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Prospectus

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Bachelor Project Internationale Politiek 2020-2021

Course
2020-2021

Admission Requirements

Participation in the Bachelor's Project is only permitted if the propaedeutic phase has been passed and at least 40 EC of the second year have been obtained, including the course Research Methods in Political Science. The successful completion of the Academic Skills course: Research Design is also an entry requirement for the Bachelor Project.

Transitory Regulation

Students who have not passed their Bachelor Project in 2018 - 2019 (15 EC) need to take a Bachelor Project new style (20 EC).

Bachelor Project Information meetings Leiden

Semester I: The information on the Bachelor Projects of semester I 2020-2021, will be shared with you digitally in May 2020.
Semester II: The information on the Bachelor Projects of semester II 2020-2021, will be shared with you digitally in November 2020.

Registration for Bachelor Project

Semester I: The information on the Bachelor Projects of semester I 2020-2021, will be shared with you digitally in May 2020.
Semester II: The information on the Bachelor Projects of semester II 2020-2021, will be shared with you digitally in November 2020.

Language

The thesis of the Bachelor Project Internationale Politiek will be written in English.
If you want to write your thesis in Dutch please consult your BAP teacher in advance.

Description

Goal 1: Learning to apply concepts, theories and methods in a research project that fits within a framework that has been formulated by the teacher in advance;
Goal 2: Conducting, and reporting on, a limited empirical or literature study.
Content: The bachelor project is a course that offers substantive instruction, followed by a research part within which students carry out an individual study. Various projects are offered that are structured around different themes. Students first follow substantive instruction for a number of weeks in which they deepen their knowledge of a specific subject within a subfield of political science. After that, students learn to formulate a research question, to design research to answer that question, to conduct their own research, and to report correctly and clearly on that research.
The final report - the Bachelor's thesis - completes the Bachelor's degree in Political Science. The thesis is an individual final paper based on at least partly on the student’s own, original research.

Study materials

Halperin, S. & Heath, O. (2017). Political research: Methods and practical skills. Oxford: Oxford University Press. is assumed to be known. The core literature can be found on the Brightspace page of the Bachelor's Project. Further information about the bachelor project and the subprojects will also be available there.
The core literature can be found in the syllabus of each bachelor project.

Assessment Method

Students either pass or fail the entire BAP (16 weeks) worth 20 ECTS. In addition, students need to pass both parts of the BAP in order to receive the ECTS.

  • The assignments made in the first, substantive part of the BAP (week 1-6) will jointly generate a first partial grade. This grade counts for 40% of the final BAP grade. It is rounded to one decimal and passed with a 5,5 or higher.

  • The full thesis written in the second, thesis-specific part of the BAP (week 7-16) will generate a second partial grade. This counts for 60% of the final BAP grade. It is rounded to whole and half numbers and passed with a 6 or higher.

Final product:

The thesis. It should be between 7,000-8,000 words. Note that this is the actual required length of the thesis and not 7,000-8,000 plus/minus 10%. Regarding the word count: Everything from introduction to conclusion counts (as picked up by the count in MS Word). The following elements do not count: front page, abstract, table of contents and list of references. Concerning the abstract and table of contents: these are optional.

Deadlines:

BAP semester 1: Friday December 18, 2020, 17:00 hrs.
BAP semester 2: Friday May 21, 2021, 17:00 hrs.

Students who get an insufficient grade for their bachelor thesis – and so fail the entire BAP – have the right to improve their thesis and submit it for a second time. They do so on the basis of the feedback given by the supervisor during a feedback meeting. Note, however, that students are not entitled to any further supervision. The submission deadlines for the second chance are:
BAP semester 1: Monday February 8, 2021, 17:00 hrs.
BAP semester 2: Tuesday July 6, 2021, 17:00 hrs.

There are two important caveats to this:

  • Students do not have the right to submit their thesis for a second time if their first attempt resulted in a sufficient grade.

  • Students do not have the right to submit their thesis as part of the second chance if they did not submit a completed version of their thesis during the first chance (See Rules and Regulations of Board of Examiners, art. 4.8.2).

Bachelor Project themes:

Semester I

01: Foreign Policy in Times of U.S. Decline - van de Wetering
This course focuses on US foreign policy-making and its counterparts after 9/11. With the presidencies of Bush Jr., Obama and Trump, questions arose about the primacy of the US and its foreign policy conduct. The US is facing several challenges domestically and internationally. That said, the debate on US decline has been raging for decades. What this course then aims to tackle is how students can perform a foreign policy analysis in light of the manifold of agents and structures that can be taken into account. In addition, it asks what the role of the US is in global affairs and it addresses a few (potential) crises that have been facing the US, including the rise of China and the expansion of presidential power.

