation and the Limits of Change. Adelphi Papers (London: Oxford University Press for IISS, 2004). D. Lesch, The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005).
Topic 11: Syrian Foreign Policy
Focus Question: Discuss the Determinants of Syrian Foreign Policy
Readings: Hinnebusch, Revolution from Above, chapter 7. P. Seale, Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988). A. Dawisha, ‘Syria’s intervention in Lebanon, 1975–1976’, Jerusalem Journal of International Relations, 3⁄2–3 (1978): 245–64. A. Drysdale and R. Hinnebusch, Syria and the Middle East Peace Process (New York, NY: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1991). A. Ehteshami and R. Hinnebusch, The Syrian-Iranian Alliance: Middle Powers in a Pene- trated Regional System (London, Routledge, 1997). E. Chalala, ‘‘Syrian Policy in Lebanon: 1976–1984: Moderate Goals and Pragmatic Means’’, Journal of Arab Affairs, 4⁄1 (Spring 1985): 67–87. H. Cobban, The Israeli-Syrian Peace Talks: 1991–96 and Beyond (Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press,1999).
* This compilation is a combination of material prepared by Raymond Hinnebusch and Bassam Haddad.
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