International Forum for Democratic Studies Research Council

Steven Heydemann

Smith College

Steven Heydemann holds the Janet Wright Ketcham ’53 Chair in Middle East Studies at Smith College.  From 2007-2015 he served as Vice President of Applied Research on Conflict and Senior Advisor for the Middle East at the US Institute of Peace.  Prior to joining USIP, he was Director of the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University.  From 1997 to 2001, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. Earlier, from 1990-1997, he directed the Program on International Peace and Security and the Program on the Near and Middle East at the Social Science Research Council in New York.

Dr. Heydemann is a political scientist who specializes in the comparative politics and the political economy of the Middle East, with a particular focus on Syria. His interests include authoritarian governance, economic development, social policy, political and economic reform and civil society. Among his many publications are: “Authoritarian Learning and Counterrevolution,” in The Arab Uprisings Explained: New Contentious Politics in the Middle East, ed. Marc Lynch (Columbia University Press, 2014, with Reinoud Leenders); Middle East Authoritarianisms:  Governance, Contestation, and Regime Resilience in Syria and Iran (Stanford University Press, 2013, co-edited with Reinoud Leenders); “Tracking the Arab Spring: Syria and Arab Authoritarianism.”  Journal of Democracy, Vol. 24, No. 4 (October 2013); “Social Pacts and the Persistence of Authoritarianism in the Middle East,” in Debating Arab Authoritarianism: Dynamics and Durability in Non-Democratic Regimes, ed. Oliver Schlumberger (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007); “Upgrading Authoritarianism in the Arab World,” (Saban Center, Brookings Institution, November 2007); Networks of Privilege in the Middle East: The Politics of Economic Reform Revisited, edited volume (Palgrave Press, 2004); War, Institutions and Social Change in the Middle East, edited volume (University of California Press, 2000), and Authoritarianism in Syria: Institutions and Social Conflict, 1946-1970 (Cornell University Press, 1999).

Forum Events

“The Global Campaign Against Democratic Norms,” International Forum for Democratic Studies (Jul. 15, 2015)

Forum Publications

VIDEO: “Democracy Ideas: Steven Heydemann on ‘Syria and the Future of Authoritarianism'”, International Forum for Democratic Studies (Oct. 15, 2013)

“Syria and the Future of Authoritarianism,” Journal of Democracy (Oct. 2013)

Related Publications

“What Doesn’t Kill Assad Could Make Him Stronger,” authored by Joshua Keating, Slate (Oct. 18, 2013)