BA Modern History and International Relations options
Final Year, Component 04
History or Government option(s)
Ethics and Public Policy
Is torture ever morally justified? Should pornography be banned? Should prostitution be legalised? Take part in the intellectual search for the moral principles that should govern how we answer these questions and others in governing public policy.
Understand how different statistical and experimental methods can be used to answer questions about political phenomena. You evaluate the assumptions of standard statistical tests and the linear regression model, consider alternatives to those, and learn about causal inference.
Examine how people reason about voting and politics, and why people vote the way that they do. You consider the effects of institutions such as the electoral system or the number of political parties on voting behaviour, using case studies from elections in Britain and other advanced democracies.
How do interest groups influence the trajectory of a country's foreign policy? Who benefits and gains from globalisation and how does this affect their political beliefs? In this module you explore how domestic politics and interests influence government's decisions in the international arena, and how international politics affects domestic politics.
Authoritarianism: This module examines authoritarianism, one of the biggest challenges to modern-day democracy. We start by defining autocracy and evaluating alternative measurements of regime type (dictatorship vs. democracy). We then examine the factors that drive politics in dictatorships. In particular, we focus on why dictators often rule with nominally democratic institutions. We analyse why and how such institutions are set up, what explains variation in how they are utilised, and what the effects of such institutions are on regime longevity and government performance. Lastly, we consider the conditions under which regime failure (e.g., democratic transitions) are more likely to occur.
“Globalisation” encompasses a wide range of phenomena, including increasing global trade, deeper integration of financial markets, increasing foreign direct investment, the spread of multinational corporations, reduced travel, transportation and communication costs, and the emergence of global cultural trends. Globalisation impacts people in many different ways, both positively and negatively. It can enrich our lives, but it may also spur disruption and backlash.
Political Economy of Development in the Global South
Development is highlight dependent on local institutions and their effectiveness. Perspectives of political economy can help disentangle how institutions drive development, by using an interdisciplinary approach at the intersection of politics, economics, sociology, anthropology and history. This module offers students insights into the various ways in which formal and informal institutions drive and hamper development efforts.
In this module you will examine corruption, a global problem that is present in dictatorships as well as democracies, in developing and more developed societies alike. In particular, you'll focus on the impact of corruption on democratic regimes. At the extreme, corruption hampers economic development, reinforces social inequality, and undermines democratic development generally. You will start by defining corruption and discuss alternative tools to evaluate the extent of corruption within a given polity. You'll then examine the causes and consequence of corruption (both political and bureaucratic). Last, but not least, you'll evaluate existing strategies to contain and control this problem.
The relationship between the media and politics is a complex and important means by which the public are informed on and engaged by political activity. You consider the role of the media and democracy in the UK, and also explore how this functions elsewhere.
Explore the democratisation of West Germany through investigating the role of the constitution formed against anti-democratic forces, the institutions created by that constitution, the emergence of political parties and social movements as the main channels for participation, and the transformation of Germany’s traditional subject culture into a civic culture.
This module aims to provide students with a detailed knowledge of how the UK Parliament works (in both theory and practice). Subject to validation, this module is co-taught by staff at the Houses of Parliament and has the support of The Speaker and the Clerk of the House in the House of Commons, and the Lord Speaker and the Clerk of the Parliaments in the House of Lords. The module content is delivered collaboratively by the Houses of Parliament and the University of Essex, with the University providing academic and theoretical content and Parliament providing practical and vocational teaching about the work, processes and business of Parliament.
Democracy, Violence, and Inequality in Latin America
What are the challenges to democracy in Latin America and how do they prevent democratic consolidation? Gain an introduction to the politics of Latin America and explore the significant challenges to democratic consolidation throughout the region. This module will enable you to be better prepared to tackle complex and important political, economic, and social questions in this dynamic region of the world.
The field of security studies has become increasingly important over the last decade. While old conflicts are reigniting and new ones are emerging, scholars and decision-makers debate about changes to the concepts of security, the redundancy of military force, and the centrality of the state in order to face these ever-important issues.
This module focuses on the role of women in diverse global leadership positions, including how gender roles and norms have affected the integration and advancement of women in business and governmental organizations. Following an introduction to theories and literature of gender and leadership roles, you will address the empirical record of gender issues in the business, government and international security realms. You will conclude with an evaluation of whether and how gendered leadership leads to distinct policy outcomes and political deliberative processes.
