The daily timetable, Monday-Friday in both weeks, will normally be as follows:
- 09.00-11.00 - Seminars
- 11.30-13.00 - Lecture
- 14.00-17.30 - Private study
- 17.30-18.30 - Discussion groups
The New International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa
Popular uprisings have transformed domestic politics across the Middle East and North Africa since 2011. No less important have been changes in relations among the countries of the region, along with the rise of disruptive transnational movements and the restructuring of regional organisations. This course explores current trends in international politics in this part of the world, including:
- reconfigurations of alignments and antagonisms
- linkages between internal revolts and interactions among states
- impact of religious animosity on inter-state conflicts
- shifts in the institutions that govern regional dynamics.
Tutor: Fred Lawson is Professor of Government Emeritus at Mills College, USA, Visiting Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, USA, and a Visiting Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford. He was Fulbright Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Aleppo, Syria, in 1992-93, and Fulbright Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Aden, Yemen in 2001. His publications include: Global Security Watch Syria (Praeger, 2013); Constructing International Relations in the Arab World (Stanford University Press, 2006); Why Syria Goes to War (Cornell University Press, 1996); and Bahrain: The Modernization of Autocracy (Westview Press, 1989). He is past president of both the Syrian Studies Association and the Society for Gulf Arab Studies.
The Politics of Human Rights in Latin America
Human rights are a salient social, political, legal, and cultural issue in Latin America as well as the rest of the globe. This course explores key themes in human rights, using case studies from countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. After an initial introduction to human rights, four seminars focus on transitions from dictatorship and conflict and the challenges of accountability for past human rights violations, while the remaining sessions address contemporary human rights challenges across this region. The topics covered include:
- how to respond to past atrocities: amnesty, trials, or truth commissions?
- achieving peace and justice after war
- the Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
- violent democracies
- threats to indigenous communities and the environment
- gender and LGBT rights.
Tutor: Francesca Lessa is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Latin American Centre, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, and an Academic Affiliate at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Oxford. She completed her PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2010. Her publications include Memory and Transitional Justice in Argentina and Uruguay: Against Impunity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Amnesty in the Age of Human Rights Accountability: Comparative and International Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2012), the latter co-edited with Leigh Payne. Her articles have been published in Human Rights Quarterly, International Journal of Transitional Justice, Journal of Human Rights Practice, International Journal of Conflict and Violence, and Journal of Latin American Studies.
The Politics of the Chinese Party-State
As the Chinese Communist Party installs the next generation of the country’s leaders, this course explores the anatomy of the Chinese Party-state. It considers both the written and unwritten rules of Chinese government, and explores the dynamics of contemporary Chinese politics and the challenges that face its leaders. It will focus on questions such as:
- what is China’s unwritten constitution?
- does the Communist Party govern through the state, alongside it, or instead of it?
- what are the prospects for liberal political reform?
- what are the prospects for social and economic reform?
- will China grow into its foreign policy aspirations, including the One-Belt One-Road Initiative?
Tutor: Ewan Smith is a Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford. He is a Research Associate at the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights, the Programme for the Foundations of Law and Constitutional Government and the Oxford University China Centre. Ewan read law at Brasenose College, Oxford (BA, DPhil), and at Harvard Law School (LLM). He has previously worked at SOAS, and at Peking, Tsinghua and Renmin Universities in China. He is admitted to practice in New York, where he worked for Debevoise and Plimpton LLP. Before returning to Oxford, he spent ten years at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. His work explores how rules govern powerful institutions in China, with a focus on foreign affairs and comparative public law. This research has been published in journals such as the Law Quarterly Review, the China Journal and Public Law.
Power, Resources and Political Identity in Russia and the Former Soviet Union
The fifteen post-Soviet states that emerged from the collapse of communism faced similar challenges in 1991. Yet, their political trajectories have differed significantly over the last quarter of a century. This course explores the reasons for this variation in post-communist political development. Focusing on the non-EU states of the former Soviet Union – Russia and the Eastern European (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine), Central Asian and Caucasus states - it will explore topics such as:
- the factors that determined the collapse of communism and their legacies
- the types of political regimes that have emerged and their institutional dynamics
- the nature of property ownership
- the sources of conflict: elite, ethnic and clan
- the political consequences of the oil curse and corruption
- the influence of Russia on regional political developments.
Tutor: Paul Chaisty is Professor of Russian and East European Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford, and Director of the Oxford University International Politics Summer School. His publications include Legislative Politics and Economic Power in Russia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective: Minority Executives in Multiparty Systems (with Nic Cheeseman and Timothy Power; Oxford University Press, 2018); and articles in journals such as Electoral Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Government and Opposition, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Party Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Political Studies and Post-Soviet Affairs.
Understanding African Politics and Society
The African continent continues to face many governance and development-related challenges. This course explores these issues by tackling major themes in African history and politics. With a particular focus on South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, seminars are designed to debate issues such as:
- the colonial legacy
- the rise of African nationalism, authoritarianism and civil conflict
- the gradual spread of democracy since the 1990s
- drought and famine
- environmental politics
- economic development, land, land reform and agrarian issues
- health and disease
- the politics of youth.
Tutor: Dan Hodgkinson is a Lecturer in African History and Politics at Oxford's Department of International Development. He is also a member of Green Templeton College. His research interests include youth and life histories in Zimbabwe as well as African intellectual history. He focuses on Southern Africa, specifically Zimbabwe, but has a wider interest in East and Central Africa. He has published widely in several peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and has just finished writing a book, entitled Marked Out: Political Elites, Oral History and Zimbabwean Student Activism. He is currently writing a book on student activism and decolonisation.