What in the World…?
Contemporary Political Issues
Are you interested in politics and world events? Would you like to learn more about significant issues dominating current political debates? This course is designed to enhance your knowledge and understanding of contemporary global politics, to answer your questions, and to provide you with the opportunity to debate and exchange ideas with other participants and with the tutor. In our weekly discussions, you will be encouraged to engage with current issues and events around the world, such as the war in Ukraine, China’s position in the world and the recent tensions with Taiwan, the future of the European Union, coming elections in Ireland and in the USA, and others. You will be introduced to some of the key conceptual and analytical tools to make sense of both national and international politics and current affairs as they unfold. In the context of these global events, we will discuss the meaning of concepts, such as political legitimacy, authoritarianism, populism (right- and left-wing), state-society relations, democratic deficit, etc. During each of our weekly meetings, there will be ample opportunity to ask questions and explore issues in more detail, and our final two sessions will be reserved for the topics of your choice. Course materials will be provided by the instructor, and they will consist primarily of internet links to press articles and to audio – and visual material. You will be encouraged to follow the news in the form you find most conducive and accessible: radio, TV, press, podcasts, etc.
- You will have a greater and more nuanced understanding of some of the major contemporary political issues
- You will become more familiar with some of the conceptual tools and political vernacular that will allow you to understand and analyse the complexities of politics beyond this course
- Regardless of you prior knowledge or engagement in politics, you will become more capable of evaluating and communicating effectively complicated and often controversial ideas about politics
- You will be able to think and talk about politics in every-day life with more confidence and enjoyment
Week 1: Introduction to the course; Ukraine – The inevitable war
Week 2: “L’état c’est moi” à la Erdoğan– state-society relations in Turkey
Week 3: If “Russia is bad weather, and China is a climate change” what is America in the new world order?
Week 4: The African dream – never mind the tigers, her comes the lion
Week 5: Elections in Ireland, Poland and the USA – How much do different electoral systems impact electoral outcomes
Week 6: Birds of a feather? – Populists, authoritarians, dictators, and democratic backsliding around the world
Week 7: Brexit and the Great Hangover – Politics of nationalism
Week 8: European Union ever-closer? – Transnational and transactional politics
Week 9: topic of your choice
Week 10: topic of your choice
Course Day & Time: Wednesday Evening 7.30 – 9.30 pm
Start Date: 20/09/23
Course Format: In class with tutor
Duration: 10 weeks – Maximum of 12 students in class
Enrolment: You can enrol online by clicking on the Easy Payments Plus button. Enrolment will begin on the 9th of August at 10am
Tutor: Magda Staniek
Magda was born in Poland and, before moving to Ireland with her family in 2008, she lived in Germany and in the United States. She is a graduate of the College of Marin, University of California Berkeley, University of California Davis, and Trinity College Dublin. She holds a PhD in Political Science. During her academic career, Magda was a lecturer of politics and a coordinator of the International Studies programme at Southern Oregon University in the US, whilst in Ireland she was a researcher at the Higher Education Authority and a lecturer in politics at TCD, UCD, and DCU. Her interest and passion for politics have roots in her childhood behind the “Iron Curtain” in the 1960’s and 70’s; her family’s escape to West Berlin and growing up within the confines of the Berlin Wall; and the subsequent move to the United States as a political refugee under the US government refugee programme. Magda is now a naturalised Irish citizen, and she has been living in Malahide for 15 years with her Mother and her two sons. Now retired from university lecturing, she enjoys walking with her dog, taking care of her tortoises, and studying and teaching yoga.