Elective: Authoritarian Politics: the Politics of Conflict, Violence, and Genocide

Course description Elective: Authoritarian Politics: the Politics of Conflict, Violence, and Genocide
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 5183KEL24
Teacher(s):
  • Dr. E. van der Maat
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 10
Level: 400
Period: Semester 2, Block III, IV
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

Throughout human history, authoritarian regimes have formed the dominant system of government. While the twentieth century saw the rise of democracy, it also witnessed the development of new forms of authoritarianism. Whats more, only a few dictators, such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Idi Amin, and Pol Pot have presided over a large part of the unprecedented human tragedy of the twentieth century. Even today, authoritarian regimes commonly dictate the news: think of Putins intervention in the Ukraine; Kim Jong-un nuclear posturing; or China’s emergence as a great power.

This course builds on recent research that has demonstrated a strong link between authoritarian politics and mass political violence, such as war, civil, war and genocide. Consequently, this course will examine the workings of authoritarian politics with a focus on authoritarian regime type, controlling populations, elite pillars of support, and elite competition. It will then relate the particulars of authoritarian politics with various types of mass political violence.

Students are taught to critically evaluate and engage theoretical arguments of authoritarian politics, conflict and violence. Students will further examine these common themes at the hand of case research on authoritarian regimes (e.g. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Nasser, Videla, and Saddam) of their choice.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Recognize and classify authoritarian regimes;
  • Reflect on the differences and commonalities of authoritarian regime types;
  • Reflect on the complex nature of the authoritarian environment, its politics, and the role of state and non-state actors therein;
  • Explain the violent nature of authoritarian regimes;
  • Explain the particular relationship between authoritarian politics and mass political violence, such as war, civil war and genocide;
  • Formulate positions on the basis of a critical evaluation of theoretical arguments;
  • Independently conduct research on authoritarianism and violence using secondary sources.

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:
  1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
  2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
    a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
    b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
    c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
    d. aimed at a specific audience;
  3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.
Collaboration skills:
  1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
  2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
  3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.
Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
  1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
  2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
  3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
  4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
  5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.
Written presentation skills:
  1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
  2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
    a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
    b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
    c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
    d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. This course includes supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 280 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours
  • Close reading: 96 hours
  • Short Assignments: 60 hours
  • Research Proposal: 10 hours
  • Regulative Activities (meeting with fellow students and teacher and hours surrounding classes: 30 hours
  • Writing the Final Research Essay: 60 hours

Assessment method

Assessment & Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Assignments To be announced
Research Proposal To be announced
Final research essay (5,000 words) To be announced

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Resit

Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the final paper on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the final paper.
In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

The reading list will be published on Blackboard. Readings will be (mostly) available through online resources.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. E. van der Maat

When contacting the lecturer, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the final essay is 15 June 2018.

Languages