Politics

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Politics.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

POLI100: Politics and International Relations in the Contemporary World

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only
    • Lent / Summer Terms only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 10 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 5 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 5 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 20 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 10 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 10 ECTS Credits.

Course Description

The course is divided into two main sections. In the first term students are introduced to the principles, practice and institutions of ‘liberal democracy’. Liberal democracy is the political and economic order that for many years has characterised life in ‘the West’. We begin the course by looking at the foundations of the liberal state, liberty and democracy, and examine their meaning, value and compatibility. We then explore two states that exemplify those principles (the UK and USA). Finally we will survey some of the institutions of liberal democracy which work within and beyond the state level (such as the European Union and the United Nations).

The second term concentrates on the international system. First we look at different ways of understanding the world of states, a field of study known as International Relations. We then look at the application of these IR theories to the non-Western world, in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. We will explore the complex and challenging role that the USA has on the current world political stage, and take a survey of some contemporary issues in politics.

The course concludes in the third term where we will build upon all of the material covered in the course to consider instances of global crisis.

Educational Aims

This course aims to introduce students to some of the key concerns of politics and international relations, introducing some of the core issues that will be pursued throughout the degree in the department. The aim of the course is to provide students with the foundation, both in terms of study skills and intellectual background, that will enable students to grasp the 'bigger picture' of the subject.

Outline Syllabus

This course explores some of the main themes and issues in Politics and Governance in contemporary times.  It does so by building up a story about -liberal democracy' and 'the state'.  These ideas have come to both dominate our political landscape - but now face serious challenges and threats.  The course is divided into three main sections.

In the first term we start by looking at the principles of liberal democracy (democracy liberalism, and property) before looking at two states which exemplify those principles (the UK and USA).  We will then survey some of the institutions of liberal democracy which work within and beyond the state level (such as the European Union and the United Nations).

The second term concentrates on the historical development of the international system of states focusing on the events surrounding the Cold War to our present situation; an examination of how governance is organised and globalised through the realms of politics and economics; and the development of structure, institutions, and ideas which have led to the possibility of global governance.

Finally, in the third term, we will explore of the complex and challenging role that the USA has on the current world political stage, and take a survey of some contemporary issues in politics.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.220: Modern Political Thought

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

This course explores a range of ideas which are central to any understanding of politics. It focuses on the relationship between negative and positive accounts of liberty. The course is divided into two sections over two terms.

In the first term, we will examine and discuss the distinction between the two accounts, and apply those accounts to the analysis of the work of Hayek and Mill, as well as advancing the capacity for essay writing skills.

In the second term we will explore the thought of thinkers who are associated with the ideas of equality and community (Rousseau, Marx, the Fabians, and Rawls).

Educational Aims

Students will develop the capacity to:

(a) argue effectively

(b) communicate appropriately in seminar formats

(c) write essays successfully by completing the coursework assessments

(d) apply concepts to a range of pressing issues of contemporary importance.

Outline Syllabus

The course is divided into two sections over two terms.

In the first term we will a) examine the distinction between positive and negative liberty, developing a conceptual toolkit by which to understand and analyse the work of key political thinkers, and b) advance key essay writing skills.

In the second term we will explore the thought of thinkers who are associated with the ideas of equality and community (Rousseau, Marx, the Fabians, and Rawls).

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 65%
  • Exam: 30%
  • Presentation: 5%

PPR.221: International Relations and Security

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
     
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
     
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

The principal objective of this course is to provide a relatively comprehensive and integrated foundation to the study of international relations by introducing you to its basic conceptual vocabulary and theoretical concerns and by applying this conceptual knowledge to an understanding of changes and developments in the international system. The course covers the historical development of the discipline in the twentieth century into the twenty-first century, moving from the orthodoxy that has come to dominate mainstream Anglo-American international relations (Realism and Liberalism) through to the various challenges that have emerged from critical schools of thought. The course examines how different theories of international relations illuminate and interrogate some of the central ethico-political problems of the 'international' in modern history.

Educational Aims

The principal objective of this course is to provide a relatively comprehensive and integrated foundation to the study of international relations by introducing students to its basic conceptual vocabulary and theoretical concerns and by applying this conceptual knowledge to an understanding of changes and developments in the international system.

Outline Syllabus

The course covers the historical development of the discipline in the 20th century into the 21st century, moving from the orthodoxy that has come to dominate mainstream Anglo-American international relations (Realism and Liberalism) through to the various challenges that have emerged.  Thus the course invites students to consider the ways in which these theories inform our understanding of international relations both in terms of ontology (what the object of study is) and epistemology (what constitutes knowledge about international relations).  Workshops ground the theoretical claims in empirical examples to illustrate the ways in which theory helps to shape our understanding of international relations.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.222: The Politics of Development

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

This course introduces you to the main approaches to development. It provides you with an overview of the main theoretical approaches, especially modernisation theory, World Systems Analysis, feminist theories and postcolonialism. It relates these theories to issues and case studies from the South, including the debt question, the impact of globalisation, global governance, corporate social responsibility, poverty and inequality, social movements and the activities of NGOs. The course comprises two interrelated parts. The first term deals with the main theoretical approaches to development. The second term pursues the links between the conceptual issues raised in term one and connects them to global -and national - focused perspectives on the politics of development. These perspectives are illustrated by examples and cases drawn from Africa and Latin America.

Educational Aims

This course introduces students to the main approaches to development.  It provides students with an overview of the main theoretical approaches, especially modernisation theory, World Systems Analysis, feminist theories, and postcolonialism.  It relates these theories to issues and case studies from the ?South', including the debt question, the impact of globalisation, global governance, corporate social responsibility, poverty and inequality, social movements and the activities of NGOs.

Outline Syllabus

The course comprises two interrelated parts.  The first term deals with the main theoretical approaches to development.  The second term pursues the links between the conceptual issues raised in term one and connects them to global- and national-focused perspectives on the politics of development. These perspectives are illustrated by examples and cases drawn from Africa and Latin America.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.223: The United Kingdom: State, Politics and Policies

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

The course aims to deepen your understanding of the major ideas, arrangements, policies and controversies which have characterised post-war British politics. The course examines the evolution of the politics of the United Kingdom from an era broadly characterised by consensus and stability (1945-70) to one which has proved much more turbulent in a variety of ways (1970 onwards). This examination is set within the context of rival political traditions and of competing theories of representative government. Topics covered include changes in electoral behaviour and developments in the political parties, as well as consideration of the problems of governing the component parts of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland). The focus moves to key institutions of central government (Parliament and the executive) and on the UK's changing relationship with Europe. The last part of the course examines the development of public policy in the areas of welfare and the economy.

