Contemporary Issues of International Politics

Course Information
TitleΣύγχρονα Θέματα Διεθνούς Πολιτικής / Contemporary Issues of International Politics
FacultySocial and Economic Sciences
SchoolPolitical Sciences
Cycle / Level1st / Undergraduate
Teaching PeriodWinter
CoordinatorIoannis Papageorgiou
Course ID100001458

Programme of Study: PPS Tmīma Politikṓn Epistīmṓn 2023-sīmera

Registered students: 0
OrientationAttendance TypeSemesterYearECTS
KORMOSElective Courses beloging to the selected specializationWinter-5

Class Information
Academic Year2020 – 2021
Class PeriodWinter
Faculty Instructors
Weekly Hours3
Class ID
Course Type 2016-2020
  • Background
  • General Knowledge
  • Scientific Area
Course Type 2011-2015
Specific Foundation / Core
Mode of Delivery
  • Face to face
The course is also offered to exchange programme students.
Language of Instruction
  • Greek (Instruction, Examination)
General Prerequisites
Students who choose this course have succeeded in the compulsory courses "Introduction to International Relations" and "Introduction to Comparative Politics." Capacity to read scientific articles in English or another foreign language is necessary. Only for the academic year 2020-21 and due to the requirements imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic for the provision of classroom teaching, there is a limit of fifty (50) registered students (with physical presence or distance) for the course.
Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students: will have a comprehensive picture of the main parameters governing international relations today; will know and be able to analyze the behavior of major actors in the international scene; will be able to compare policies and stances on the basis of state interests in international politics. • Will be able to improve their capacity to search for, prepare and present a comprehensive scientific paper.
General Competences
  • Apply knowledge in practice
  • Retrieve, analyse and synthesise data and information, with the use of necessary technologies
  • Make decisions
  • Work autonomously
  • Work in an international context
Course Content (Syllabus)
The course examines the current international political situation in the light of certain major geopolitical and economic developments. It is shaped in the form of a thematic seminar, and aims to enable students to deepen their knowledge and to analyze the main parameters of international relations today. The course emphasizes the analysis of political, economic and political situation of key players on the international scene and the links formed between them as well as the impact of such links at regional and global level. Series of lectures for the academic year 2020-21 This year we will look at international politics from the perspective of international, ethnic or civil conflicts with a more interactive approach that requires greater involvement of students in the course. In particular, each lecture (except the first) will deal with the study of an ongoing or recent (civil or regional) conflict that will act as a case study allowing us to examine, in this light of this, the wider context in the region. The lectures shall include: Lecture 1. Introduction. International politics in the 21st century • From the end of history and the US predominance to the 'anarchic' world • Nations, states, religions, international political economy • The war - an outdated tool or peace in another way? • The limitations to national sovereignty • The role of regional organizations in shaping international relations • The concept and limits of self-determination of the peoples • Cases studies (Abkhazia, Nagorno, Transnistria, South Sudan, Kurdistan) • Separatist movements in Europe. The cases of Catalonia and Scotland Lecture 2. The Russian world In this lecture students will present the main conflicts that resulted from the dissolution of the USSR (Caucasus, Ukraine, Transnistria) and its geopolitical implications today. Following this, we shall look into the current geopolitical role of Russia at both global and regional levels, with an emphasis on the following issues: • Russia and the Near Abroad • The role of energy raw materials in Russia's international relations • Ethnic conflicts within the country Lecture 3. The Middle East In the lecture on the Middle East, students will present all the parameters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on Israel's relations with Arab countries. Then, the Middle East will be examined with an emphasis on the following issues: • The dissolution of the historic Middle East • Israel: a state of Israelis or a state of Jews? • Democracy, secularism and Islam Lecture 4: Shias and Sunnis - Yemen's civil war In this lecture, students will present the causes and consequences of the civil war in Yemen. We will examine the history of the region and the role of regional forces in the conflict and its political and social consequences. The geopolitical context of the civil war in Yemen will then be examined with emphasis on the following points: • Islam and its divisions (Sunni-Shias) • The concept of proxy war • The role of Iran and Saudi Arabia in the conflict Lecture 5. Afghanistan The lecture on Afghanistan will look into the history of the country and the country's 40 years of civil and international conflicts. The geopolitical context of the conflict will then be examined with emphasis on the following points: • Iran's geopolitical role in the Middle East • International competition in the Pamir region • The American presence in Central Asia • The Taliban as international players Lecture 6. The Indian subcontinent In this lecture on the Indian subcontinent students will delve especially in the Indo-Pakistani conflict (about Kashmir) and the recent tensions between Bangladesh and Myanmar over the issue of Rohingya. The presentation will then examine more extensively the issues arising from the geopolitical antagonism on the subcontinent and the tensions among neighbouring countries, with emphasis on the following points: • Shaping India's identity: Indians or Hindus? • National identity and political power in Pakistan • The Himalayas and The Pamir: geopolitical significance Lecture 7. Ethnic conflicts in China Students, in