This course is only available for second year students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.
In the Netherlands, the richest 1% of the population posseses 25% of capital making it a very unequal society. Is this unjust? In the UK, there is a difference in life expectancy between the very rich and the very poor of 25 years. Is this unjust? In the US, the very rich invest millions of dollars into election campaigns. Is this unjust? Same-sex marriage is possible in 21 countries in the world. Is it unjust that it is not possible in the 175 or so other countries? Moving to the global level: 2.7 billion people live on less than 2 dollars a day, whereas others live in great affluence. Is this unjust?
Most people will have strong intuitions about the cases mentioned above. And these are just a few examples: we make judgements about the justness of policies and behaviour on an almost daily basis. But what feature of the above examples do we object to, why are these examples of injustices, or why not? What underlying principles are – or should be – at work?
This seminar is devoted to discussing the main issues in contemporary political philosophy. Political philosophers have proposed several answers to the question of what justice requires, and from whom it requires what. We will look at different theories of justice like utilitarianism, liberal egalitarianism, libertarianism, communitarianism and others. We’ll apply these theories to topics like the clash between freedom and equality, multiculturalism, distributive justice, democratic equality and global justice.
Additionally, the students will work through:
- W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
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.
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.
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.
Each class will center on discussion of assigned readings, with introductory remarks by the professor and intensive student-led discussion and debate. The instructor will also provide guidelines in advance of each class consisting of strategies for digesting the reading and material to prepare for class discussion. In addition to contributing informal web responses to a blackboard site before class, students will write one formal essay and produce one peer review of another students’ essay.
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
Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing weekly assignments: 96 hours
Preparation for presentations: 16 hours
Writing the final research essay (including reading / research): 134 hours
Assessment & Weighing
|Several short assignments||20%|
|Final research essay (5000 words)||50%|
To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average.
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.
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.
Readings from a variety of sources will be made available on Blackboard.
W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis can be found here.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
When contacting the lecturer, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.
The deadline for submission of the final essay is 15 June 2018.
Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis and thesis seminar.