Open courses

Summer term 2022 – Katekisama Courses

Date/Time

Tuesday, 10 – 12 a.m.

Instructor

Lerato Posholi (Basel)

Lecture

This course focuses on understanding and critically examining critiques of Eurocentrism from decolonialism, postcolonialism, and ‘epistemologies of the South’. The course explores two broad questions. The first question is: what is Eurocentrism and what are its problems? The second question is: what are the implications of the critiques of Eurocentrism for how we think about global knowledge production?

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Date/Time

Wednesday, 10 – 12 a.m.

Instructor

Teresa Pullano (Basel)

Lecture

This lecture discusses contemporary theories and practices of citizenship from the perspective of its three dilemmas: the dilemma of "freedom", the dilemma of "equality" and the one of "participation". More precisely, our present time is often depicted as the one of the crisis of (liberal) democracy as we have known it in the Western world since the end of World War II. From populist movements within Western democracies, to authoritarian regimes expanding their power in the world, the thesis of the "end of history" and of the final victory of liberal democracies at the global level has been definitely contested. The question of citizenship is strictly linked to the one of democracy: the citizen is the actor of a political regime based on the freedom and equality of all, as well as on self-rule and social emancipation.

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Date/Time

Friday, 6 May 2022, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (block event)

Instructor 

Madeleine Herren-Oesch

Ralph Weber (Basel)

Doctoral course

Die Veranstaltung bietet Doktorierenden die Gelegenheit, in unterschiedlichen Phasen ihres Dissertationsprojektes Teilergebnisse, Fragen und Schwierigkeiten vorzustellen und ausführlich zu diskutieren. Die Veranstaltung richtet sich an Doktorierende, die ein Thema mit interdisziplinärem und/oder globalem Fokus bearbeiten und sich mit den daraus resultierenden Herausforderungen auseinandersetzen.

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Date/Time

Tuesday, 12 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Instructor 

Ralph Weber (Basel)

Lecture

In this lecture on Chinese politics, we will adopt a focus that puts the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) front and centre and explain the State and other institutions from this vantage point. We will read key documents like the CCP Constitution and the Constitution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and many more less prominent texts, some of which translated for the first time, in order to learn about the Marxist-Leninist fundament on which politics unfolds in the PRC and which co-defines the capitalist aspects of today's second largest economy, its take on foreign policy and much more.
As an additional task, we will follow the lianghui, the two meetings, referring to the annual plenary sessions of the National People's Congress and the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which takes place in spring.

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Date/Time

Thursday, 2 – 4 p.m.

Instructor 

Lucie Chamlian (Basel) 

Lecture

This lecture introduces students to the contemporary history of European integration from a global perspective. Drawing on historical and political science accounts, the first part of the course lays out the conventional history of European construction, resumed as „deeper, wider and compromised“. The second part engages the closer history of the European Union, focusing on how the EU relates to the world after multiple internal and external crises.

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Date/Time 

Tuesday, 4 – 6 p.m.

Instructor

Carolina Guzmán Valenzuela (Bonn)

Seminar

Being considered to be ‘world class university’ and being visible in international academic rankings have become a desirable goal for universities around the world. Prestige and reputation are valued assets and become a source of power and influence, which in turn attract income in a global market. These matters can be understood as instances of the globalisation of higher education. A key dimension in these movements - indeed, a response to globalisation in higher education - is the increasing internationalisation of universities, which have been developing policies and strategies to that end. Among these developments, attracting students from other countries, increasing publications in prestigious academic outlets and international collaboration - especially in research processes - have gained traction. This is especially problematic for what has been called the Global South which includes regions and countries with the most fragile economies and political instability, and which lack the reputational capital of many universities in the Global North. Moreover, large geo-political dimensions are playing out here. In this course, knowledge production and research collaboration as features of internationalisation of universities will be examined, together with the geopolitical factors at work and connected epistemic and collaboration asymmetries.

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Date/Time

Block Event, please check link.

Instructor 

James D. Bindenagel (Bonn)

Seminar

Foresight into future political developments is just as necessary as dealing with policies for current issues. The class will discuss the latest methodological approaches of strategic foresight scenario planning, will develop scenarios within the strategic planning framework and will discuss those scenarios that impact the security of Germany (and Europe).

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Time/Date

Thursday, 2 – 4 p.m. 

