Chris Alexander

Education

Ph.D. and M.S. Duke University
B.S. University of Tennessee

My teaching focuses on the politics of the Middle East and North Africa. Occasionally, I also teach an introductory course in international relations. My primary job at Davidson involves serving as director of the Dean Rusk International Studies Program.

Research Interests and Background

My research focuses on the politics and economics of the modern Middle East. North Africa (Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco) is my more specific area of focus. I've written about labor movements, Islamist movements, general political and economic development, and the Arab Spring in Tunisia.

Helping students have life-changing experiences abroad is an important part of our work at the Dean Rusk Program. There is a joyous irony in the fact that I have this fabulous job: I didn't go abroad in college. No one I knew did, either. It wasn't part of how we understood the purpose of a college education. I didn't go abroad until I went to Tunisia for the first time as a 25-year old doctoral student in political science. That experience transformed my life in ways that had nothing to do with my academic research. What I learned about politics in North Africa was critical to my career. But what I learned about myself and my own culture made me a different human being. I wish that I could have had that experience when I was in college.

I don't get a do-over, but I do get to help today's students have experiences that excite them but unsettle them, that empower them but make them humble, that help them to know themselves by knowing others. Davidson believes that having these experiences is a fundamental part of a liberal arts education. That's what makes me passionate about this work in this place.

Teaching

Politics of North Africa
Politics of the Middle East
Introduction to World Politics