Bruce Rutherford

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Bruce Rutherford

Associate Professor of Political Science

Department/Office Information

Political Science
121 Persson Hall


  • Yale University. Ph.D. in Political Science.
  • Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  M.A. in Law and Diplomacy.
  • Williams College.  B.A. in Political Economy.


Comparative politics, Middle Eastern politics, China's role in the Middle East, political Islam, democratization, constitutionalism, comparative authoritarianism, technology and politics.



Modern Egypt: What Everyone Needs to Know. Co-authored with Jeannie Sowers.
Oxford University Press, 2018.  

Egypt After Mubarak: Liberalism, Islam, and Democracy in the Arab World.

Princeton University Press, 2008.  Re-issued with a new 50-page introduction in 2013.  As of July 2016, the book sold 4,224 copies.  It has been reviewed in Perspectives on Politics, Foreign Affairs, Middle East Journal, Digest of Middle East Studies, Asian Politics & Policy, and Middle East Policy.

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

“Egypt’s New Authoritarianism under al-Sisi.” The Middle East Journal. 72:2 (Spring 2018), pp. 185-208.
            An expanded version of this article will appear in Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould
            Mohamedou, ed., State Building in the Middle East and North Africa:
            One Hundred Years of Nationalism, Religion, and Politics
.  I.B. Tauris, forthcoming. 

“What Do Egypt’s Islamists Want?  Moderate Islam and the Rise of Islamic Constitutionalism.”
The Middle East Journal. 60:4 (Autumn 2006) pp. 707-731. 

Chapters in peer-reviewed edited volumes

“Surviving under Rule by Law: Explaining Ideological Change in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” in Said Arjomand and Nathan Brown (eds.) Constitutionalism, the Rule of Law, and the Politics of Administration in Egypt and Iran. Albany: SUNY Press, 2013, pp. 249-278.  

“What Do Egypt’s Islamists Want?  Moderate Islam and the Rise of Islamic Constitutionalism in Mubarak’s Egypt,” in Mehrzad Boroujerdi (ed.) Mirror for the Muslim Prince: Islam and the Theory of Statecraft. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2013, pp. 240-278. 

“Egypt: The Origins and Consequences of the January 25 Uprising,” in Mark Haas and David Lesch (eds.) The Arab Spring: Change and Resistance in the Middle East. Boulder: Westview Press, 2012, pp. 35-63. 

"Can an Islamic Group Aid Democratization?" in John W. Chapman and Ian Shapiro (eds.) Democratic Community. New York: New York University Press, 1993,     p. 313-335.

Articles in non-peer-reviewed venues

"To Stop Sisi, Strengthen Egypt's Judiciary." ​, ​Oct. 22, 2018

“Egypt: Navigating an Uncertain Transition,” Great Decisions, 2013, pp. 19-30  

“Egypt: Key Ally in the Middle East,” Great Decisions, 2009, pp. 53-64    

Works in Progress

The Mixed Legacies of the Arab Spring: Understanding the Different Paths of Arab Authoritarianism

This book manuscript examines why the large-scale public demonstrations of the Arab spring produced such widely varying outcomes -- from a more open and democratic regime (Tunisia), to a deeper and more brutal authoritarianism (Egypt), to civil war (Syria, Libya, Yemen), to regime continuity with little change (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco).  It proposes a theoretical framework that explains the different types of authoritarian regimes in the Arab world, when these regimes are likely to change, and the likely trajectory of change in each case.  It tests and refines this framework through close study of Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.  It concludes by offering likely trajectories for future political change in the Arab world.  It also offers suggestions to international actors regarding policies that are likely to facilitate the emergence of rule-based, accountable, and participatory governments in the region.    


China and the Future of the Middle East

This project examines the motives for China's expanding presence in the Middle East; the likely trajectory of this expansion; its impact on the region's politics and economies; the likelihood of greater tension with the United States as this expansion unfolds; and strategies for minimizing this great power tension.   


Invited Lectures (Selected)

  • “Egypt’s New Authoritarianism under al-Sisi.”  Presented at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, October 30, 2017. 
  • “The Judiciary and Political Change in Egypt.” Cornell University Law School.  This lecture was part of Cornell Law School’s colloquium on Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa.  October 23, 2012. 
  • “Building the Rule of Law in Egypt.”  Presented at the symposium, “Building the Rule of Law in the Developing World,” held at the University of South Carolina, May 10-11, 2012. 
  • “An Islamic Vision of Constitutional Order.” Presented at the symposium, “Justice and Civil Society in the Muslim World,” held at Montclair State University, April 9, 2012. 
  • “The Arab Spring and the Future of the Middle East.” University of Oklahoma. This talk was the keynote address at the President’s Associates dinner at the University.  November 29, 2011.   
  • “Egypt after Mubarak: Islam, Constitutionalism, and the Prospects for the Future.”  American University, October 7, 2011. 
  • "What Next for Egypt: The Succession from Hosni Mubarak and Beyond.”  World Affairs Council of Houston, Texas, October 20, 2010. 
  • “Explaining Ideological Change in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.” McGill University, Institute for the Study of International Development.  February 20, 2010. 
  • “Egypt after Mubarak: Challenges and Opportunities in Egyptian Politics.” The Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2009.     
  • “The Prospects for Democracy in the Middle East.” Annual training conference for the political directorate of the United Nations. New York, August 24, 2009.     
  • “Why do Islamist Groups Moderate? Explaining Ideological Change in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” Project on Democracy in the Middle East, Syracuse University, April 23, 2009.  