Instructor 

Xuewu Gu (Bonn)

Seminar

The rise of China is changing the landscape of current world politics. The old international system dominated by Western countries is increasingly forced to adapt to the growing power of China, paving the way for shaping a new global order for world politics and world economy. This class will examine the character of China as an emerging superpower and inquire into the possibilities and challenges for a successful reconstruction of world politics in the 21st century.

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Time/Date

Wednesday, 2 – 4 p.m.

Instructor 

Rogelio Madrueño (Bonn)

Seminar

This course explores the issue of global megatrends facing humanity, which includes a broad constellation of challenges and threats, such as climate change, demographic change, urbanization, inequalities, and emerging technologies. This raises questions such as what is the contemporary understanding of these megatrends? How their emergence has been happening in recent years? What are the most significant challenges to global development and global security? Can we identify regional patterns (at the Global North and Global South) derived from these global megatrends? What actions have been implemented at the multilateral and local level to address them? What other actions are needed to minimize these problems? These questions involve not only facing and managing uncertainties to mitigate risks and threats, but also the process of identifying and categorizing them. It also includes the role of institutions and how they and the new forms of social and political interaction take action to operate and adapt to the new challenges facing humanity. The goal is to provide a critical perspective from an interdisciplinary perspective.

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Date/Time

Monday, 8.30 – 10. a.m.

Instructor 

Anna-Katharina Hornidge (Bonn)

Seminar

Development Sociology emerged and was actively developed by scholars in many countries in the 1960s and 1970s and sharpened as a result of emerging tensions between modernisation and dependency theories. It was the disciplinary child of the project of international development, and as such also the child of colonialism, growing up and being shaped by imperial and colonial pasts, Cold War legacies, , together with increasing wealth inequalities both across and between the North and South. 

The module ‘Development Sociology’ introduces the students to (1) the different theories of development, (2) the implementation of development theory inspired policies in development practice, as well as (3) the epistemological and methodological tools of development research. 

While the lecture takes place in the Winter Semester, it is followed up with a seminar in the Summer Semester. Here it is important to note that the seminar builds on the lecture in the winter semester, but it is not a compulsory precondition for participation.

The seminar ‘Development Sociology: The Empirics of Development Research in Practice’ will deepen and extend reflection of selected key themes engaged with in the lecture by exploring empirical examples. Additionally it introduces the students to the following methodological considerations and tools for empirical development research: 

  • Relative and Multi-dimensional Poverty analyses, Growth and Well-being Indices and Knowledge Society Indices – capitalist/market-led influences on data collection, sharing and dissemination 
  • Community-based participatory tools: mixed methods household surveying, group-based interviewing and focus groups, and Participatory Learning & Action (PLA) approaches 
  • Long term field research: Emic and etic worldviews, embeddedness, participant observation, researcher reflectivity, positionality, ethics and role of local language skills
  • Development policy analyses (drawing from Critical Policy Studies)  
  • Mobile ethnographies and ethnographies of mobility: Follow the Innovation, the Migrant, the Epistemology, non-human natures & multi-sited Research Methodologies

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Winter term 2021/2022 – Katekisama Courses 

Instructor

Charlotte Blattner; Janine Dumont (Basel)

Seminar

Thanks to new achievements of science and health care, modern societies have greatly improved average working conditions. The promise of a healthy and long life, together with an increasing prosperity of people was a consequence of this achievement and led to fewer births among privileged people. Correlation between age, reliable health care and declining population growth is not solely a Western phenomenon but a development that is now observed on a global scale. The relationship between different generations has been at the centre of public attention, not least because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. On the one hand, laws restricting public life were put in place in response to a call for solidarity with the elderly. On the other hand, older generations were greatly affected by restrictions and thereby made dependent on others. How are these interests translated into law and mediated by it? Do states have a duty to protect the elderly? When do differentiations amount to forms of discrimination? This seminar examines these and other pressing legal questions that arise when societies age or lack an opportunity to age. Students may choose among numerous topics covering the legal dimensions of e.g., intergenerational equity, age as a form of disability, age and nutrition, age and autonomy, discrimination of older workers or tenants, reverse discrimination of young people in politics, age and illnesses of old age, age and assisted suicide, or global ageing and the challenges of technology. Students are invited to approach this topic from a Swiss, European, or international law perspective and are encouraged to use comparative analyses where appropriate.