Educational Aims

The course aims to deepen students' understanding of the major ideas, arrangements, policies and controversies which have characterised post-war British politics

Outline Syllabus

The course examines the evolution of the politics of the United Kingdom from an era broadly characterised by consensus and stability (1945-70) to one which has proved much more turbulent in a variety of ways (1970 onwards).  This examination is set within the context of rival political traditions and of competing theories of representative government. Topics covered in the first term include changes in electoral behaviour and developments in the political parties, as well as consideration of the problems of governing the component parts of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland).  In the second term the focus is on the key institutions of central government (Parliament and the executive) and on the UK's changing relationship with Europe.  The last part of the course examines the development of public policy in the areas of welfare and the economy.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.224: The Politics of the European Union

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

‘There is no more important time to study and understand European politics’

This 20 week module focuses on all aspects of European politics, government, economics and public policy. At a time of unprecedented financial crisis and the prospect of a British exit from the EU itself, the module offers a comprehensive focus on all key issues. It includes an analysis of the process and dynamics of European integration, especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union; an account of the various European institutions which have developed (including the work of the Commission in Brussels), a discussion of key public policy areas (with an emphasis on the European Social Model) and finally a focus on European party politics, covering influential European ideologies such as Social Democracy, Christian Democracy and also Euro-scepticism.

Educational Aims

The course is intended to provide a comprehensive survey of the politics of European Union, covering the origins of the EU, the principal institutions of the EU, the main policies of the EU, and the main theoretical debates on the EU. Students will be expected to tie theories of integration to the actual workings of the Union.

Outline Syllabus

The course examines the origins, workings and policies of the European Union.  It begins by considering the treaties that led to the contemporary union and focuses on the key strains of thought that have given rise to contemporary debates about the form the European Union ought to take.  The structure of decision-making is explored with particular emphasis upon the role(s) of the European Council, Council of Ministers and the Commission.  The impact of the enlargement(s) of the Union will be explored with particular concern for the implications of the enlargements for the decision-making structure.  The course then considers policies and issues of the Union, first, with regard to ?domestic' European issues such as the CAP and Economic and Monetary Union and, second, with regard to Europe's external policies especially European contributions to world trade policies and Common Foreign and Security Policy.  Finally, the course will consider the question of whether the European Union is moving to a federal arrangement.

Assessment Proportions

Exam: 60%

Coursework: 40%

PPR.225: Introduction to Peace Studies

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

The course aims to: investigate and critically examine the theoretical and practical issues surrounding peace and violence within modern society; to examine the conditions of peace and war, and assess the scope for conflict resolution, non-violence and reconciliation; and to understand the main approaches to peace studies and apply them to contemporary issues. The first term introduces the main approaches within peace studies, exploring the development of ideas in the field as they bear on the roots of violence and the understanding of peace and peace-making. In the second term we apply this thinking to contemporary conflicts and focus on policies of conflict prevention and conflict resolution. The course is taught in a non-dogmatic and interdisciplinary manner, and you are encouraged to develop their own perspectives and come to your own conclusions following discussion and debate throughout the year.

Educational Aims

To investigate and critically examine the theoretical and practical issues surrounding peace and violence within modern society. To examine the conditions of peace and war, and assess the scope for conflict resolution, non-violence and reconciliation. To understand the main approaches to peace studies and apply them to contemporary issues.

Outline Syllabus

The first term introduces the main approaches within peace studies, exploring the development of ideas in the field as they bear on the roots of violence and the understanding of peace and peace-making.  In the second term we apply this thinking to contemporary conflicts and focus on policies of conflict prevention and conflict resolution.  The course is taught in a non-dogmatic and interdisciplinary manner, and students are encouraged to develop their own perspectives and come to their own conclusions following discussion and debate throughout the year.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.226: Comparative Politics of the Asia Pacific and the Middle East

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

This course will survey the comparative politics of Asia Pacific and the Middle East respectively.  The syllabus will typically include the following topics: introducing the region: theoretical frameworks; nationalism and nation-building; democratisation; colonialism and its legacies; gender and politics; state and citizenship; social and political movements; political culture.

Educational Aims

The aim of this module is to offer students from a wide range of backgrounds the opportunity to engage with the most important debates and issues in the study of the politics of the Middle East and Asia and to locate and contextualise them within wider debates and scholarship of global politics. This course aims to develop enhance critical understanding of a series of key issues in the politics of the contemporary Middle East and Asia, as well as familiarising students with a wide range of case studies.

Outline Syllabus

The syllabus will typically include the following topics:

  • Introducing the region: a theoretical framework;
  • Nationalism and nation-building;
  • Democratisation; Colonialism and its Legacies;
  • Gender and Politics;
  • State and Citizenship;
  • Social and Political Movements;
  • Political Culture.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.228: Economics for the Real World

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available: Full Year Course Michaelmas Term only . NOTE: If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits: Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits. Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits. Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

This module explores the analysis of contemporary economic problems and issues. It will help you develop a knowledge of the analysis deployed by policy makers and by media commentators when presenting potential solutions to a range of contemporary economic challenges. At the end of the module you should better understand the character of economic debates, be able to account for a range of (political) positions on the market economy and have some experience of the interaction between political and economic analyses both in academic analysis and in more general policy debates. More generally, this module is intended to demystify the debates about economics in the media, in political debates, in specialised policy prescriptions and help you develop a nuanced appreciation of your own analyses of contemporary market society.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • compare and contrast the major economic approaches to the analysis of contemporary market society;
  • understand the different ways of developing arguments about economic phenomena
  • account for the range of political positions on the problems of market society
  • better understand specialised debates about economic matters, including a knowledge of specialised terminology
  • understand and criticise debates in the media about economic policy
  • synthesise accounts of economic phenomena from competing analyses;

Outline Syllabus

Intro: What are the key questions we ask economists?

Section one: What is economics?

Including topics:

  • What is economics? Brief history of the discipline  how its focus developed; why we might need to think about the economy
  • What is produced and by whom? From subsistence to the division of labour and complex economies
  • What are markets and how do they work? Supply  demand - prices; need for property, alienability, contract; regulatory forms/limits
  • What is money? Where does it come from  fractional reserve banking; debt/credit; fiat money  controlling the money supply
  • What is capitalism? Definitions and periodization; what is profit and who makes it? Capital accumulation  circuits of capital; modes of production;

 Section two: who are the main actors?

 Including topics:

  • Individuals  as consumers; rational behaviour or bounded rationality; behavioural economics
  • States  the role of regulation and rule of law; fiscal policies; controversies over the size of the state and its impact on economic behaviour/practice
  • Firms/Companies/Corporations  why firms exist; incorporation and other legal forms; the global supply chain;
  • Technology  Technological determinism; role of innovation in development; technology vs. employment?.

 Section three: back to the key questions  how might we answer the question(s) we started with?

 Including topics:

  •  How might we understand political/economic power?
  • How free can the economy be; can the economy really be governed?
  • Is debt (in its various forms) a problem?
  • How important is economic inequality?
  • Why do people disagree over economic policy?
  • Can ethics play a role in the economy?

The module concludes with a conference event (modelled on Richardson Institute UG Research event), looking at a timely controversy.

Please note: The topics described and pattern of delivery are indicative and may vary from year to year.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

PPR.239: Indian Politics, Society and Religion

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: At least one entry-level course in politics.

Course Description

This course aims to introduce and familiarise you to the interplay between politics, society and religion in the world’s largest democracy, India. At a time when India is emerging as a global power and economic powerhouse despite persistent poverty and various socio-political fissures, a critical balance must be struck in our understanding between its potential and its problems. India offers powerful lessons on the challenges and achievements of democracy in a deeply pluralistic and unequal society. An examination of these issues opens up our conceptual preconceptions about democracy, religion, secularism, discrimination, globalization and political mobilization, which tend to be structured by knowledge of Western polities. The particular issues concerning large populations of many different religions and huge social differences offer pathways of understanding to many pressing global issues.

