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Thematic Seminar: Political Justice: Equality, Freedom, Community

Vak
2018-2019

Admission requirements

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

Description

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 justice 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.

Course objectives

The Thematic Seminars 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 multidisciplinary 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 and 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:

  • in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;

  • in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;

  • using up-to-date presentation techniques;

  • using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;

  • 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. To 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.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminars

Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the Midterm Exam week. This includes supervised research.

Course Load

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

  • Attending seminars (2 hours per week x 12): 24 hours

  • Reading literature and preparing assignments (8 hours/week): 96 hours

  • Oral presentation: 16 hours

  • Writing the Final Research Essay: 144 hours

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
In-class participation 10%
Assignments 30%
Oral presentation 10%
Final Research Essay (5,000 words) 50%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.

Resit

Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the Final Essay 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 Essay.
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 2018 – 2019.

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 the seminars. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

Literature will be announced on Blackboard before the start of the course.

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.

Registration

  • Enrolment through uSis for Thematic Seminars is mandatory.

  • The Thematic Seminars make use of a waiting list for the enrolment in uSis. If you are on the waiting list for a Thematic Seminar, this does not guarantee you a spot in this Seminar.

  • Enrolment in only one Seminar is allowed. Students are more than welcome to remain on one or more waiting lists, as well as an actual enrolment.

  • If a Thematic Seminar and its corresponding waiting list is no longer available for enrolment in uSis, this means it is full. Do not try to obtain a spot through other means.

  • If you are unsure of your enrolment status for a Thematic Seminar, please contact the BAIS Administration Department.

  • General information about uSis is available here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

S. Harb MA MPhil

When contacting your lecturer, please include your full name, student number, and course title.

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the Final Essay is Friday 7 June 2019.