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Instructor

Toshiki Mogami (Basel)

Seminar

This course intends to confront the most fundamental, yet long neglected question of international law: Is international law effective in constructing world order? It is a matter of course that international law is necessary for the construction and maintenance of world order, but we tend to take it unduly for granted that international law is working (i.e., effective) in its own way. But this optimism or overestimation may simply be tempting us to lose sight of the structural defects and weakness of international law. Many fundamental questions are before us: Is international legal order a solid order? Does it solve many of the world order problems? Does international ever exist?
The instructor will give brief lectures for the topic that he will present to you at the beginning of the course, which will be followed by your presentation on the basis of the various readings given you before the start of the semester. Then a discussion will follow each time.

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Instructor 

Ralph Weber (Basel)

Seminar 

In this seminar, we will learn about the Chinese Party-State and the propaganda work carried out around the globe, focussing on relevant actors, channels and the messages these actors try to propagate through these channels. We willl then focus on Europe. Students will have to choose a case of purported propaganda efforts in Europe and write a short paper about it. The seminar will combine independent study, group work and plenary sessions. Experts from around the world will be invited to speak to our class and provide training.

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Instructor 

Madeleine Herren-Oesch

Ralph Weber (Basel)

Doctoral course

Die Veranstaltung bietet Doktorierenden die Gelegenheit, in unterschiedlichen Phasen ihres Dissertationsprojektes Teilergebnisse, Fragen und Schwierigkeiten vorzustellen und ausführlich zu diskutieren. Die Veranstaltung richtet sich an Doktorierende, die ein Thema mit interdisziplinärem und/oder globalem Fokus bearbeiten und sich mit den daraus resultierenden Herausforderungen auseinandersetzen.

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Instructor 

Barbara von Rütte (Basel) 

Seminar

International law is often characterized as a universal and progressive project. Critical and post-colonial perspectives have challenged this dominant narrative and criticized international law’s Eurocentrism. Against that background the seminar will reflect on the history, the key concepts and underlying assumptions and the structures of international law on the basis of different contemporary theoretical approaches to international law (TWAIL, critical legal studies, feminist approaches to international law and others). The seminar will focus on selected topics such as sovereignty and colonialism, human rights and universalism, borders and migration, citizenship and statelessness, equality and discrimination, the role of international organizations or climate change. On the basis of these topics the students will critically engage with contemporary theories of international law on the basis of selected readings, judgments and current examples.

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Instructor

Barbara von Rütte (Basel) 

Ralph Weber (Basel)

Lecture

Anders als manche noch vor wenigen Jahren angenommen haben, hat das 21. Jahrhundert bisher weder dazu geführt, dass sich nationalstaatliche Grenzen aufgelöst hätten, noch dass internationale Menschenrechte die Staatsangehörigkeit ersetzen könnten. Statt dessen scheint «Citizenship» – die Zugehörigkeit und Teilhabe in einem Staat – in verschiedenster Hinsicht so wichtig wie seit Langem nicht mehr: so hat die Schweiz im Frühjahr 2020 im Rahmen der Bekämpfung der COVID-Pandemie ihre Grenzen für ausländische Staatsangehörige geschlossen, nützen grosse Staaten wie China ihre Staatsangehörigkeit als strategisches Instrument der Innen- und Aussenpolitik, wird über die Einführung digitaler Pässe diskutiert oder gründen die Spannungen zwischen der Schweiz und Europäischen Union über das Rahmenabkommen wesentlich auch auf der Frage der Beteiligung der Schweiz an der Unionsbürgerrichtlinie, welche die supranationale Zugehörigkeit gegenüber der nationalen Staatsangehörigkeit stärkt. Vor diesem Hintergrund setzt sich die interdisziplinäre Vortragsreihe aus verschiedenen disziplinären aber auch aus unterschiedlichen nationalen, regionalen und globalen Perspektiven mit der Frage auseinander, welche Rolle Citizenship, Staatsbürgerschaft und Zugehörigkeit im 21. Jahrhundert spielen und wie sich dies auf die Stellung der Nationalstaaten und ihrer Grenzen auswirkt.

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Instructor 

Raquel Cardeira Varela (Basel)

Seminar

Work has a central place in society, politics, culture and the economy. It supports the production of goods and services, it has a pivotal social value and is preponderant in human socialization; it supports access to consumption; it is a source of social rights and political citizenship; qualifies and situates people in society; appears pertinent in
solving environmental and ecological problems. This centrality was shaped in a complex path of struggle for the dignity of the worker and against his alienation, in a balance between the individual and the collective, affirming work as a universal value. There is why alongside with the centrality of work we have to highlight another trend of theoretical and methodological significance in the global labour studies, that is, the social critical theory as a main perspective, over the traditional making of knowledge.

