A list of optional module can be found below. Campus-based students will take three optional modules, one in semester one and two in semester two, from the list below. Please note that some modules may not be available in every year. New modules may also be introduced.
This module will consider the utility of intervention – military and non-military – for the United States in the modern, post-Cold War era. Is US interventionism reactive or the product of a coordinated world view? Is the US better understood as a conservative, isolationist power or as a liberal, activist power? The impact of 9/11 on US foreign policy is a central concern of the module. Several cases studies of American intervention – from Somalia and Haiti to Afghanistan and Iraq, and the competing interpretations of these actions – form the basis for discussion and research.
Democracy and legitimacy are both central concepts to discussions about the future of the European Union (EU). This module is therefore designed to help you develop an understanding of how the EU performs as a political system and to evaluate critically the democratic and administrative deficits in the EU. You will consider the main institutions of the EU, the sources of the EU’s legitimacy and questions of public opinion and institutional design.
This module explores South Africa’s foreign relations during the apartheid era, 1948-1994. It will examine the extent of South Africa’s isolation during that period and the various attempts it made to break out of that isolation. More specifically, it will consider relations with the West generally, with the superpowers, and the emergence of the so-called ‘pariah alliance’ with Israel and Taiwan. Particular attention will be paid to apartheid South Africa’s relations with neighbouring states in the southern Africa region and the various strategies it deployed to gain their acceptance or co-operation. The module will also consider South Africa’s relationship with particular international organisations such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth.
Migrations are not an isolated phenomenon; large scale movements of people arise from the accelerated process of global integration, global cultural interchange and are facilitates by political changes, improved transport, the electronic media and well-organised smugglers’ networks. Although international migration is not an invention of the 20th century, this course will look at contemporary international migrations and the way they are changing contemporary European political and social spaces. We will look at the interplay between forces of political and social regulation and forces of social agency which respectively constrain and enable migrants to create spaces of control in the receiving countries. We will also look at challenges this phenomenon poses for national and European citizenship given the increasing cultural heterogeneity, the diversity of ethno-national identities and the growing awareness of the de facto multicultural character of its member states.
This module engages with the key debates in contemporary international relations about war, intervention, human rights and sovereignty. Since the end of the Cold War it has become increasingly accepted that powerful nations have a right and responsibility to intervene on behalf of others. The formal framework for international relations as codified in the UN Charter is argued to be a ‘tyrant’s charter’, in which the stated commitments to sovereign equality and non-intervention simply serve to undermine human rights. For supporters of humanitarian intervention, state-centric ethics have dominated for too long. For supporters of human rights and humanitarian intervention the post-Cold War era is permitting a shifting of moral boundaries away from the state and the national community towards more cosmopolitan conceptions of community and the extension of rights and justice beyond the state border. In this module we will consider this shift in both theory and in international politics.
The module examines the interplay of domestic and international factors in determining the effects of regime transition and the success of democratisation in post-communist Europe. It focuses in particular on the influence of the EU, and the transformation of the 10 Central and East European states which have already become members (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), while also looking at potential members in the Western Balkans, the European Neighbourhood Policy and relations with Russia. It considers both the common and the individual political problems facing the states of Central and Eastern Europe, and investigates the challenges posed by the attempt to integrate them into an undivided Europe. The approach is comparative, and should also prove useful in studying the consolidation of democracy in other parts of the globe.
The overarching aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge and critical understanding of the Modern American Presidency, especially in the realm of foreign policy making. This course begins with an examination of the impact made by Franklin Roosevelt upon the office of the President and establishes the legacy this left for those who followed. This foundation will then be used for exploring the contributions of various different conceptual approaches to understanding the presidency. In doing this political science will be incorporated into a comprehensive historical survey of the different administrations under consideration. In other words this module is designed to critically analyse different perspectives that address the presidency in the appropriate historical context.
The examples of Iraq and Afghanistan have brought the concept and practice of ‘counter insurgency’ back to the forefront of security studies. This module sets counter insurgency (CI) in historical context by examining previous case studies and also relating these to the political context of the UK at the time. Therefore CI is in one sense the narrative of the end of the British Empire and Britain’s move to the status of, in the words of one critic, the ‘sidekick state’ to the US. However the experience of CI is also important for other issues it raises. Some of these are more widely framed such as the political aim (if there is one) of any single CI operation. To this may be added the role of the local political context of CI, and the vital importance of this for any ‘successful’ CI operation. To this should be added the issue of human rights and the changing framework of international accountability for the actions of British forces in these operations short of war. Alternatively, some of these issues are more narrowly focused such as the use and effectiveness of certain techniques (‘winning hearts and minds,’ the use of intelligence, the use of specialist units). All these issues are relevant in contemporary counter insurgency operations and allow us to pose the questions: is there a ‘British way of counter insurgency,’ different (and as is often stated, superior, to that of the USA?) and what issues of effectiveness and ethics has it raised?