Educational Aims

This course aims to provide students with knowledge of the complex political and social realities of India, in the particular context of its religious and social diversity.

The module as a whole will help students engage with questions about the political features of Indian democracy and society, especially in the context of the complex forces of public religion and caste dynamics. In what way is India a unique experiment in democracy? What are the challenges, both traditional and modern that face such a democracy, especially one that has high levels of inequality, and a constant battle between discrimination and justice towards its array of minorities? What is a minority and what is a majority in India, and what implications does this have for other societies, including Western ones?

Outline Syllabus

This course aims to introduce and familiarise students to the interplay between politics, society and religion in the world’s largest democracy, India. At a time when India is emerging as a global power and economic powerhouse despite persistent poverty and various socio-political fissures, a critical balance must be struck in our understanding between its potential and its problems. India offers powerful lessons on the challenges and achievements of democracy in a deeply pluralistic and unequal society. An examination of these issues opens up our conceptual preconceptions about democracy, religion, secularism, discrimination, globalization  and political mobilization, which tend to be structured by knowledge of Western polities. The particular issues concerning large populations of many different religions and huge social differences offer pathways of understanding to many pressing global issues.

The main themes in Michaelmas Term will come under the heading of ‘Democracy, Religion and Social Change’, will involve i. democracy in theory and practice in a pluralistic and diverse nation-state; ii. secularism in a deeply religiously plural and ancient society influenced by the West but with a different history; iii. gender and feminism in Indian politics and public religion; and iv. the impact of globalization on media, religion and politics. Lent Term will be on ‘Religious Minorities, Caste Politics and Dalits in India’, and cover i. the general question of religious minorities; ii. Indian Muslims; iii. Indian Christians; iv. the politics of religious conversion; v. and the politics of caste, in particular of Dalits and their relationship to Christianity.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.321: Reading Political Theory

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Terms Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

This course gives you the opportunity to read and study the thought of two of the seminal thinkers in political theory. This course is, therefore, an opportunity to explore the texts slowly, methodically and in depth. It is also an opportunity to link that thought to the wider literature that has developed as a response to the thinkers’ ideas. In so doing we develop a more thorough understanding of the ideas of the thinker in question, and see how those ideas link into a wider systematic and philosophic whole.

 

Educational Aims

The ultimate aim of the course is not only to deepen students understanding of the thinkers under review and the nature of political theory - it is also intended to encourage them to reflect on their own roles as members of an academic community. As such, the course will offer some direct guidance, but will also provide an element of choice so as students can direct and connect with their own learning experiences. 1. Give students a chance to develop deeper knowledge of the political theories of the thinkers under review. 2. Give students an appreciation of those thinkers not only in terms of some specific political ideas, but how those ideas link up within a body of philosophical thought. 3. Enable students to approach and read a body of political theory. 4. Make students familiar with the academic standards and forms of research connected to the practice of theory - and to enable them to demonstrate that they can partake in scholarly academic study and debate.

Outline Syllabus

This module gives students the opportunity to explore the thought of two political theorists in depth. In this way it offers an alternative to the popular survey modules that the Department already offers. Intrinsic to its aim is the attendant notion that students should take responsibility for their own study and research. In this way students not only have the opportunity to direct their own learning, but the module also produces new combinations and responses from students and staff alike.  Indicatively the syllabus will include the following topics:

Plato: forms and the good-itself, the structure of the kallipolis (Platos ideal polity), the lies of the rulers and censorship, private property, women, children, and slaves, freedom and totalitarianism.

Aristotle: the link between politics and ethics, community and the political animal, natural law, the classification of constitutions, women, children, and slavery, economic

Hume: experience and knowledge, moral judgement, natural and artificial virtues, justice and conventions, property and justice, government, contract theory, utilitarianism and conservatism.

Kant: freedom and autonomy, the role of the individual, the role of reason, cosmopolitanism, government by agreement, censorship and the state, enlightenment.

Nietzsche: the problems with reading Nietzsche, early political philosophy, later political philosophy, the roleof the state, the death of God, the slave revolt in morals, the Ubermensch, sovereign individuals, radicalaristocracy.

Marx: the early Marx, Hegel, species-being, alienation, historical materialism, private property, bourgeois philosophy, critique of the modern state, the communist alternative.

Popper: piecemeal social engineering, the link between science and politics, the scientific method, the Open Society, the critique of historicism, falsification and progress.

Hayek: liberalism and democracy, markets, the errors of planning, socialism and freedom, tradition, the rule of law, private property, social justice.

Assessment Proportions

Exam: 60%

Coursework: 40%

PPR.324: Politics of Global Danger

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

What makes the world dangerous? Is global politics the extension of war by other means? Do security policies inscribe peace with the logic of war? In what ways have revolutions made the world more rather than less dangerous?  Why does securing life appear to increase rather than decrease global danger? In exploring these and related questions this course will introduce you to the ways in which biopolitical discourses of security and war differ from geostrategic discourses of security and war. The world is said to be dangerous in many changing and conflicting ways. Discourses of security and war teach us what to fear and prioritise danger differently. They challenge how we think. Part one introduces you to ways of thinking about the problematisation of security and war, including new approaches to understanding power. Part two applies these new perspectives to interrogate changes in the practices of security and war, especially those introduced by the informationalisation of weapons and the weaponisation of information.

Educational Aims

This module examines how danger, fear and insecurity function in the politics of liberal democracies. Focusing primarily on literatures and debates that have emerged since the 1990s, the module is interested in the perspectives that argue that: ‘In the course of a gradual neutralization of politics and the progressive surrender of traditional tasks of the state, security becomes the basic principle of state activity. What used to be one among several definitive measures of public administration until the first half of the twentieth century, now becomes the sole criterium of political legitimation.’ (Agamben 2001). The module asks three major questions. First, what is the intellectual basis for the claim made by critical security scholars that security is the sole criterium of political legitimation? Second, according to critical security studies scholars what political consequences emerge from the increasing ‘securitization’ of life in liberal democracy?  How do critical security studies expand the empirical and ethico-political terrain of security studies?

Outline Syllabus

The module will outline some of the main contributions to debates on danger, fear and insecurity in political and social thought. The syllabus will include the following topics:

  • The transformation of danger and threat in the post-Cold War world as explained by Paul Virilio and critical security studies scholars
  • The critical responses to mainstream approaches to global danger
  • The central ideas of the debate about ‘emergency’ and the political as developed by Giorgio Agamben and critical security studies scholars
  • The central ideas in debates on the political economy of insecurity
  • The central ideas in debates about uncertainty and risk in analysis of global danger

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.325: International Political Economy of Globalization

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

Globalisation remains a buzzword in academic and policy discourses. It is often related to the acceleration of global communication as well as internationalisation of the economic, political and social processes. This course addresses some of these changes especially those related to trade, production and investment in the international political economy. There are many approaches in understanding these changes, this course introduces you to both liberal and critical ones (eg neo-Gramscianism). Drawing from their insights, it investigates and analyses the roles of state and non-state actors (eg transnational corporations and NGOs) in rebuilding the governance of global production and finance. Finally, it examines the rise of transnational justice movements in offering alternatives to globalisation and its uneven development, before and after the financial crisis of 2007.