Learning goals

  • To reflect on academic debates regarding US decline in order to evaluate the role of the US in global affairs

  • To gain an understanding of the major approaches to analyze the foreign policy process

  • To critically assess the major approaches within the realm of foreign policy analysis and to apply these to events

Assessment Method
The assessment procedure consists of papers. The total course load is 280 hours of which each component approximately takes the duration of 30 hours (seminars), 150 hours (readings), and 100 hours (papers).

Literature
A selection of journal articles and/or book chapters.

02: Global Migration: Trends, Drivers and Dynamics - Natter
Why do people move? How do they decide when and where to go? Does development lead to more or less migration? And what is the role of migration policies and world politics in shaping human mobility? In this bachelor project, we will explore major trends, drivers and dynamics of international migration through historical and contemporary perspectives from around the globe.
In the first part of the bachelor seminar, you will get acquainted with the state-of-the-art migration theories and contrast their insights with empirical evidence from case studies, quantitative and qualitative comparative research on migration drivers. The seminars focus on the political, economic, technological, cultural and environmental forces that structure migration patterns around the globe.
The goal is to interrogate some of the deeply rooted assumptions that dominate political and popular narratives on migration. In particular, we will question the dominant Western-centric views that tend to explain migration as a simple reaction to poverty and conflict, framing it as a movement of mostly poor people from the ‘Global South’ to rich industrialized nations in the ‘Global North’. This does not correspond to reality. Therefore, this bachelor project invites you to think about migration as an intrinsic part of people’s life aspirations and to see global migration as both cause and consequence of broader social change around the world.
At the end of part 1, you will have gained foundational theoretical and empirical knowledge about the trends, drivers and dynamics structuring global migration and be able to critically reflect about common ways of categorizing, framing and analysing migration. This will not only be essential for your thesis writing, but will also allow you to contribute gain new perspectives on the heated societal and political debates about migration.
In the second part of the bachelor project, you will work on your individual research project, mobilizing the theoretical frameworks and topics discussed in the seminars to investigate migration dynamics and its drivers in one particular case. The goal is to develop your own research question, review relevant literature and conduct a simple, yet original empirical analysis. I particularly encourage thesis projects that have a comparative angle and/or look at migration dynamics outside of the ‘Global North’.
In terms of methods, this seminar will focus on case study and comparative research designs using qualitative or mixed methods (discourse analysis, descriptive migration and survey data analysis, interviews). It will not be possible to write a thesis based on advanced statistical analyses only. While it is not necessary to have a concrete research question before the start of the bachelor project, I will ask you early on in the course to think about potential cases or aspects of migration that you are particularly interested in, as well as about the type of material you would like to use.

Feel free to contact me ahead in time if you are unsure whether your thesis idea fits within this bachelor project.

04: Democratization Processes in Contemporary Africa - Demarest
In most Sub-Saharan African countries, the optimism that followed the early years of independence quickly turned to pessimism in the face of economic crises and the tightening grip of authoritarian leaders on political and civil rights. In the early 1990s, however, the winds of change appeared to alter the face of the continent and many countries reintroduced multiparty democracy. Over time, several countries have been able to transition to stable democracies (e.g. Ghana, Benin, Senegal), but others continue to experience authoritarian rule and setbacks (e.g. coups). Moreover, civil war and political violence have not declined since the 1990s and democratization processes risk fueling violence as well (e.g. electoral violence). Finally, while democratization has not appeared to bring a ‘peace dividend’, the same can be said with regard to economic development as African governments have not been able to bring their economies on stable growth paths.
This Bachelor project seminar focuses on democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa and two overarching research questions: 1. Why do some countries democratize successfully while others do not, and 2. What are the advantages brought by democracy for the improvement of African lives? During the first part of the course students will gain insight in the political and economic histories and characteristics of African countries, as well as key actors in African politics (e.g. elites, parties, civil society, international community etc.). They will also be acquainted with foundational texts in this field. During the second part of the course, students will formulate their research questions within the overarching framework of the seminar, develop their research designs, and conduct their own empirical research. To assist in their research, students are introduced to the Afrobarometer public opinion surveys. Other data sources covered include Freedom House, Polity IV, World Development Indicators, the UCDP conflict datasets, and the AllAfrica.com news archives. Students can make use of quantitative as well as qualitative research methods.

