Europe in crisis: Quo vadis, Europa?
Full course description
Crisis after crisis are rocking Europe at a time that European citizens are questioning the European Union (EU) itself. European politics and society are under pressure. The social, political and economic turmoil on the European continent covers a broad array of topics: Brexit; the Eurozone and the Greek debt crisis; terrorist attacks on European soil; religious and political radicalisation; and political tension between different member states of the European Union. Ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Syria and the Middle East create an unstable neighbourhood and the consequences, such as the current refugee crisis, push existing divisions within European core values to the surface. It sharpens discussions on topics like Europe’s relation with Islam and the position of migrants in European societies. Two simple questions come to mind: what is going on in Europa? And, where is it all going? This course takes the crises as starting point to understand Europe, European Union and European politics and society. The European Union is crucial in understanding many of the crises. For some the EU part of the problem, for others it is part of the solution. There is broad consensus that the EU is a unique peace project. Still, how does the EU deepen or solve the existing crises such as the refugee crisis or the Greek debt crisis? What are the European values? Is there any coherent pattern of values among the population across the 28 member states of the EU? Are there external players such as the United States or Russia that have a part in the European crisis carrousel? The courses is organized around four clusters. A first are the geopolitical relations with Turkey, Russia and Syria. Economic and financial questions on the welfare/workfare state and the Eurozone are a second set of topics. The challenge of diversity, migration and refugees are combined in a third part. And a final set of sessions engages with identity and values issues in Europe. The class takes a PBL format. The objective is to establish a learning and research strategy to analyse problems in class, ask relevant questions and develop answers on the basis of class literature and student research. In the skills training, that is part of the course, students learn to interpret qualitative and quantitative data as to interpret the origins and causes of the crises and relate these to political, social and economic tendencies on the European continent. Students and teacher form a learning group with the teacher as mentor and coach. Students are expected to actively engage in the class and in research.
The course has the following objectives: • to understand the contemporary crisis dynamics in Europe. • to research the complexity of contemporary Europe in a multidisciplinary approach combining political/geopolitical perspective, the legal and institutional framework, the historical background and major tendencies in society. • to understand the impact of advanced international cooperation on society, economy and politics. • to develop a research design for and to conduct research on contemporary issues
Introductory course in Political Science, International Relations, Contemporary European History or European Studies. Interested students who don’t meet these prerequisites can petition the lecturer to be admitted. A minimum of 8 students is required for the class to take place.
The literature will consist of several academic books, academic articles and policy material. Students are also encouraged to bring their own literature.