Educational Aims

The course offers students the opportunity to:

  • explore globalization and related socio-economic changes in the international political economy;
  • examine different interpretations and approaches in understanding these global changes;
  • apply these approaches to neoliberal globalization and selected new phenomena (e.g., corporate social responsibility and global financial crisis);
  • investigate the effects of these changes on class, cultural, ethnic, and gender relations; and
  • examine and investigate the rise of transnational justice movements that propose alternatives for debate

Outline Syllabus

The syllabus consists of 10 two-hour workshops:

  • Introduction
  • IPE Theories on Globalization I: Neo-Liberal and Neo-Statist Approaches
  • IPE Theories on Globalization II: Interdependence and Governance Approaches
  • IPE Theories on Globalization III: Neo-Gramscian Approach
  • IPE Theories on Globalization IV: Neo-Foucauldian Approach
  • Globalization, Neo-Liberal Hegemony and 'Disciplinary Neo-Liberalism'
  • Globalization of Production, Corporate Social Responsibility and New Ethicalism
  • Globalization of Finance and Financial Crisis
  • Globalization, Transnational Class and Resistance
  • Conclusion

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.328: Understanding External Intervention in Violent Conflicts

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

This course will examine the politics of external intervention in violent political conflicts and the attempts made to manage, prevent and transform these wars into more peaceful situations. The course aims to develop your understanding of how international organisations have attempted to intervene within conflict zones to prevent an escalation in conflict, to enforce UN resolutions or to assist externally mediated peace 'settlements'. The course also aims to provide you with an in-depth knowledge of how violent conflict has changed since the end of the Cold War and how transnational organisations such as the EU, UN and NATO have attempted to deal with the new challenges and opportunities presented since the beginning of the 1990s until the present day. Conceptually, the course will examine the principles of the liberal peace; state failure; international conflict prevention; peace keeping; and global governance. Empirically, the course will focus on post Cold War conflicts such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China.

Educational Aims

The course aims to develop student understanding of how international organisations have attempted to intervene within conflict zones to prevent an escalation in conflict, to enforce UN resolutions or to assist externally mediated peace settlements. The course aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of how violent conflict has changed since the end of the Cold War and how transnational organisations such as the EU, UN and NATO have attempted to deal with the new challenges and opportunities presented since the beginning of the 1990s until the present day.

Outline Syllabus

This 10 week module will examine the politics of external intervention inviolent political conflicts and at the attempts made to manage, prevent and transform these wars into more peaceful situations. Conceptually the course will examine the principles of democratic peace theory, state failure and international conflict prevention, peace-keeping and neo-liberal global governance. Empirically, the course will focus on post Cold War conflicts such as Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The syllabus will centre primarily on external interventions within violent conflicts with a particular focus on how the changing nature of violent conflict at the end of the Cold War (rise of intra- rather than inter-state conflict) led to new methods and norms for external third party intervention. The content of the syllabus will include the following themes: The Concept of the End of History, the New World Order and the changing nature of violent conflict at the end of the Cold War; The Theory and Practice of International Conflict Prevention; The Responsibility to Protect and the changing role of the UN; The complexities of intervening as neutral fact-finders in a war zone; The CNN Effect and role of the media in external intervention within Violent conflicts; The roles and impacts of Diaspora communities in violent conflict; The evolution of peace keeping and peace enforcement operations designed to end war; Global Governance, good governance and the democratic peace; Crisis Simulation Exercise: A meeting of the UN General Assembly over a current violent political conflict. Ending the War on Terror: The politics of reconstruction.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.330: Britain in the World

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

This course presents a detailed analysis of the major developments in British foreign policy and its role in the world since 1945. It explains these developments within a global context, offering rival interpretations of Britain’s changing role and status. The major themes include: the consequences of Britain’s participation in the Second World War; the retreat from Empire after 1945; the ‘special relationship’ with the United States; and the prolonged attempt to redefine Britain’s global role in the context of perceived economic and geopolitical decline. Understand the major developments in Britain’s role in the world since the Second World War.

Educational Aims

This module aims to:

  • Develop in students a detailed awareness of the main developments in British foreign policy since 1945.
  • Explain these developments within a global context.
  • Analyse British foreign policy in the light of the main theories of international relations.
  • Draw comparisons between the relative decline of Britain as a global power since 1945 and the experience of other 'great powers' of the past (and the present).
  •  Allow students to appreciate the institutional setting within which British foreign policy is made.

Outline Syllabus

The course consists of a critical analysis of the key developments in British Foreign Policy since 1945. The syllabus will include the following topics:

  • Background: Decline of a Great Power, 1870-1945;
  • The Audit of War, 1945-50;
  • Britain a a nuclear state;
  • From Empire to Commonwealth;
  • The 'Special Relationship';
  • Foreign Policy under Thatcher, 1979-90;
  • An ethical foreign policy? Britain under New Labour;
  • Conclusion: Still seeking a role?

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.332: US Foreign Policy since 1945

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics

Course Description

The module explores the role that the United States has played in international affairs since the Second World War. The module analyses the major historical developments in US foreign policy since 1945, including the outbreak of the Cold War; US engagement in Vietnam; the onset of détente and the eventual ending of the Cold War; attempts to institute a ‘new world order’ in the post-Cold War era; the impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the war on terror; the successes and failures of Barack Obama’s foreign policy; and, finally, the prospects for American power in the world in the decades to come. The module also examines the structure of the policy-making process in the US and considers the main competing theoretical conceptions of US foreign policy.

Educational Aims

The course aims to provide an analytical survey of US foreign policy since 1945. Students are encouraged to exercise a degree of objectivity when addressing issues of strong contemporary relevance, which are often subjects of fierce contention. In addition, the module fleshes out theories of international relations which are taught in the first year and in other courses. It also provides students with a sound knowledge of the US political system, which at present is not taught in any detail within the department.

Outline Syllabus

This 11 week course will cover the key developments in US Foreign Policy since 1945. In doing so it will focus on several themes, such as:

  • the power of the US President compared to other institutions;
  • the influence of the media and public opinion;
  • the move from regional to global power, and its implications for policy-making;
  • the cogency of international relations theories in explaining US Foreign Policy;
  • the so-called 'special relationship' between the US and the UK;
  • the future of US power in a multi-polar world and the aftermath of 9/11.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 40%

Exam: 60%

PPR.333: Contemporary Issues in the Middle East

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

This course introduces you to key issues in Middle East politics today. It explores the people, society and politics of the region and the role that religion, ethnicity, gender and class have played in shaping contemporary issues. It examines the major internal and external actors in the region; conflict and peace; the geo-strategic importance of the region; issues of political economy; political change and reform; the issue of identities in the Middle East and ideologies around this; the emergence of political Islam; rising anti-Americanism; 9/11 and the fall-out in the region from the 'war on terror'; the ‘Arab Spring’ and the unfolding revolutions.

