The Egyptian Transition in Context

March 9, 2011 · 5:00-7:00PM

Columbia University, 1501 School of International and Public Affairs

  • Mona El-Ghobashy, Assistant Professor Comparative Politics, Barnard College
  • Timothy Frye, Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy, Columbia University
  • Mirjam Künkler, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
  • Alfred Stepan, Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Moderator: Michael Doyle, Harold Brown Professor of International Affairs, Law and Political Science, School of International and Public Affairs; Member of the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University

This event explores the wider experience of countries that are attempting democratic transitions, including the “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe and the comparable events in other parts of the Islamic world. Alfred Stepan will place these transitions in comparative context. Timothy Frye will then draw comparisons to the post-Soviet Color Revolutions, and Mirjam Kunkler, to transition in Indonesia. Mona El-Ghobashy will comment more broadly on Egypt.

Alfred C. Stepan is Wallace Sayre Professor of Government and was Dean of SIPA (1983–91). Stepan's teaching and research interests include comparative politics, theories of democratic transitions, federalism, and the world's religious systems, and democracy. He has published Arguing Comparative Politics (Oxford 2001); Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe, with J. J. Linz (Johns Hopkins 1996); Politics, Society, and Democracy: Comparative Studies, which he edited with H. E. Chebabi and J. J. Linz (Westview Press 1995); Rethinking Military Politics: Brazil and the Southern Cone (Princeton 1988); The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Chile, which he edited with J. J. Linz (Johns Hopkins 1978); The State and Society: Peru in Comparative Perspective (Princeton 1978); and The Military in Politics: Changing Patterns in Brazil (Princeton 1974).

Timothy Frye is a professor of political science at Columbia University and a member of the Harriman Institute. Professor Frye received a B.A. in Russian language and literature from Middlebury College, an M.I.A. from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a Ph.D. also from Columbia University in 1997. His research and teaching interests are in comparative politics and political economy with a focus on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He is the author of Brokers and Bureaucrats: Building Markets in Russia, (Michigan Press 2000), which won the 2001 Hewett Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and Incredible Transformation: Building States and Markets after Communism (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).

Mirjam Künkler is a political scientist who joined the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University in 2007. Her research interests are in comparative politics and political theory and focus on comparative relations between religion and state in the Muslim world. She is currently working on a book that analyzes the impact of contemporary Islamic thought and social movement activism on the transformation of authoritarian rule in Iran (1989-2005) and Indonesia (1974-1998). Of broader comparative interest to her are questions about: Comparative Relations between Religion and State in the Muslim World – a project funded by Princeton University’s Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs; Female Religious Authority in 20th century Iran – a project undertaken together with Roja Fazaeli and funded by the British Academy and British Institute for Persian Studies; Religious Parties in the Muslim world – a three-year research project she is undertaking together with Güneş Murat Tezcür, funded by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

Mona El-Ghobashy joined the Barnard faculty in July 2006 as an Assistant Professor in political science. Her research focuses on political mobilization in contemporary Egypt, and has appeared in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Middle East Report, American Behavioral Scientist, and Boston Review. In 2009, she was named a Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Corporation in New York to support a book project on Egyptian citizens' use of street protests and court petitions to reclaim their rights. At Barnard, she teaches courses on comparative politics, Middle East politics, social movements, and a first-year seminar on politics and the novel.

Michael Doyle is the Harold Brown Professor of U.S. Foreign and Security Policy, which is a three-fold appointment in the School of International and Public Affairs, the Department of Political Science, and the Law School. His research interests include international relations theory, international law, and international history; civil wars and international peace-building; and the United Nations. Since 2006, Doyle has been an individual member of the UN Democracy Fund, which was established in 2005 by the UN General Assembly to promote grass-roots democratization around the world. Doyle currently serves as the organization's chairperson. He co-directs the Center on Global Governance at Columbia Law School. Doyle previously served as assistant secretary-general and special adviser for policy planning to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.