The course will have a twin foci: On the one hand, we will examine various theoretical formulations of the notion of civil society. We will study writings by classical liberal theorists as well as their critique from Hegelian and Marxist perspectives. On the other hand, we will engage the empirical, comparative analyses of civil society and discuss related issues of democratization, multiculturalism public sphere and identity politics. The experiences of East European and Middle East/North African countries (including Turkey's) will receive special attention. The intention of the course is to bring the theoretical and empirical aspects of the debates on civil society together in an attempt to clarify and critically appropriate this often-used but ill-understood concept.