Semester II

03: Agenda setting and policy-making in the European Union - Elias Carillo
This Project is available to both IP and IRO students
The European Union (EU) is a complex political system. Its setup includes 28 members states with different interests and ideas on what issues to attend and how to do so. The roles of its political institutions are not clearly separated and many are shared. How are then policies created in the EU? In this course we will study the policy-making process in this system and more specifically agenda setting. Some of the questions that we will address are: how does the EU deal with policy problems? Who participates? How do issues arrive on the agenda? Why do EU policy makers devote attention to some issues and ignore others? Can the EU deal with all sorts of problems to begin with?
We will discuss relevant analytical approaches to better understand the European Union. We will examine general characteristics of policy making and then focus on agenda setting. We will study theoretical perspectives, concepts and classic literature on the topic. We will identify main features of this policy stage, such as key actors and driving factors. We will also examine empirical work on agenda setting dynamics in different policy domains. All in all, in the first part of the course we will learn how the EU determines its priorities, by studying ‘what’ (issues come on the agenda), ‘how’ (issues enter it), ‘who’ (takes them up) and why. In the second part, students will write an individual thesis related to a theme on agenda setting, as identified in the previous part. Research methods can be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed. The thesis must be written in English.

05: International Law and Human Rights - Hussain
In 1925, on Gibbs Road, Bombay’s plushest avenue, a group of hired goons sprayed the car of a former nautch-girl and her wealthy Muslim lover with bullets, severely injuring the girl and killing the man on the spot. After a tediously long investigation, the police announced that the Raja of Indore was behind the attack. As the inquiry revealed, the girl had just recently escaped the Raja’s harem, where he had caged her from the age of twelve. Bombay was then under British rule. Indore was one of roughly six hundred sovereign princely states on the Indian subcontinent. When the British demanded answers from the Raja, he pointed towards International Law. As a sovereign entity, he wittingly unspooled, the British could do nothing to hold him accountable. Or could they?

In this bachelor project, we will look at the themes, theories, and methods that scholarship on international law has produced to think through such questions. In the instruction part, we will examine the history, the sources and subjects, and the institutions behind international law and human rights. You will learn the different approaches that lawyers, political scientists, and historians have taken to structure, frame, analyse, and at times even deconstruct, issues around sovereignty, the responsibility to protect, and human rights. Throughout the course, we will train your acquired knowledge by linking it to landmark cases that have stirred both academic and public debate in recent years. In the second part of the instruction, we will focus more squarely on how to formulate a research question and the qualitative or mixed methodologies that will help you to make an original and winning case for your essay. We will train how to communicate your findings in such a way that they remain accessible to a knowledgeable audience.

Building on the empirical knowledge and the theoretical frameworks acquired, the research part will consist of an individual study. You are free to pick any topic that falls within the range of the discussed themes and theoretical frameworks. It is always good to start thinking about your research question early. Therefore, I will nod towards potential fields and problems that have received scant scholarly attention throughout the course. If you have any further questions, do reach out to me.

06: The creation, dispersion, and recognition of states in world politics - Kusani

When the Iraqi Kurds organized their independence referendum in 2017, the overwhelming majority voted for the creation of an independent Kurdish state out of northern Iraq. The latter’s prime minister vowed never to accept the Kurdish independence and, therefore, the disintegration of Iraq. More than 80 years prior to the Kurdish referendum, Iraq itself emerged as an independent recognized state out of the British Empire’s rule. The struggle for self-determination, independence, and recognition has been a central political, legal, and normative issue in world politics over the last two-and-a-half centuries. The contemporary period of post-World War II has seen an unprecedented increase in the demands for statehood and recognition. As you read this course description, there are more than 50 ongoing concurrent movements actively demanding and fighting for independent statehood – some of them peacefully, while others violently.

How are states created? What strategies and tactics do secessionist and self-determination movements use to justify and achieve independent statehood? Why are some “selected” to be recognized while others not? This course aims to tackle these and related questions about the expansion of the international society of states and the ongoing struggles for independent statehood and international recognition.

Block III is organized in a seminar form, where we will go through three substantive themes of the course. First, we will go through a general introduction to notions of secession, self-determination, and independence. Here students will also be introduced to some historical accounts that attempt to explain the expansion of the society of states in world politics. Second, we take stock of theoretical accounts that attempt to explain the dynamics of secession and state birth. Here students will also learn about various strategies that secessionists use to achieve their goals. Third, we visit theories and practices of state recognition, where we will also be introduced to differences between practices of state and government recognition and de-recognition. External involvement and intervention in the creation of new states shall also be discussed. These themes will be the basis upon which students can choose to answer their respective research questions when writing the bachelor thesis.

In Block IV, students will focus on conducting their research and writing their bachelor theses. Under the instructor's supervision, each student will also learn how to design their research to answer their research questions feasibly. Students will have the opportunity to present their initial research ideas and potential designs during one of the Blocks. The seminar and the supervision of topics are open to a wide range of methodological approaches and techniques. Students are encouraged to use any approach they believe can best tackle their respective questions, though note must be taken that this will not be a taught course on methodologies

Timetable

Timetable