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Elective: Dictatorship and Revolution: Non-Democratic Regimes in the Contemporary World 2

Vak
2015-2016

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

Scholarly literature on comparative politics has traditionally focused on democracy and democratisation. The high hopes at the end of the 20th century of a ‘third wave of democratization’ which would bring about the ‘end of history’ and the universalization of liberal democracy did not materialize however. Non-democratic regimes remain widespread in various forms around the world – from Belarus to Zimbabwe, Cuba to North Korea. Recent protest movements – from the post-Soviet Colour Revolutions to the Arab Spring – have not inevitably resulted in democratization. There are growing concerns that in some regions the advance of democracy has actually started to be rolled back. Why is this the case and what is the nature of non-democratic regimes in the 21st century?
This course gives students the opportunity to engage with a rapidly expanding, cutting-edge field of research. Topics that will be covered will include categorising contemporary non-democratic regime types; identifying methods of authoritarian consolidation and regime survival in the modern world; and the challenges facing political and civic opposition to non-democratic regimes. The course will also examine some of the potential problems in researching non-democratic regimes – from the reliability of sources to limitations of research methods.

Course objectives

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 written 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

Lectures, student-led seminars and supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for the course = 10 EC (280 hours) , broken down by:
• Hours spent on attending classes: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours
• Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing weekly assignments: 8 hours per week x 12 weeks = 96 hours
• Time to write a paper (including reading / research): 160 hours

Assessment method

Weekly written and oral assignments, and a final paper of approx. 5,000 words (excluding tables and bibliography).

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrollment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Brooker, P. (2013) Non-Democratic Regimes, 3rd edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Additional readings will be provided via Blackboard.

Registration

Enrollement through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. M.J. Frear, email m.j.frear@hum.leidenuniv.nl