International Relations and European Studies - Course Descriptions - Free Choice Courses
POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES OF THE 20TH CENTURY
At present, a number of persistent issues underscore the enduring effect of political beliefs and doctrines that have dominated and shaped world politics throughout the twentieth century. Rather than explore ideologies from a purely philosophical vantage point, this course blends practical, historical, and philosophical aspects emphasising the connection between various ideologies and their tie-ins to international relations and politics. The emphasis is placed on the effects each key ideology of the twentieth century had on the development of international systems, on how ideologies impinged upon relations between nations, on how they spread norms, affected social interaction, and structured societal organisation.
CHALLENGES TO AMERICAN IDENTITY: FROM MELTING POT TO MULTICULTURALISM
This course aims to broaden students’ understanding of the USA as a culturally diverse nation by focusing on immigration and ethnicity as just some of the many other important elements that helped shape the current notions of “American identity”. These elements include gender, socioeconomic status, education and family background. Against the background of major social, cultural and demographic developments that occurred in the US in the second half of the 20th century, at the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement, we will focus on analyzing the shift from the notion of the melting pot to identity politics up to today's plural understanding of the "American identity". As a result of the course, students will be able to see and understand the ways in which individual and group experiences are part of a larger national - and increasingly transnational – narrative about who Americans are.
HUMAN RIGHTS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY
The aim of this course is to familiarize students with various different theories of international relations towards the concept of human rights. In the end, students will be able to think independently and critically about human rights, their universal protection and the responsibilities of various actors in this field. The course is divided into three parts. In the first part, we will discuss the concept of human rights, international human rights law and the major players, including state responsibilities and international responsibility to protect. In the second part, students will proceed to the practical situations of human rights protection as well as violations in various regions and particular countries. The final part of the course will focus on controversial questions such as whether human rights are/should be universal and how they operate in non-western cultures, as well as, what are the enforcement mechanisms and whether they are effective or legitimate.
AREA STUDIES: BRAZIL, CHILE AND ARGENTINA
This course is dedicated to the issue of the rising political and economic importance of Brazil within the context of the other two key players in the region, Argentina and Chile. The first section of the course is dedicated to specific questions about the historical, political and social development of each studied country. In the second part of the course, we proceed to focus on such transversal issues that Argentina, Brazil and Chile share in common: i.e. colonial past and its legacies; Cold War and military regimes it brought about; existing economic cooperation within the region, as well as global foreign-political prospects and the contemporary ambitions of Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
This course provides an introduction to cyber security from the social science/IR perspective. After finishing the course students will be able to understand the characteristics of the cyber realm and recognize the threats connected with this specific area. The course will start by introducing various conceptualisations of cyberspace and will continue with an analytical categorisation of cyber threats. After these general issues, the course will focus on specific topics of cyber warfare, cyber intelligence, and cyber deterrence as well as several national and international responses. Reflecting these agendas, the general aim of the course is to critically assess a common securitisation of cyber issues.
IRAN AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
Iran represents one of the oldest civilizations, yet, at the same time it belongs among the most important countries in current world affairs. The course, therefore, offers lectures on various aspects of the social and political system of modern Iran. Students will gain a better understanding of the motivation behind the behavior and thinking of the Iranian leadership as well as “ordinary” Iranians and their society as a whole. The lessons will be based on the literature of the leading experts as well as the long personal experience of the lecturer with Iran.