Democracy, Dictatorship, War and Peace: An Introduction
This course examines politics through the major themes, issues, and questions that have defined the 20th Century. The students will be introduced to basic political concepts such as authority, power, and legitimacy as well as ideas and ideologies, such as, liberalism, democracy, nationalism, multiculturalism and secularism. Topics include war, expulsion, eugenics, migration and citizenship, and human rights as well as the institutional structures through which these policies pursued: parliaments, parities and courts. The unifying theme of the course will be liberal-democracy: what does it mean, how did it emerge, and how secure is it? We will address the relationship between liberalism and democracy, their compatibility as well as the many tensions that exist between these two. We will ask what role did war, genocide and expulsion play in underpinning and institutionalizing human rights. What role did social movements play? And what role did ideas and argument, including the powerful normative appeal of rights, play? Students will be encouraged to think about how the ideas and events discussed relate to contemporary political, social and moral issues: Do we live in a well-functioning liberal democracy? Topics covered will include the refugee crisis in Syria; displaced populations in Israel, Turkey, Europe and elsewhere; when and how states control immigration, and the reasons for and risks entailed in interventionist social policies.