Caroleen Marji Sayej specializies in comparative politics and the Middle East. She teaches Comparative Politics; Iran: State, Politics and Society; and Middle East Politics.
Professor Sayej's research and teaching interests encompass both macro- and micro-level analysis of authoritarian political systems with a focus on Middle Eastern studies. These include the comparative study of democracies and autocracies, legitimacy crises, and sub-systemic changes within regimes — all to account for the persistence of authoritarianism. She is also working on the inter-relationship of state and society, including the role of political Islam and the new social groups that are forming in contemporary Middle Eastern societies.
Most recently, she has been working on political change and consolidation in Iraq. She has co-authored a book, The Iraq Papers, (Oxford University Press, 2010) with John Ehrenberg, J. Patrice McSherry, and Jose Ramon Sanchez, the most comprehensive textbook on the 2003 Iraq War and its aftermath, analyzing the event from the conceptual framework of preemption. In it, Sayej focuses on the civil war in Iraq as well as indigenous voices for democratization.
After the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, Sayej gave a talk on campus, "A New Middle East? Revolution, Democracy and the Authoritarian Legacy." Sayej discussed the significance and implications of the popular uprisings in a region traditionally labeled as "immune to democracy." She also served as a faculty expert on the situation for the media, giving a live 15-minute interview on WDRC-AM's 'The Talk of Connecticut' Feb. 3, 2011, and speaking to The Day or a Feb. 1 story.
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