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Prospectus

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Thematic Seminar: Philosophical Perspectives on Global Issues

Course
2019-2020

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
The number of participants is limited to 24.

Description

This course introduces students to the philosophical analysis of contemporary global issues. We are going to discuss complex, societal problems in an international context and from the wide range of perspectives raised by modern thinkers for a globalised 21st century: the aspects of globalisation, such as: cosmopolitanism, environmental philosophy and global feminism; ethical issues, such as: good life, non-violence, vegetarianism, toleration and terrorism; socio-political issues, like: gender, race, authority, freedom, money and debt, famine, education, community, democracy, media news. The topics will incorporate content from outside the contemporary Anglo-American philosophy, i.e, the voices of thinkers belonging to a wide variety of cultures and traditions.

Typical questions include: Do all human beings belong to a single community, based on a shared morality? Is the world increasingly interconnected as a result of massively increased trade and cultural exchange? How does globalisation has increased the production of goods and services? What is money and what is the nature of debt? Can debt and money be eliminated? What is democracy? Is it a form of government, a value, an ideal, a political system, a form of life, a bit of all this? Is democracy always the best political solution (in the context of starvation?) What are the ideas behind the notions of communism and humanism? Is tolerance and/or free speech necessary for democracy and how far can it go? What is the nature of authority? Do non-violent political actions and ‘terrorism’ meet in the ethics of self-sacrifice that underpin them? What is the relationship between living well and being moral? What is happiness and how is it best achieved? Is climate change caused by humans and which actions would help to increase sustainable management? What are the key arguments in favour of vegetarianism and against animal experimentation?

Our discussions will focus especially on the selections from books and essays of European philosophers: Bernard Williams, Philippa Foot, Isaiah Berlin, Roger Scruton, Peter Singer; American philosophers: Mark Juergensmeyer, Martha Nussbaum; Asian Philosophers: Dalai Lama, Gandhi; Islamic philosopher: Faisal Devji; Middle-East: Joseph Raz; and African Philosophers: Franz Fanon, Kwame Gyekye.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;

  • W.C. Booth et al., 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

Collaboration skills:

1. To provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position.
2. 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 analyse 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:

Component Estimated time
Attending seminars 24 hours
Reading literature 56 hours
Oral presentation 50 hours
Writing the final research essay 150 hours

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Oral presentation 30%
In-class participation 20%
Final Research Essay - 5,000 words (between 4,500 and 5,500) 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 score an overall insufficient grade for the course, are allowed resubmit a reworked version of the Final Essay. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the Final Research Essay and subsequent feedback.
In case of resubmission of the Final Research Essay the final grade for the Essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.

Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, but still within 5 working days of that deadline, will receive a grade and feedback on their essay. This will be considered a first submission of the final essay, however, the grade will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.
Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, and also fail to hand in their essay within 5 working days of that deadline, get 10 working days, counting from the original deadline, to hand in the first version of their final essay. However, this first version counts as a resubmitted essay with consequential lowering of the grade, and there will be no option of handing in a reworked version based on feedback from the lecturer.

Retaking a passing grade

Retaking a passing grade is not possible for this course.
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2019 – 2020.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Blackboard

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

Reading list

Required readings will be announced / made available on Blackboard before the beginning of the course.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 2 December:

1) On 2 December you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
2) Indicate there which are your 5 preferred Thematic Seminars, in order of preference.
3) Based on preferences indicated by 15 December the course Coordinator will assign you to one specific Elective by 15 January.
4) Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.
5) All students are required to enrol for their group in Blackboard to access all course information.

Students cannot register in uSis for the Thematic Seminar courses, or be allowed into a Thematic Seminar course in any other way.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. A.K. Rostalska

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.

Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the Final Essay is Friday 5 June 2020.