Educational Aims

This course aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of key issues in the contemporary Middle East. The module will offer students the opportunity to gain an understanding of the people, society and politics of the region and the role that religion, ethnicity, gender and class have played in shaping contemporary issues. The course aims for students to gain a comprehensive understanding of: the major internal and external actors in the region; issues around conflict and peace; the geo-strategic importance of the region; issues of political economy (particularly in relation to oil); political change and reform; the issue of identities in the Middle East and ideologies around this and the emergence of political Islam.

Outline Syllabus

The course will cover contemporary issues in the Middle East. The syllabus will include the following topics: Introduction to the Middle East: people, society and politics; Voices of the Middle East: religion, ethnicity, gender and class; Internal and External Actors in the Middle East; Politics of Identity in the Middle East: the question of Arab unity; Political economies of the Middle East: power or dependence? Political change and reform; Political Islam; Peace and Conflict in the Region (2 weeks); The post 9/11 landscape: the war on terror and future prospects.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.336: Africa and Global Politics

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

African states are among the poorest, most artificial in the world. This means their relations with the global system have a critical impact on African politics from the global to the local level. The course has three main aims:

1) To provide an overview of the major issues facing Africa in the global system since independence, such as the debt crisis, poverty reduction strategies and aid relations

2) To introduce and assess alternative approaches to the study of the subject, through the analysis of particular issues facing African states, such as the nature of civil society, democratisation both from above and below and the role of NGOs

3) To contribute one perspective to an overall understanding of the new structure of the global system in the twenty-first century.

This course provides a historical and thematic introduction to the issues facing Africa in the international system today. The course is divided into four sections. The first section focuses on the impact of colonialism on shaping the economy, the state and perceptions of race. The second section examines the first four decades of independence. The third and fourth sections look at key contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS and actors such as China and South Africa.

Educational Aims

The course aims to:

  • furnish students with a historical approach to understanding contemporary issues facing African countries.
  •  examine how colonialism shaped the economy, state and society, better equipping students to understand the debt crisis, poor economic performance, state failure and the role of civil society.  
  • introduce students to cutting-edge debates around the roles of China, South Africa, foreign aid and remittances for future prospects for development on the continent. 

Outline Syllabus

The course will provide a historical and thematic introduction to the issues facing Africa in the international system today.  The syllabus will include the following topics:

  • Contemporary representations of 'Africa' and their historic roots
  • Africa's incorporation into the world system via the Atlantic Slave Trade
  • Colonial conquest, the colonial economy and the colonial state
  • Colonial ideology, anti-colonialism, decolonisation and independence
  • Debt, structural adjustment programmes, aid conditionality and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Poverty reduction, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the role of civil society
  • Gender, health care and HIV/AIDS 
  • Migration and the importance of remittances
  • The contemporary role of China in Africa: Friend or foe?
  • South Africa: past and present
  • An African economic recovery? 

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.339: Elections, Voters and Political Parties

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

This module focuses on the most fundamental component of democratic political systems – party politics.  In particular, it analyses key political behaviour issues related to models of voting, party organisation and public policy.  It adopts a broadly comparative approach, with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies in the west – especially the United Kingdom, but also other parts of Europe and the United States. 

Educational Aims

This module aims to examine:

  • The different variables and factors involved in voting behaviour
  • The various elements of electoral system design and choice
  • Developments in party organisation and strategies
  • The roots and causes of anti-party and anti-politics sentiment
  • Ideological changes in political parties
  • Cross-national comparisons of party systems
  • The relationship between public opinion, parties and public policy outcomes

Outline Syllabus

This module focuses on the most fundamental component of democratic political systems – elections. In particular, it analyses key political behaviour issues related to models of voting, electoral system design, and party organisation. It adopts a broadly comparative approach, with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies in the west – especially the UK, but also other parts of the EU and the US. The module will examine the merits of different voting behaviour models; the politics of electoral system design and choice; the rise of anti-party / anti-politics sentiment; as well as the modern methods parties utilise as they attempt to market themselves to voters. There will also be classes on developments in party organisation; contemporary party ideologies; the nature of party system change and continuity; and finally the relevance of public opinion to modern government and public policy.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.340: Islamic Politics

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce you in the inner dynamics of political Islam and the attendant challenges that come with it. It is a course designed as much for students with little or no background in Islamic Politics, as it is for students who already have a grounding. This course is built around an examination of the principal debates, features, and manifestations of Islamic politics in the twentieth century.

Educational Aims

The aim of this module is to:

  • introduce students to the inner dynamics of political Islam and the attendant challenges that comes with it. It is a module designed as much for students with little or no background in Islamic Politics, as it is for students who have already had some grounding. 
  • examine the principal debates, features, and manifestations of Islamic politics in the twentieth century.

Outline Syllabus

  1. Political Islam in Context
  2. Religion and Politics
  3. Governance and the State
  4. The Reformist, Modernists & the Liberals
  5. Islam and Political Violence
  6. Oppositional Islam
  7. Politics of Martyrdom / Jihad
  8. Islam and Democracy
  9. Islam and the West
  10. Engaging Radical Islam

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.341: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

This module introduces students to human rights as a political and legal concept. It provides a critical overview of contemporary debates in the field, without losing sight of key theoretical questions. What are human rights? What is their source? In what sense are they ‘universal’ and ‘inalienable’? Following a discussion of philosophical and historical foundations, the module will examine the post-World War II international legal regime for the protection of human rights. It will explore the political implications of enshrining human rights at the international level, and engage with questions of culture and diversity, development and globalization, poverty and health. Students will have the opportunity to research and discuss such issues as gender-based violence, torture in the ‘war on terror’, treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. These empirical case studies of recent human rights struggles and controversies will shed light on the complexity of global human rights politics in the early twenty-firstcentury.

Educational Aims

This course aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of:

  • the historical development of human rights;
  • the legal status of international human rights;
  • the relationship between human rights theory and contemporary human rights discourse and practice;
  • key human rights issues such as: the status of different types of rights (civil and political rights versus social and economic rights); cultural diversity and human rights; the status and future of international legal  mechanisms for human rights protection; human rights of refugees; gender-based violence as a human rights issue; development as a right; local and global human rights activism.

Outline Syllabus

This module introduces students to human rights as a political and legal concept. It provides a critical overview of contemporary debates in the field, without losing sight of key theoretical questions. What are human rights? What is their source? In what sense are they “universal” and “inalienable”? Following a discussion of philosophical and historical foundations, the module will examine the post-World War II international legal regime for theprotection of human rights. It will explore the political implications of enshrining human rights at the international level, and engage with questions of culture and diversity, development and globalization, poverty and health. Students will have the opportunity to research and discuss such issues as gender-based violence, torture in the “war on terror”, treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. These empirical case studies of recent human rights struggles and controversies will shed light on the complexity of global human rights politics in the early 21st century.