In this module, you’ll gain an introduction to the domestic politics of Israel in a comparative perspective, including issues of internal cultural diversity, religion and politics, fragmentation of the political party system, and coalition governance. You’ll explore political institutions, parties, and voting behaviour in Israel, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the state of Israel as a democratic country, understand the Israeli political structure, and discuss the electoral arena.
How does state fragility influence the risk of conflict and terrorism? How does the legacy of conflict and violence influence post-conflict state building? What factors promote a durable peace? Study the interplay between state fragility, political and economic development, state building, and conflict.
This module explores the nature and foundations of international obligations. It asks what we owe to people in other countries, and what they can demand of us as a matter of right. Questions to be addressed include the following: Who owes what to the very poor? Are citizens of affluent countries complicit in the creation and maintenance of world poverty? Does justice demand the elimination of global inequality? Is the promotion of human rights a form of western cultural imperialism? When is international trade unfair? Do states have a right to close their borders to outsiders? Under what conditions (if any) is it permissible to wage war? We will address these questions by considering the answers that they have received in important recent works of normative political theory.
Study one of the most important contemporary aspects of political action: the natural environment. You consider the state of the environment and possible paths along which it might change, before exploring environmental policies from the level of individual values to the environmental movement to political parties, and finally to the level of international affairs.
This final year module examines and compares the experience of the British people during the Second World War, the myth-making that was a part of this experience, and the shifting cultural memory of the war in Britain from 1945 to the present day. It makes extensive use of the Mass Observation Online Archive (available online via the Albert Sloman library) to examine the British experience of war and to consider how people represented the war themselves.
It is a full year Module that, in the first term, focuses on the war years, introducing students to the history of the war, to Mass Observation, and to the processes by which wartime culture created the enduring myths of Dunkirk, the Blitz, the Battle of Britain and the People's War. The module uses Mass Observation alongside other primary sources to consider which stories became a part of these myths, and which were excluded or marginalised.
In the second term the focus turns to the cultural memory of the war in Britain since 1945. Students are introduced to concepts and theories of cultural memory that they will go on to apply to representations of the war that are studied. The memory of the war is traced from 1945 to the current day, with themes examined including the popularity of the war film, the mobilisation of the Second World War in Britain's subsequent wars, the growth of the wartime anniversary, museums and memorials, and the 'memory wars' that have been a central aspect of the Brexit debate since 2016.
The Common People: British Social History 1830-1950
Britain underwent profound transformations between 1830 and 1950. It became the first indisputably modern, industrial capitalist society in the world. Not only was the environment turned upside down, but the lives and identities of the British people were altered fundamentally. You’ll explore this process in a thematic as well as a chronological manner, and study labour, class, gender, the state, democracy, imperialism, culture, and poverty.
The majority of the 12 million enslaved Africans deported to the Americas during the 16th to the 19th centuries ended up working on plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean. Sugar, cacao, indigo, tobacco, cotton and coffee were the main commodities produced for the rapidly expanding European markets. Slavery in the Americas contributed to the making of the modern world. You’ll examine the different plantation societies in Brazil, British Jamaica, the French Caribbean, and the Spanish colonies (Venezuela and Cuba).
Witches, Witchcraft and Witch-Hunts in Early Modern Europe and New England
This module will focus on a phenomenon peculiar to the early modern period: the prosecution of c.100,000-120,000 people for the crime of witchcraft in Europe and its colonies, which resulted in around 50-60,000 executions. In order to understand this phenomenon, and also the regional and chronological variation in witch-trials across Europe during the early modern period.
This module is intended to provide you with a broad understanding the main theoretical frameworks of media and journalism to develop their critical appraisal of the interconnected communication world of today. This module is intended to provide you with a broad understanding the main theoretical frameworks of media and journalism to develop their critical appraisal of the interconnected communication world of today.
It is aimed primarily at students looking to develop a research career in journalism or media studies as well as those students looking to acquire a critical approach to journalistic practice. It will also be interesting to students of Government and Sociology who are interested in understanding the big debates around the media and the relationships with politics and society. Each week a current event will be discussed in the seminar as well.
The module will equip students with the knowledge, theoretical frameworks, and critical tools to unpack the complexities of contemporary networked newsrooms. It will provide the conceptual framework required to analyze and comprehend our interconnected communication sphere. The module will be open to students from LIFTS who want to critically reflect on the professional practice and to students from Government and Sociology who would be eager to acquire analytical tools that would support their interdisciplinary research.
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