this lecture on China will examine the ethnic and cultural repression by the state in Xinyang and Tibet and the political repression in Hong Kong. Students will present the reasons for the repression (political or ethnic) and its characteristics. The country as a whole will then be examined with emphasis on the following points: • China's rise on the international stage • Capitalism and a one-party system • The Chinese hinterland – relations with the neighboring states • The geopolitical dimension of the Chinese hegemony – The Silk and Belt Road initiative and its political consequences Lectures 8-9. Africa In the two lectures on Africa students will look into the civil war in Rwanda (1994) and the ongoing conflict in the Sahel region with an emphasis on Libya's civil war and the conflicts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Africa's geopolitical analysis will then include the following key points. • Africa as a special case. The legacy of colonialism and the inability to create nation states • The political and economic implications of colonialism • Multi-party democracy and racial differences (tribalism). The dominance of one-party rule • The failed states and their consequences on international relations • Africa's developmental scourges (AIDS, famines, infectious diseases) • Climate change and desertification in Africa: anthropogenic and natural climate change (the case of the Saharan expansion and the decline of tropical forests) • Environmental refugees and the international impact on the population movement Lecture 10. Colombia as an example of conflicts in Latin America In the lecture on Colombia students will examine the historical context that led to the oldest civil war in America, the roots of the conflict and the role of drug trafficking in it. Latin America is then considered as a geopolitical unit with an emphasis on the following points. • The legacy of colonialism • Racial and social inequalities. The role of violence in the political and state context • The role of regional integration and aspirations to dominance (Brazil, Mexico) • National identities • Populism and democracy Lectures 11-12. International Justice as a tool for international politics • Basic concepts of international law • Basic concepts of Sea law • The international courts and their role These two courses will also include a brief analysis of the Convention on the Law of the Sea with emphasis on those arrangements related to the Greek-Turkish disputes (continental shelf, territorial waters, Exclusive Economic Zone). Lecture 13. Overview
international politics, international organizations, international relations
Educational Material Types
  • Slide presentations
  • Multimedia
  • Book
Use of Information and Communication Technologies
Use of ICT
  • Use of ICT in Course Teaching
  • Use of ICT in Communication with Students
Course Organization
Reading Assigment301.1
Written assigments220.8
Other / Others50.2
Student Assessment
Process Monitoring and Grading The course during the academic year 2020-21 will normally be provided in a classroom (if this is allowed on health grounds) and at the same time remotely in an interactive way for students who cannot or do not want to attend the course. Students who attend the course though physical presence will observe the health protocols and procedures set by the University and the Department. Since the course is of a seminar nature, the regular attendance of students during the course is required – this concerns participants with a physical presence or remotely. All participants will be asked to make at least one brief presentation on a topic and coordinate the classroom discussion in at least one case. Debates Students will participate, through group preparation, to one of two debates. 1. International sanctions are useful as a policy tool (November 2020) 2. Amnesty policies and forms of transitional justice are a necessity for a bloodless transition to democracy in post-dictatorial regimes (January 2021). Evaluation and grading The course operates with a continuous evaluation of students throughout the semester and with final examination or paper. Students may choose, for their final examination, either to prepare a paper (of a maximum 3000 words excluding references and footnotes) the subject of which is agreed with the teacher in November or a final examination that will include they analysis and commentary of a subject file within 24 hours. The grading is calculated as follows: • 40% based on the short papers prepared for the course during the semester • 30% on participation and short presentations (including a 10% bonus for participating in the debates) and • 30% on the final examination (where students opt for the preparation of a paper, the final examination includes also its presentation).
Student Assessment methods
  • Written Exam with Multiple Choice Questions (Summative)
  • Written Exam with Short Answer Questions (Summative)
  • Written Assignment (Summative)
  • Oral Exams (Summative)
  • Performance / Staging (Summative)
Course Bibliography (Eudoxus)
Προτεινόμενη Βιβλιογραφία Σε κάθε μάθημα θα παρέχεται στους φοιτητές αρθρογραφία και άλλο διδακτικό υλικό για τη συγκεκριμένη θεματική. Πέραν αυτού τα παρεχόμενα βιβλία είναι: Σωτ. Νταλής: Από τις διεθνείς σχέσεις στη διεθνή πολιτική. Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση, 2014. Heywood, Andrew: Διεθνείς σχέσεις και πολιτική στην παγκόσμια εποχή. 1η έκδοση, 2013, Εκδόσεις Κριτική. Άλλη συνιστώμενη βιβλιογραφία περιλαμβάνει: Braden, Kathleen E. – Shelley, Fred M: Παγκόσμια Γεωπολιτική. 2η έκδοση. 2009), PRINTA ΕΜΠΟΡΙΚΗ & ΕΚΔΟΤΙΚΗ - ΑΝΔΡΕΑΣ ΚΑΡΤΑΚΗΣ Art, Robert – Jervis, Robert: ‘International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues’ (11th Edition), Pearson eds. 2012. ISBN-10: 0205851649.
Additional bibliography for study
Art, Robert – Jervis, Robert: ‘International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues’ (11th Edition), Pearson eds. 2012. ISBN-10: 0205851649. Braden, Kathleen E. – Shelley, Fred M: ‘Engaging Geopolitics’. 1999. Taylor & Francis Ltd. ISDN 10 0582035651 Heywood, Andrew: Global Politics (Palgrave Foundations series). Palgrave Macmillan. 2011. ISBN10 1403989826.
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