Outline of topics: Week 1) What are human rights? Philosophical foundations; Week 2) Human Rights after World War II: The Universal Declaration and the UN system; Week 3) The European Convention on Human Rights in a Comparative Perspective; Week 4) Are human rights culturally biased? Part I Universalism and Relativism; Week 5) Are human rights culturally biased? Part II Vernacular Discourses; Week 6) Globalization, Poverty and Human Rights; Week 7) Refugees and Other Vulnerable Groups; Week 8) Global Health as a Human Rights Issue; Week 9) Absolute Prohibitions and the "War on Terror"; Week 10)The Future of Human Rights: Paths to Justice in a Global World 

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.344: Politics of Cultural Diversity

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

This module seeks to examine several questions of significance to contemporary politics: What is culture? Is there a ‘Clash of Civilisations’? Can we evaluate cultural practices or say that a culture is harmful or wrong? How should we deal with practices such as genital cutting and should we mourn the ‘loss’ of cultures  Students will develop: the capacity to argue effectively; communication skills through seminar discussions; written skills by completing the coursework assessments; the ability to work interdisciplinarily by applying insights from a range of fields to issues of core political importance.

Educational Aims

This module seeks to examine several questions of significance to contemporary politics:

  • What is culture?
  • Is there a ‘Clash of Civilisations’?
  • Can we evaluate cultural practices or say that a culture is harmful or wrong?
  • How should we deal with practices such as genital cutting and should we mourn the ‘loss’ of cultures 

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • conceptualise culture and cultural processes of concern to politics,
  • understand and examine cultural change and conflict,
  • comprehend and employ normative approaches to the study of culture,
  • evaluate policy responses to cultural diversity,
  • articulate significant knowledge on a selected topic related to the course material.

Outline Syllabus

This course will introduce students to a series of understandings of culture  a concept which is often deployed without clear meaning or scope. Culture is first outlined with regard to its shape, scope and purpose, before being examined in relation to debates regarding homogeneity, change and conflict. This problematizes popular understandings of culture as fixed and unchanging, enabling students to grapple with two contrasting accounts of the source of conflict: Samuel Huntingtons The Clash between Civilizations and Dieter Senghaas The Clash within Civilizations. Having conceptualized culture and analyzed potential explanations for conflict, the module then examines normative approaches to culture, beginning with the debate between relativism and universalism, which leads into an approach  value pluralism  which appears, at first sight, to offer a middle ground between the positions. This involves introducing and examining the validity of a range of conceptions of wellbeing. The module then moves to examine two lauded approaches to diversity  toleration and recognition , comparing and contrasting their substantive claims and identifying a series of internal contradictions through engagement with real world cases. This leads into a summarizing session in which the political implications of the module are consolidated and drawn out in full.

Topics studied will typically include:

  • What is culture? What does it do? What should it do?
  • Homogeneity
  • Change
  • Conflict
  • Making judgments: relativism
  • Making judgments: universalism
  • Making judgments: value pluralism
  • Toleration
  • Recognition
  • How should we deal with diversity?

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

PPR.357: Religion and politics

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Religion and/or Politics.

Course Description

This course focuses on key contexts and developments in the inter-relationship between religion and politics across the world. The major themes will be: the thesis that the influence of religion has declined in the western world, and its applicability to Christianity in the USA; the thesis that there has been a resurgence of religion in politics in the world, and its relevance to the interpretation of politics in selected Islamic states (with special reference to Judaism and the Middle-East); constitutional attempts to negotiate the role of religion in a multi-religious polity, with special reference to Hinduism and Indian secularism; the management of religion and the concept of a state religion, studied through a comparison of the monarchies of the United Kingdom, Thailand and Japan.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe and analyse various ways in which religion has been understood in political contexts.
  • Appraise the manner in which general theories about the role of religion in politics have actually engaged with the experience of different traditions and countries.
  • Demonstrate a critical and informed awareness of the global diversity of the interaction between religion and politics.
  • Compare and contrast experiences within that global diversity.
  • Demonstrate some familiarity with the specific recent history of a range of traditions and countries.
  • Use a range of published materials in engaging with the conceptual challenges of cross-cultural study of religion and politics and apply an understanding of religion to the study of politics and vice versa.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.362: Religion and Violence

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Religion and/or Politics.

Course Description

There are those who claim that religion is little more than a perverse and irrational scar on the modern world, one that invariably causes violence, while others (at times driven by political motivations) claim that religion is ‘good’ and that violence only occurs when ‘religion has been hijacked by other forces’. Others still claim that ‘religious violence’ is a myth constructed for political purposes, and that one should not therefore speak of religion in such terms. To disentangle such claims, this course examines the relationship between religion and violence, asking whether one can draw such associations between the two and whether one can develop any broader theoretical understandings about their relationship that enhances our understanding of religion in the modern world. While examining a variety of theories and perspectives on the topic, including close examination of the arguments outlined above, it continually will refer to empirical data and case studies in which religious movements and religious individuals have been involved in violent activities, as well as examining cases where acts of immense violence (including genocide) have occurred in what appear to be political contexts, but where religious rhetoric may have been used by the perpetrators of violence.

Educational Aims

The aims of the module are: To make students engage with and think about critical issues for the contemporary study of religion and to discuss issues that are at the forefront of policy agendas and contemporary debates about religion in the modern world.

To enable students to discuss various patterns that appear to be manifest when religious movements appear to engage in violent acts, and be able to discuss what apparent motives lie behind such acts.

To provide students with a knowledge of key issues in the study of religion such as apocalypticism, millennialism and charisma, to enable them to consider the extent to which such themes might be considered as specifically ‘religious’ and to what degree they may also be associated with the political world, and be able to formulate their views on the extent to which these themes play a role in the development of violence.

To help students develop deeper understandings of how practices often associated with religion (such as asceticism) and teachings and doctrines, may also play a role in violent events.

To give students the opportuinity to acquire the ability to discuss wider implications of issues at the forefront of public discussions – such as the notion of religious extremism- and think about the degree to which such issues impact on the nature of liberal democracies.

Outline Syllabus

There are those who claim that religion is little more than a perverse and irrational scar on the modern world, one that invariably causes violence, while others (at times driven by political motivations) claim that religion is ‘good’ and that violence only occurs when ‘religion has been hijacked by other forces. Others still claim that ‘religious violence’ is a myth constructed for political purposes, and that one should not therefore speak of religion in such terms. In disentangling such claims, this course examines the relationships between religion and violence, asking whether one can draw such associations between the two and whether one can develop any broader theoretical understandings about their relationship that enhances our understanding of religion in the modern world. It thus challenges students to think through and develop an understanding of these issues. While examining a variety of theories and perspectives on the topic, including close examination of the arguments outlined above, it continually will refer to empirical data and case studies in which religious movements and religious individuals have been involved in violent activities, as well as examining cases where acts of immense violence (including genocide) have occurred in what appear to be political contexts, but where religious rhetoric may have been used by the perpetrators of violence. While it examines events across a broad historical range, it will pay particular attention to a number of modern cases, from new religions with apocalyptic and millennial orientations that have become associated with violent denouements (including the Peoples Temple, Waco and the Aum Affair in Japan) to events such as the 9/11 attacks in the USA. In so doing it will examine the extent to which concepts such as millennialism and critiques of the modern world play a role in fomenting violence, and examine how concepts such as punishment and hostility to materialism are factors in the motives of those who commit such deeds. By examining such cases, a number of additional questions that arise will include the extent to which religious practices such as asceticism and the search for transcendence may facilitate the emergence of philosophies of violence, the degree to which violence is brought about because of external pressures on religious groups, and because of the ways in which they respond to public pressure and failure, and the extent to which religion may play a role in endowing violence with a spiritual aura that enhances the status of those who perpetrate violence. Through such discussions and examinations, the course will seek to encourage students to develop an understanding of the debates over the notion of ‘religious violence’, formulate their own understandings of the validity of the arguments made by those involved in such debates, and develop an awareness of the possible patterns and processes whereby people who articulate sincere religious beliefs may commit acts of terrible violence. In discussing such issues attention will also be paid to the dilemmas that the notion of ’religious violence’ and its concomitants may present to modern liberal democratic societies that are grounded in notions such as the freedom of religion, and it will raise the question (especially through examining examples such as how Japan – a state whose constitution specifically enshrines the notion of freedom of religion and worship and that has grappled with a history of violent religious group) about what the limits of tolerance might be in the context of religion in the modern state. This will also lead to discussions about public issues such as the idea of religion and ‘radicalisation’- an issue currently at the forefront of public agendas in the UK and elsewhere.