Paper Presentations (Selected)

  • “Egypt’s New Authoritarianism under al-Sisi.” Presented at the workshop, “In Quest of a New Social Contract: How to Reconcile Stability and Development in the Middle East and North Africa.”  German Development Institute (Bonn), February 23, 2018.
  • “The Future of Egypt: From Despotic to Infrastructural Power?” Presented at the annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association, November 19, 2017. 
  • “Islam in the Egyptian Constitutional Debate.”  Presented at the conference, “The Legal Dimensions of the Arab Spring,” held at George Washington University, April 17, 2012.
  • “Where is Egypt Headed? An Analysis of Constitutional Debates.”  Presented at the Northeastern Political Science Association annual conference, November 18, 2011. 
  • “Why Do Islamist Groups Moderate?  Explaining Ideological Change in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, September 4, 2009. 
  • “Imperfect Democrats: The Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Democracy.”  Presented at the conference, “The Decline of Secularism in Egypt,” held at Simon Fraser University, August 14-15, 2008.
  • “Constitutionalism and Democracy in Egypt.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, November 2004.

Media Interviews and Editorials


Interviews regarding the Middle East with CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg News (TV and Radio), Fox News Radio, al-Jazeera, The Washington Post, BBC (radio, online, and TV), Anadolu news agency (Turkey), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (in Calgary, Victoria, Halifax, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Toronto), Agence France Presse, Radio Russia, Australian National Radio, NPR-Los Angeles, NPR-Oklahoma City, KCBS-San Francisco, The New York Forum, The Huffington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Sirius XM Satellite Radio News, WZBC radio (Boston), The Associated Press, Radio Free Europe, The Charles Adler Show (Canada), The Toronto Star (Canada), The National (United Arab Emirates), Afaq al-Mustaqbal (United Arab Emirates), Sanlian Life Weekly (China), Today’s Zaman (Turkey), Deutsche Welle (Germany), Chai FM (South Africa),  La Segunda (Chile), Diario La Tercera (Chile), OnTV (Egypt), Voice of Russia, Utica Observer-Dispatch, and the Syracuse Post-Standard.


  • “Egypt: Citizens and Soldiers.” The Montreal Review, March 2011.
  • “Now Comes the Hard Part.”, February 10, 2011.
  • “Three Keys to Egypt’s Future.”, February 8, 2011.

Other Scholarly Activities

Reviewed book manuscripts for Cambridge University Press (on 2 occasions), Lynne Rienner Press (on 2 occasions), Taylor and Francis press, American University in Cairo Press, Princeton University Press, and Oxford University Press. 

Refereed articles for World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, and The International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Reviewed proposals for the National Science Foundation and the Canadian Social Science Research Council.


For Research

  • Harvard University, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Middle East Initiative.  Visiting Research Fellow, Academic year 2018/2019.
  • Colgate University, Research Council, Associate Faculty Leave Award, Academic year 2018/2019.
  • Colgate University, Research Council, Picker Fellowship, March 2010.  This fellowship supported field research in Egypt and Lebanon in Spring 2011. 
  • Harvard Law School, Islamic Legal Studies Program, Visiting Research Fellow, Spring and Summer 2006.
  • American Research Center in Egypt, Research Associate, Fall 2005.
  • Princeton University, Center of International Studies, Visiting Research Fellow. Academic year, 2001-2002.
  • Princeton University, Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.  Visiting Research Fellow.  Academic year, 2000-2001.
  • Yale University, dissertation nominated by the political science department for the Gabriel Almond prize of the American Political Science Association, May 1999. 
  • Social Science Research Council, Dissertation Fellowship, June - August, 1995.  Supported field research in Cairo, Egypt.     
  • J. William Fulbright Program (IIE), Dissertation Fellowship, June 1994 - May 1995.  Supported field research in Cairo.
  • American Research Center in Egypt, Dissertation Fellowship, 1994-1995.  Declined in favor of Fulbright fellowship.   
  • Yale Center for International and Area Studies, Arabic Language Fellowship, June - August, 1994.  Supported advanced study in Cairo of the style of Arabic used in court opinions. 
  • Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA), The American University in Cairo. Arabic language fellowship, June 1993 - May 1994. Supported twelve months of advanced Arabic language training in Cairo. 

For Teaching:

  • Colgate University, received 15 Torch Medals from graduating seniors in recognition of teaching and mentorship, 2014-18. 
  • Colgate University, nominated for the Phi Eta Sigma “Professor of the Year” award for outstanding teaching.  2002-03, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16.
  • Williams College, Class of 1955 Visiting Professor of International Studies, Spring 2020

Service to Colgate University (Selected)

  • Co-founder and former director of the Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
  • Director of the University’s semester study abroad program in Geneva, Switzerland, spring 2013 and spring 2018. 
  • Brought 11 speakers to campus primarily to discuss the Middle East and Islam.
  • Organized 8 faculty panels at Colgate to discuss matters related to the Middle East.
  • Lectured on 3 occasions to Alumni groups regarding the Middle East.