nl en

Great Debates in Political Science - Spring



This course is centered around three influential “great debates” in political science: power in international relations, political participation and democracy, and diversity and democratic stability. Each debate is introduced by reading classic readings on it and is followed up by a discussion of its various aspects through several examples of contemporary research. Students will learn to understand particular issues from several perspectives, including different theoretical and methodological approaches and themselves apply political science concepts to analyze the issues at hand.

Course Objectives

1. Introduce students to three influential major debates in political science both in terms of their theoretical and conceptual substance as well as the different methodological approaches and standards of empirical evidence.
2. Advance students’ critical thinking through the application and evaluation of these theories and concepts, as well as their critiques.
3. Further students’ academic skills through independent writing and group discussions.

Method of Instruction

7 sessions consisting of interactive lectures and discussion seminars.

Study Material

1) Lijphart, Arend. 1977. Democracy in Plural Societies. New Haven: Yale University Press.

2) Mearsheimer, John J. 2014 (updated edition). The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: W.W. Norton.

3) Levitsky, Steven, & Daniel Ziblatt. 2018. How Democracies Die. New York: Broadway Books

4) A selection of articles available online through the Leiden University Library (listed in the syllabus which will be posted on Brightspace prior to the start of the course).

Assessment Method

Written assignments.


See Preliminay Info