INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL THEORY
EXPECTED LEARNING OUTCOMES
To gain advanced knowledge of debates concerning the ethical aspects of the global economic system, and to be able to situate real world controversies within those debates.
Knowledge and understanding
The main aim of this module is to provide students with an advanced knowledge of the crucial debates concerning the nature of ethical obligations between persons living in different political communities. The module addresses issues such as: the nature and extent of moral obligations towards the global poor; the moral and political consequences of global inequality; the idea of special obligations to compatriots; the idea of a just war. The module will present different theoretical positions and authors by drawing on current debates in the fields of international ethics and international political theory. Questions that arise in these debates include: does the idea of justice make sense in the global context? Does the global order violate the poor’s rights? Do we have special obligations toward fellow citizens?
Applying knowledge and understanding
1) to achieve an advanced knowledge of the applied aspects connected to the moral evaluation of international organizations and global governance institutions;
2) to gain an advanced knowledge of the main approaches to international political theory and global political philosophy;
3) to develop the ability to analyse complex topics in political science and international relations broadly construed and to do so on the basis of directed and independent learning;
4) to enhance the technical, and qualitative research skills necessary to pursue research in political science and international relations by retrieving information from different sources;
5) to develop the ability to think critically and creatively and to argue coherently;
6) to enhance the ability to think independently, including problem-solving ability and the ability to discriminate and use judgement;
7) to further the ability to organise data, abstract meaning from information and share knowledge at an advanced level.
Further expected learning outcomes:
Students will be taught and learn through self-guided learning, lectures, class discussion, and seminars. Students are taught through 2-hour lectures (each week), followed by 2-hour seminars (each week). Each lecture will introduce the students to the key theoretical approaches or data relevant to the theme of the lecture. The lectures will be tailored to accommodate the differential knowledge and disciplinary skills of different cohorts and to make sure that students approach subsequent seminars with an appropriate level of knowledge and understanding. The lectures will be followed by seminars during which students are required to examine and discuss the weekly material with their peers. During seminars students are also encouraged to explore the lecture content in greater detail and to identify areas in which they require particular guidance, for example on further reading. The seminars will enable students to develop their abilities to conduct research, to communicate, to present theoretical alternatives and data, and to develop their own argumentation skills. Class discussion encourages background reading, contributing to the students’ independent learning. It will further allow students the opportunity to exchange ideas, to explore issues and arguments that interest or concern them in greater depth, and to receive feedback from both the group and the lecturer on their own arguments and understanding.
Week 1: introduction;
Week 2: understanding global poverty data;
Week 3: Peter Singer’s approach to global poverty;
Week 4: Thomas Pogge and harming the poor;
Week 5: the effectiveness of international aid;
Week 6: global inequality data;
Week 7: does inequality matter?;
Week 8: inequality and moral arbitrariness;
Week 9: nationality and special obligations;
Week 10: just war theory;
Week 11: boundaries and violence;
Week 12: recap and revisions.
General Approach: there is no single textbook for this course. Students are asked to read one or two academic papers each week in preparation for class discussions. All the readings are provided by the course convenor. Students are also invited to conduct independent research, guided by the course convenor, by exploring several texts belonging to a list of 'recommended readings' that is provided at the beginning of the course.
Key Introductory Texts: David Held and Pietro Maffettone (eds.), 2016, Global Political Theory, Polity Press. Introduction. Branko Milanovic, 2016, Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Chapter 1. Angus Deaton, 2013, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, Princeton University Press. Chapter 1. Thom Brooks, 2008, The Global Justice Reader, Blackwell. Mathias Risse, 2012, Global Political Philosophy, Palgrave. Jon Mandle, 2006, Global Justice, Polity Press.
Learning results to be verified
Students will be assessed through a final 3500 words [including footnotes and bibliography] essay [in English]. The essay formally tests skills of synthesis, analysis and critical evaluation with reference to material drawn from the module. It tests students’ ability to formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English, within the discursive conventions and genres of academic writing. The essays will be marked by the course convenor and each candidate will then be invited to attend an oral examination. The oral examination will be conducted by using the candidate's essay as the basic material to be discussed. The oral examination allows the convenor to test the student's understanding of the material in the essay and her/his ability to think critically when pressed on the details of the arguments they have submitted in written form.
Written and oral examination