Specific topics to be discussed will typically include:

(i) Debates over religion and violence: from Juergensmeyer’s theories of religion as inherently enmeshed in symbolic violence, to the Dawkins/ Harris/Hitchens view that religion is nothing but nasty and violent, to the ‘apologists’ of religion (from Blair to Keith Ward) who say religion is ‘good’ but may be ‘perverted’ and ‘hijacked’ by violence, to those (eg Cavanaugh) who claim that ‘religious violence’ is itself a ‘myth’, to those (eg Reader) who argue that ‘religious violence’ is a viable category of analysis.

(ii) The ‘mark of Cain’ and narratives and images of violence in religious texts and imagery- from Hindu and Buddhist texts to ascetic narratives.

(iii) Zen and the art of violence: case study of a Buddhist tradition and the extent to which views of the body and ascetic practice may contribute to violence.

(iv) Apocalypse Now? The pursuit of the millennium and the immediacy of violence. Case studies, from medieval Europe to Christian Identity, Jonestown, the Order of the Solar Temple and Waco, to Muslim apocalyptic writings and extreme Japanese millennial groups.

(v) concepts of ‘holy war’ and sacred campaigns, from Christian Crusades to the ‘sacred missions’ of modern apocalyptic movements: serving God, purifying the world and killing the ‘unworthy’.

(v) culture, politics, religion and violence in the modern world, from the genocide of Rwanda to Cambodia, to discussions of modern terrorism. To what extent might ‘religion’ affect the ways such events and acts are performed?

(vi) From the Tokyo subway to the Twin Towers: images, symbolism and violence in the modern world, and themes of punishment and the rejection of innocence.

(vii) violence and sacred transformation: sacralising violence, spiritualising the perpetrators, and transforming worldly failure into spiritual success.

(viii) charismatic leaders and the linking of religion and politics under the banner of ‘sacred leadership’: to what degree can charismatic leadership be a factor in the turn to violence?

(ix) actors and agents: why do (some) people appear to be ready to either ‘die for their faith’ or kill for it? Case histories and studies from the modern world, and testimonies of those who have been involved in acts of ‘sacred terror’.

(x) violence, religious freedom and the dilemmas of democracy: the ‘impossibility of religious freedom’ and the extent to which the notion of ‘religious violence’ challenges the stance of liberal democracy. Dilemmas in Japan and their relevance for discussions of ‘radical Islam’ in the UK and beyond. What are the limits of tolerance in the context of ‘radical’ religions? Can ‘religion’ be a truly private affair in the modern (secular) world? To what extent are public policies (eg in the UK) centred on notions of religion and ‘radicalisation’, helpful (or harmful)?

(xi) to what extent can the issues discussed in this course enhance our understandings of religion as a generic branch or form of human endeavour, thought and practice? Can one identify specific patterns and traits within religious groups or individuals that might suggest a potential towards violence and develop predictive theories about violence in religious contexts- and if so, what are the implications of this in relation to public security and political and religious freedom?

Assessment Proportions

Exam: 60%

Coursework: 40%

PPR.363: Media, Religion and Politics

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Religion and/or Politics.

Course Description

At one time, there was considered to be a radical separation between religion and public life. Over the next ten weeks we will examine the cultural, political, religious relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. The module focuses on how religious and political authority is communicated, transformed and challenged through differing types of media. This phenomenon raises several key questions:

We will begin by introducing key theoretical perspectives on the media and the public sphere. We will focus on developing a critical understanding of key concepts and themes appropriate to the mediatisation of religion and politics. Using scholarly arguments, the major themes of our unit include: fandom, gender and the Enlightenment’s contested role of religion in the public sphere; parody, fundamentalism and transforming Christian traditions of the apocalypse;  Islam, free speech and devotional prophetic traditions; social media and traditions of Jihad in Daesh (‘Islamic State’); changing media portrayals of politics and religion in Britain; popular films and their significance in transforming Christian Charismatic traditions; Hinduism, authority in worship and God-Posters; and popular religious music and political controversy in Sikh and Islamic traditions.

Educational Aims

There is no religion or politics without mediation. Media and communication issues are central to the operation of religious groups and political parties, to people’s everyday religious and political lives and to the formation and transmission of ideological beliefs and practices. Religion is a key subject for media portrayal, whether in newspapers or magazines, on the web, on TV, film and radio. Political subjects are debated and aired constantly in old and new media. Most major media events relate either to religion/the sacred or to politics. This module aims to provide students with:

  • A knowledge of the variety of ways in which religion, politics and media co-exist and interact, including the  processes of media and mediatisation, the treatment and representation of religion and politics in the media, religious and political broadcasting, religious and political participation and activism online.
  • An introduction to the methods used to analyse political and religious content and discourse in the media.
  • A better understanding of the research process, and will have been introduced to recent research on media, religion and politics.

Outline Syllabus

The module will examine the cultural and political relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. Both old and new media will be considered, and consideration will be given to the transformative potential of the latter for participation and activism in religion and politics. The research methods used for analysing media content and discourse will be introduced and applied. Typically, the syllabus will be drawn from the following topics:

1. Religion and Politics: media, mediation and mediatisation

2. Media, Islam, Islamophobia

3. Global religious and political issues through the media

4. Political and religious ritual and media rituals

5. Changing media portrayals of religion in Britain

6. Media analysis (introduction to content, discourse, and visual analyses)

7. Politics, political engagement and the media in Britain

8. Religious and political broadcasting

9. New media and religious and political activism

10.Secularism and atheism in the media.

In addition to the 10 week syllabus a two hour workshop will be held to discuss and prepare for assessment and examination.

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.389: Politics Employability and Engagement through Outreach

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: As prerequisites for these courses, it will be necessary for you to have undertaken relevant previous study. For example, some philosophy background is necessary for PPR 301-321, some politics background is necessary for PPR 320-338, or some religious stu

Course Description

This skills-based, CV-enhancing module enables Politics/IR students to develop skills and knowledge that are highly valued in a range of professions, including, but not limited to, those associated with teaching and the public and charity sectors. The core activities, which all take place on campus, are grounded in, and contribute to, the Politics/IR Outreach and Widening Participation programme which engages with A Level pupils in Sixth Forms. Using communication, analytical, mentoring, feedback and writing skills, students will:

1) Work with Careers staff to identify and articulate the transferrable skills and knowledge acquired during the course of undergraduate studies and to communicate those skills to potential employers.

