The following module descriptions are indications only - the modules on offer and the content of the modules is subject to change.
The American Presidency
The Office of President of the United States is arguably the most powerful political office in the world. Its incumbents not only provide interesting case studies on strong Executive leadership within the constitutional framework of the USA, their actions (and inactions) also tend to have far-reaching consequences far beyond the US borders (“Leader of the Free World”). This 10-credit Final Year Elective module looks at the US Presidency in its constitutional, political and socio-economic context, as well as investigating Presidential action at key periods, drawing on both historical and current examples.
Assessment: 3,000 words essay (100%).
Intellectuals and Politics
This module looks at the role of intellectuals in political life. It is historical and thematic, looking, for example, at intellectuals in the Dreyfus Affair, or during the 1920s and 30s, or today – their role in the Arab Spring, for example; or at specific individuals as expressions of the phenomenon: e.g. Orwell, and de Beauvoir. The module also examines the role of culture in the creation of intellectuals in a range of countries and epochs – why, for example, are intellectuals viewed so differently in different countries? The module also widens our focus to discuss whether other activities and roles should also be considered: artists, inventors, singers? Do these play a social and political role comparable to that of intellectuals? And what today is the role of celebrity culture in the creation of iconic individuals who affect the political process?
Assessment: 3, 000-word essay
Political Leaders: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives
This module examines theories of leadership, and looks at the evolution of the phenomenon, in Europe and the United States, in Latin America, and beyond. We focus particularly upon the rhetoric and styles of particular leaders, and the ways in which they persuade and generate allegiance. How they ‘perform’ and what are the historical, cultural, and institutional conditions of their performance. We look at a range of leaders, often comparing them – Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, for example, or Churchill and de Gaulle. Some leaders we look at in minute detail: JFK’s press conferences, MLK’s March on Washington speech, X’s The Ballot or the Bullet, etc. We also look at particular issues, such as the changing conditions of leadership style, women in politics, political rhetoric, the role of culture, and the role of the media.
Assessment: 3, 000-word essay
Central and East European Politics
The module offers an introduction to central and east European politics. It begins with an overview of the events that led up to the collapse of communism, before considering the key themes that have dominated politics in this region since 1989. These include economic reform, democratic transition, institutional design, nationalism, security questions, accession to Nato and the EU and so on.
Assessment: 1x 3000-word essay to be submitted at the end of the module.
This module is an introduction to the nature of the political communication process. It provides you with insights into the core dimensions of what constitutes “communication” in a democratic system, and the problems inherent in delivering effective communication to citizens. After studying a range of theoretical views on communication in politics, you then move on to focus on a range of aspects of communication in political life today, such as new media, public opinion, media effects and agenda setting. In groups, students devise a real-life communications campaign, and present this, along with a portfolio of explanatory documents, at the end of the module.
Assessment: A campaigns presentation and portfolio (25%) and a 2000-word essay at the end of Teaching Period 1 (75%).
Conflict and Politics in Contemporary Balkans
This module considers the countries of the Western Balkans (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo) on their path to European integration and efforts in dealing with legacies of conflict and transition. The module begins by looking at the recent past of the area – the 1991 collapse of Yugoslavia, 1992-1999 conflicts – and how these events have influence the subsequent political development of the successor states. The module then considers the region’s various challenges including post-conflict governance, statehood, intervention, ethnic tensions, war crimes, Kosovo independence and EU integration.
Assessment: 3,000 word policy brief (100%)
Politics and International Relations Dissertation
This course aims to enable students to research in significant depth a topic in Politics, and address and elaborate key concepts used in the analysis of historical, political, social and cultural institutions and processes. This knowledge, and drawing upon previous modules studied in levels 1 and 2 form the conceptual, methodological and analytical bases for research into their topic. Students will produce an independently researched piece of work, supervised by a lecturer from Politics and International Relations.
Assessment 4,000-6,000 word dissertation (100%)
Extended Politics Dissertation (LP3006): 10,000 word dissertation (80%) and oral exam (20%)