International Relations and European Studies - Course descriptions - Free Choice Courses
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND WAR
The aim of this course is to introduce some of the angles, from which social scientists may look at science and technology, such as: How do scientific discoveries and technological innovations respond to societal and political needs? How do military technologies affect the way wars are fought, regulated, and perceived? How do emerging technologies enable new actors to play a role in warfare? Why are some innovations feared? By focusing on these issues theoretically as well as with concrete empirical examples, the course provides an introduction to the study of security and technology.
THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
This course focuses on the political relations of the Middle East. It seeks to explore the dynamics of political interaction within the Middle East itself, and between the international community and Middle Eastern states. Furthermore, this class relates international relations theories and themes to the Middle East.
THE ART OF RHETORIC, DEBATE, AND DISCUSSION IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Few skills are more important for IR and diplomacy than knowing how and when to use certain rhetorical devices. This course should be read as a traineeship, since students will be focused on improving their skills of argumentation, debate, and discussion in an interactive manner — in a round-table setting.
This course presents the important concept of environmental security and investigates the links between environment and various strands of security. The course is divided into two parts. The first part offers some theoretical, conceptual, and historical feats of environmental security. It focuses on the notion of securitisation of environmental agenda, and introduces the concepts and processes of human security, sustainable development, and global environmental governance. The second part investigates the interconnectedness of environmental and security crises on both a national and international level, while presenting specific subfields of environmental security such as water, food and energy security.
THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE ARABIAN GULF
This course is aimed at providing students with in-depth knowledge of the (geo)politics of the Arabian Gulf. It examines the region’s hotspots and its sources of stability, its problems, and the solutions offered in and for the region. And, finally, this course will mix theory and practice, so students gain insights into how a policy is formulated.
THE INTERNATIONAL POLITICS OF LATIN AMERICA
This course seeks to provide students with a solid, interdisciplinary understanding of crucial trends and events concerning Latin America. It aims to present a complex picture of the region and its current challenges, as well as its position within the international order.
AREA STUDIES: THE POST-SOVIET SPACE
The post-Soviet space is not a political entity. One cannot find it denoted as an integrated region on a map. Its conceptual boundaries are contested and prone to interpretation. However, relations of states which make up the post-Soviet space are closely intertwined and significantly affect global politics. Using political analysis students will examine the origins of the post-Soviet space, along with the legacy of the USSR. We will also look at the actors, settings, and events that shape modern post-Soviet politics and its relation to global affairs.
This course starts with the conceptual part (weeks 1-6) and then concludes with case studies (weeks 7-13). Although the conceptual part of this course is rooted in the field of security studies, with its emphasis on different takes on humanitarian emergencies, it also offers an examination of the development of the human security paradigm in the UN, Canada, and Japan, as well as providing insights into transformations in state sovereignty and diplomacy. Its second part comprises case studies and offers an interdisciplinary perspective on key issues. Through the set of case studies, it will analyse the immediate causes of human insecurity (weapons, environment), tackle the topics of the sociology and psychology of war and post-war reconstruction (child soldiers, the role of women in the latter) as well as investigate institutional outcomes of the human security paradigm. After completing this course, students should be able to bridge relevant concepts with empirical evidence as far as the analysis of the most pressing humanitarian topics in world politics is concerned.
SPECIAL TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: PEACEKEEPING
This course explores the challenges of international peacekeeping operations in the post-Cold War era. Peacekeeping operations have always placed high on the UN agenda and in the last decade they have also become part of the agenda of regional security organizations, including the EU and NATO. Students will study definitions, taxonomies, history, the principles and legal framework of peacekeeping operations, principal critiques of peacekeeping operations in the post-cold war era, and research and analysis of the success of both UN and non-UN peacekeeping operations. At the end of the course, they will also explore the pros and cons of outsourcing parts of the peacekeeping business to private military companies.
It is essential to analyze the historical, economic, demographic, legal, and sociological aspects of migration in order to understand the circumstances and consequences of global movements of people. Therefore, the course approaches migration from an interdisciplinary perspective by discussing the major theories of migration and their limitations. While most theories of migration typically focus on one or another of the causes of migration, we will try to understand the variability of motives in order to explain different strategies adopted by immigrants to settle down in the host country. The most widespread causes - economic necessity and political sanctuary - will be discussed at length. The issue of human rights in the context of asylum seekers and war refugees will also be of special interest. This course is aimed at providing students with a general overview of trends and issues related to people's mobility across national borders. It should also enhance students' knowledge in themes such as minority rights, multiculturalism, and globalization.
MILITARY INTERVENTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
Students will be introduced to some of the most decisive battles of the 19th, 20th, and early 21st centuries, with a view on illustrating how these have shaped the international system. At the end of the course, they will have a deep insight into military operations and tactics, and an understanding of how far (or not) these fit into the concept of ‘grand strategy’
MIDDLE EASTERN CONFLICTS
The Middle East represents one of the most important international issues. Unfortunately, most of the events which bring the Middle East into the spotlight of world diplomats, politicians and media, are local conflicts. The course “Middle Eastern Conflicts” explains one by one the major controversies of the region – ranging from various military confrontations, ethnical, religious, and territorial disputes to interventions of world superpowers and other external players. The course is based on leading experts´ writings about the region, current news coverage and the personal long-term experience of the lecturer living and working in the Middle East.