Margaret Scott Rauch
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Administration
Margaret Scott works as a freelance journalist, currently focusing on the role of Islam in Indonesian politics. She has been writing for The New York Review of Books and The Times Literary Supplement. Before that she spent several years working in Tokyo as a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and The Los Angeles Times Magazine. Margaret also lived and worked in Hong Kong as the cultural editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review. She has been a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald, the Courier-Post in Camden, New Jersey and KTCA Public Television in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Margaret Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University.
Democratizing Islam: Indonesia to Egypt in the Arab Spring
What is the role of Islam in the fight for democracy? This course will look at four Muslim-majority countries - Indonesia, Turkey, Iran and Egypt - and create a frame for trying to understand the uprisings roiling the Middle East. The class will discuss the work and ideas of democratic activists from the Islamic world, place those activists in the narrative of democracy and religion-state relations, and examine their opponents from both the secular side and the religious side.
In Indonesia, a student-led uprising in 1998 ended Suharto's 32 years of jackboot rule, and the nation's rocky decade of democratization would not have been successful without the crucial contribution of Muslims with conceptions of Islam that are compatible with democratic values. In Turkey, the Justice and Development Party has evolved from its Islamist roots to championing democracy as the ruling party, despite a backlash from Turkey's wary secularists. From our look at the role of Islam in furthering democracy in Indonesia and Turkey, the class will examine why the opposite has been true in Iran. We will look at the crushing of the Green Movement in the name of a theocratic Islamic state. These successes and failures will lead us to the ongoing drama in Egypt, where pro-democracy activists triggered Hosni Mubarak's ouster despite his years of insisting that without him Egypt would fall to hardline Islamists intent on creating an Islamic state. We will chart Egypt's new politics with an eye on Islam and democracy.