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Instructor 

Maximilian Mayer (Bonn)

Seminar

China has become a global actor and a global power with impact in all world regions. The presence of Chinese diplomats, companies, investors, tourists, scholars and emigrants is felt in many countries around the world. What kind of impact does global China have in specific countries? How to theorize and conceptually understand its multifaceted influence? This seminar will focus on the geopolitical, technical and cultural dynamics that link China with selected countries in Africa, Europe, Latin Amerika and Southeast Asia. We will talk directly with local experts to share insights and raise questions in addition to preparing mini-country studies.

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Instructor 

Patrício Langa (Bonn)

Seminar

This seminar aims to critically engage with the concept of development as a teleological and circular argument often articulated in development policy for the global south. Following years of policy advice and denial for Africa not to invest in higher education, but rather in primary and secondary education due to perceived higher rates of social return on investment, the international development intelligentsia, in a dramatic twist, decided that higher education is the de-facto critical missing factor in the development formula for Africa and the developing world. The seminar proposes a critical appraisal of the arguments linking higher education and development particularly in the context of the raising discourse of the so-called knowledge economies.

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Instructor 

Wolfram Laube (Bonn)

Proseminar

Basic development paradigms, largely coined by western economists and political scientists after World War II as an alternative to socialist ideas promoted by the Eastern Bloc focused the state-led promotion of modern industrial development, capitalist economies, and democratic political systems. Taking the historical development of western Europe and North America as an example these pathway of development was to become the blueprint for the development of so-called `underdeveloped ´ countries.

However, economic and political realities in many countries gaining independence after the demise of colonial empires, varied largely from the development trajectories foreseen. The apparent impasse of development sparked both left wing and neo-liberal critiques of the reigning development paradigm. Leftist critique focused on the exploitative character of the world economic system and the continuing dependency of the ‘periphery’, which western countries and international development agencies were believed to perpetuate with the dominant development paradigm. As alternative development agenda self-reliance policies and south-south collaboration were advocated for. But while these ideas were only partially implemented, the since the late 1980s a new development paradigm, inspired by neo-liberal economic reasoning became dominant. Modernization, capitalism and integration into global markets continued to be the recipes for development, but the role of the state in the promotion and regulation of the economy was discredited. Market-led development and privatization, controlled – if at all – by civil society, were meant to become the engines of development. While some macro-economic successes were achieved and ruinous patterns of state expenditure were curbed, the structural adjustment programs promoted during this era had harsh social and economic drawbacks, especially for the nascent middle classes and the poor in the developing world. Especially, women were often affected.

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Instructor 

Rogelio Madrueño (Bonn)

Seminar

The course explores from a critical perspective the heterogeneity and new challenges of the global South. It is designed to provide students with an overview of the changing global world and the political economy of the global South (GS) within the evolution and challenges of the international order. It attempts to address a wide range of topic, approaches and issues related to power and the heterogeneity of the global South and the field of International Political Economy. The aim is to provide students with a basic outline of key issues of topics such as the structure of the global order, heterogeneity of the GS (in terms of strategies and emergent countries), the effect of Foreign Direct Investment and Multinational Corporations on the GS, the role of the State and its constraints, new regionalisms and the global value chains, sustainability, South–South and triangular cooperation, the COVID-19 crisis on developing countries.

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Instructor 

Anna-Katharina Hornidge (Bonn)

Seminar

Development Sociology emerged and was actively developed by scholars in many countries in the 1960s and 1970s and sharpened as a result of emerging tensions between modernisation and dependency theories. It was the disciplinary child of the project of international development, and as such also the child of colonialism, growing up and being shaped by imperial and colonial pasts, Cold War legacies, , together with increasing wealth inequalities both across and between the North and South.

The module ‘Development Sociology’ introduces the students to (1) the different theories of development and (2) the implementation of development theory inspired policies in development practice, as well as (3) the epistemological and methodological tools of development research.

While the lecture takes place in the Winter Semester, it is followed up with a seminar in the Summer Semester.

The lecture ‘Development Sociology: Theory and Policy in Practice’ will cover the following development theories and their influences on policy practice:

  • Modernisation and Growth
  • Dependency and Self-Reliance
  • Neoliberalism and Structural Adjustment
  • Participation and Sustainability
  • Women and Gender
  • Post-Development and Alternatives
  • Multiple Modernities, Risks and Acceleration

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