What is the course about?
The twenty first century has placed a question mark over subjects that we thought were settled: politics, states, nations, and peoples. We read about demands for a new politics, claims for national independence, the failure of some states, and attempts to create others. This course spans history, law, philosophy, and politics to discuss how we got here – and what might happen next.
What will we cover?
• What is politics? Why is it inevitable? What problems do we face?
• What is a state? How might we classify them? Are states the only option for political organisation?
• What is a nation? Why is there disagreement about this? Should nations matter?
• How do nations and states come together? What happened in the UK?
• How did states come into being elsewhere? What are the debates among historians?
• Why do some states fail while others succeed? Do academics agree about this?
• Can one state create or support another? If so, how? When has this been important?
• Are states still relevant in the twenty-first century? What pressures do they face?
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Explain what politics is about and the issues that we have to face
• Define a state, classify examples, and understand the alternatives
• Outline the debate about nations and explore whether they (should) matter
• Comprehend the relationship between nations and states, especially in the UK
• Appreciate the diverse ways in which states came into being
• Understand why some states fail while others succeed
• Discuss the debates over state building since WWII
• Recognise the pressures faced by states in the twenty first century.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and no prior knowledge is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Each class is broken down into bite sized explorations of key topics, introduced by the tutor and followed by class discussion; in addition, the tutor introduces the sesssion and sums up at the end to make sure you fully understand the important points. You will be provided with an introductory reading list, but this is designed to enhance your study and, while we encourage you to read up each week,.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Please bring a pen and notebook to class if you wish to make notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please see our website for further politics and history courses.