2) (Assessment 1) Develop a four minute individual presentation filmed in the LUTV studios explaining Politics in lay terms to Sixth Form pupils. This will take place in week 5 and constitute 20% of the overall mark. Selected presentations will, with student consent, appear in Outreach, Widening Participation and Recruitment materials and can be cited by students in CVs.

3) (Assessment 2) Participate in a mentoring programme with Sixth Form pupils from Widening Participation backgrounds completing Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs) in a local school. Students will receive mentoring training from Lancaster University’s UK Student Recruitment and Outreach (UKSRO) service, work one-on-one with pupils in two mentoring sessions and then produce one 1,000 word feedback report to be submitted in week 8, constituting 40% of the overall mark, on outline plans for their respective pupil’s project.

4) (Assessment 3) Develop a 2,000 word coursework role play/simulation outline to be submitted in week 10, constituting 40% of the overall mark. Role plays are practical means of students adopting and pursuing in an educational setting the roles, characteristics, motivations, aims and objectives of actors in political conflicts or processes. The role play outlines are intended for use by Sixth Form students as part of the Politics/IR outreach programme. Selected students will have their outlines added to an online bank of role play outlines for use by schools and will be offered the opportunity to run their role play in schools, interest from schools and logistical considerations permitting.

5) Work with potential employers in the final session to consolidate and articulate skills and experiences accumulated through the module in CVs and personal statements.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • consolidate knowledge of clear, concise definitions of core political concepts;
  • place political concepts, approaches and research methods within a comprehensible framework;
  • identify and understand key features in effective oral and visual presentation of political ideas;
  • present political concepts and ideas effectively;
  • understand the core qualities required to write effective Politics essays and reports;
  • provide constructive criticism of work in Politics;
  • understand alternative pedagogical methods and the place of simulations and role-plays in Politics;
  • develop knowledge of the background and context of their topic of choice for their simulation assessment;
  • understand the motivations of actors in their simulation;
  • appreciate the importance of audience background, interests and qualities in explaining politics to lay audiences;
  • appreciate the importance of innovation, engagement and enthusiasm in communicating with specific audiences,
  • help Sixth Form students develop an interest in Politics and the skills required to enter Higher Education

Outline Syllabus

This course seeks to enable students to explain politics to those without comprehensive understandings of the subject. There are four interrelated sections to the module.

In the first part, the module seeks to identify and consolidate awareness of the basic definitions of core concepts required to explain politics to lay audiences. It then seeks to place those concepts within the much broader disciplinary framework that experts in the subject require in order to develop programmes of communication to and knowledge exchange with those audiences.

In the second part, the module seeks to analyse and identify the key qualities required to communicate political ideas orally and visually. Tracing some of the core trends in the history of political communication and rhetoric, the sessions in this section seek to equip students with the skills required to present short, effective talks, in particular, on politics and their areas of interest. This leads into the first, presentational, assessment in week 5.

 In the third part, the module seeks to examine the fundamental components of effective writing. Beginning, with general discussion of content, structure and style, the section then seeks to apply those principles to three formats of relevance to Politics students and graduates - essays, dissertations and reports - before asking students reflexively to build on their experiences of receiving feedback to develop means of providing constructive criticism to others. This leads into the second, feedback, assessment in week 8.

The final section considers alternative means of demonstrating and explaining political theory, institutions and behaviours through simulations and role plays. Drawing on the increasingly rich literature on the use of simulations in IR, in particular, students are introduced to the rationale of the approach and the importance of contexts and characters in developing successful events. Students will develop their own role plays as their third, simulation, assessment and will have an opportunity to test and revise their work in the final week of teaching.

 Session topics typically included:

  • Understanding politics: identifying the political from the family to the UN
  • Understanding politics: methods of understanding the political
  • Presenting politics: clarity, cogency, coherence and concision
  • Presenting politics: audience, style and illustrations
  • Writing politics: content, structure and style
  • Writing politics: analysing essays, dissertations and reports
  • Writing politics: providing constructive feedback
  • Demonstrating politics: simulations and role plays and their rationale
  • Demonstrating politics: shaping backgrounds and creating characters
  • Demonstrating Politics: testing simulations

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 80%
  • Presentation: 20%

PPR.391b: China in the Modern World

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • Also Available: This module is available in Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Religion and/or Politics.

Course Description

China's rise is commonly understood as a key factor that will shape future world order. In this seminar-based course, students will become familiar with different approaches to understanding China's rise, and critically evaluate the opportunities and challenges this poses to both China and the surrounding world. In each seminar we will consider a key issue in China's relation to the world from different perspectives. Issues that will be explored include: the possibility of an alternative modernity; sources of party-state legitimacy; Chinese nationalism; the limits of Chinese identity; new tools of China's 'soft power'; the 'Chinese school' of International Relations theory; questions of territorial integrity; and Chinese ideas of world order and the ‘China model’. This course will thus offer students an opportunity to discuss familiar concepts like nationalism, democracy and modernity in the concrete context of China in the post-Mao era. It will help students improve their research skills, enhance their understanding of the complexity of issues in contemporary China, and critically examine conceptual tools of political analysis in the Chinese context.

Educational Aims

By the end of the module, you should be able to:

  • give a sustained critical discussion of one substantial theme or line of argument that is in part or whole constitutive of the chosen topic
  • use the resources of small study group to develop their own critical thinking

Assessment Proportions

Dissertation: 100%

PPR.391g: The Politics of Global Borders (Special Subject)

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Politics.

Course Description

Contrary to what theorists imagined in the late 20th century, we live in a period when the significance of international borders is increasing rather than diminishing. In the summer of 2015 Hungary erected a border fence to prevent further passage of Middle Eastern refueees through its territory. In the United States presidential candidate Donald Trump amassed a huge following based largely on the promise to build a wall along the entire southern border of the US. Bordering does not always entail the erection of physicalbarriers. Governments attempt to balance the need to exercise control with maintaining openness by embracing technological solutions to border security, "smart borders" and systems of surveillance. What links these different borderin practices across different geopolitical realms? What do they tell us about the state of global security, citizenship and sovereienty? This module will explore these and related questions in a weekly seminar format. The tutor will provide a detailed course outline and reading list. She will introduce each week'stopic in a mini-lecture and guide the discussion. Active participation is required and students will take turns to deliver weekly presentations.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Synthetize information from a range of different sources, present to a group and contribute to seminar discussion
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the key concepts and theories in the field of international border politics
  • Show an understanding of the major contemporary border issues, such as the control of mobility and migration, border security and territorial disputes
  • Have the ability to discuss the above based on relevant regional case studies
  • Identify and assess the contribution of major global actors to different aspects of border politics (governments, international organizations, major NGOs and humanitarian agencies)
  • Knowledeably discuss the contemporary global trends in border policy (in the UK, Europe, the United States and outside the Western world) and their major critiques.

Assessment Proportions

  • 4000 word dissertation (90%)
  • seminar presentation (10%)