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2nd Year Contemporary Political Ideology – 2nd Year Political thought I – 3 rd Year Religion and Politics – 4th Year World Politics – 1 st Year French

2nd Year – History of Political Thought II

Week -1- Introduction and Syllabus presentation
Lecture 1 – Introduction to Democracy

Lecture 1: How should we be governed – Democracy

  1. Describe the ideal democracy according to you before the class.Include:
    1. What qualities you expect citizens and rulers to have ?
    2. What would make it fail and what protection would you put in place to avoid it ?
    3. What rights and services your government should provide to its citizens ?
    4. How would you finance those services ?
    5. How would you ensure security ?


  1. Include your own definition/ understanding of the meaning of:
    1. Moral
    2. Good
    3. Bad
    4. Justice
    5. Fair
    6. equality
    7. right
    8. liberty
    9. authority

BE AWARE: I am NOT expecting an academic definition but the way you understand those words in your everyday life and how would you apply them in your perfect democracy.

Week -2- Morality (ethics)
Lecture 2 – Morality II
Lecture 2 – Morality

This lecture will teach you about the different theories of morality from Kant deontology to Bentham and Mills utilitarian theory with a quick look at egoism.

Lecture 2: Morality definitions and meanings

  1. Small biography of the following authors: Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham. The biography should include their main book and publication dates related to the lecture topic (morality) and their definition of morality.
  2.  A comparison between the thought of Immanuel Kant versus J. Bentham & Mill’s on morality
  3. The summary of the following article: Kai Nielsen “ A moral case for Democracy” + your opinion.


Reply to the following questions by giving your OWN opinion:

Question 1: Referring to the example with studied in class of the man who has to choose to kill one rebel in order to save the rest of the rebels: Do you agree with utilitarianism vision of morality in your everyday life?

Question 2: What about in term of political decisions: do you think the utilitarianism understanding of morality will lead to more effective political decisions ? Could you as a leader implement it.

Questions 3: Chose one current political leader and try to define what kind of moral he is applying. Do you agree with him/her? Do you think he will get good result from it?
Question 4: Choose two situations of moral dilemma in your everyday life (example: A friend ask you to cheat during examination, someone ask you to lie to cover their mistake, etc.) . Explain what would be the most moral action and explain which theory of morality you used to reach this conclusion


Week -3- Corrective Justice 

Lecture 3. Justice

This lecture will present the 3 major theories of corrective justice: Retributive, Restorative and Utilitarian justice.

Logbook I 

  1. The summary of your understanding of each author’s definition of Justice/Social Justice
  2. Your opinion on the Washington Post article “ Too Often American Justice is Injustice”. Try to apply your opinion on this article to Kurdistan.


Reply to the following questions by giving your OWN opinion:

Question 1: Which theory of corrective justice do you find the most “fair” ? Do you think you can stick to one theory for all cases OR should you adapt case by case?


Case study:

Over the last few weeks, the Trial of Larry Nassar, former Olympics gymnastics doctor, has been highly mediatized. The doctor has been accused of assaulting more than 265 young women and girls over a 20 years period by taking advantage of his position as a doctor.  


Nassar was sentenced to between 40 to 175 years in prison when he appeared before Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. She told him he would never leave jail and that she had signed his “death warrant”.

  1. Which theory of corrective justice has been applied by the judge in this case?
  2. Do you find this sentence fair ? Do you agree with the judge or would you have given him a different sentence ? Based on which theory of justice ?


During the last part of the trial, the father of three victims, asked the judge to be alone for 5 minutes in a room with the defendant.

  1. The judge refused saying “ this is not how our justice system works “. What did she mean by that?
  2. The father reacted by trying to attack the defendant in the courtroom. He has been arrested and had to go through a hearring in front of the same judge and said “ “I feel very remorseful… this cannot be a lawless society, I know that. I lost control but I regained control later in a holding cell,”. What is the difference between personal justice and governmental justice?
  3. Give your general opinion on this case. Which sentence would you give Nassar? Which theory of corrective justice did you apply?

Week -4- Social Justice 

Lecture 4 – Social Justice

This lecture will present the 3 main social justice theories: Need based, merit based and John Rawls theory of equal opportunity through the veil of ignorance experiment.

Logbook I

  1. A small biography of the following authors: Saint Augustine & John Rawls – The biography should include their main book and publication dates related to the lecture topic (Definition of Justice)
  2. The summary of your understanding of each author’s definition of Justice/Social Justice
  3. Summary and your opinion of the following article: “ Nozick on taxation as theft”, by Edward Feser.

Reply to the following questions by giving your OWN opinion:

Question 1: With which author do you agree the most for his vision of “ social justice” ? Justify why by giving a example of your everyday life.

Question 2: Referring to John Rawls experiment of the the veil of ignorance, what would you choose if you were in this position? Do you find John Rawls’ arguments convincing? Why?

Question 3: John Rawls ideas are being used by the American Democrat party, how would YOU justify the limitation of liberty to promote social justice? Do you think it is fair to limit the freedom of some to improve the live of others?
Question 4: Do you agree with Nozick when he compares “taxes with theft” ? If taxes are theft, how should the government finance public services ? Is it the role of government to provide some public services ? If yes which ones ? If the state do not provide public services, what is the difference between state of government and state of nature?

Week 5  – Equality 

Lecture 5 – Equality

Week 6 – Freedom and autonomy 

Lecture 6 – Freedom and autonomy

Week 7 – Political disagreement 

Lecture 7 – Disagreement in politics

Week 8 – Political authority

Lecture 8 – Political authority

Week 9- Revisions 

Week -5  Nationalism
Is nationalism an ideology?

This lecture will try to explain why nationalism is both a factor of unity and divisions. While all ideologies have the aim to be universal, nationalism only target part of the humanity focusing on their unity by opposition to the rest of the people.

Week -6- Green ideology 

Green ideologies
Green peace

This lecture will develop the examples of Greenpeace and Die Grunen to explain environmentalism core principles.

Week -7- Feminism 

Week -8- Populism 

Week 9 – Revisions and Conclusion 

Question Bank – IRD 201

    2nd Year – Political Thought I

     Week -1- Introduction – How should we be governed ? 

    Lecture 1 -Introduction

    Logbook questions:

    • Explain with your own word what is political philosophy and why is it important to understand the world we are currently living in?
    • Explain the difference between political sciences and political philosophy?
    • Do you think that books about government matters written centuries ago can still be relevant today? Why ?
    • Did you know any important political philosophers before starting the lecture? Which ones and why?
    • What do you expect from this lecture?
    • Do you think political philosophy is an useful tool for politician today? Do have in mind any politicians using political philosophers as references ?

    Week -2- Part I – State of Nature
    Lecture 2- State of Nature


    • Small summary/ explanation of the readings: Extract of the Leviathan, Hobbes and extract of the Second treatise , Locke.
    • Bibliography and historical context for Hobbes and Locke
    • Do you think that the life without state would be possible today? What would a world without state look like according to you? With which author do you agree the most ? (give examples and justify your idea)
    • Today there are what we call “failed state” and “state building”: choose and describe one state that matches with those two concept. With which theory does the description of a failed state matches?

    Week -3- Part I  – State of nature 

    Lecture 3 – State of Nature II


    • Small summary/ explanation of the readings: extract of Rousseau of the Social contract, Patricia Crone Islamic thinkers.
    • Biography of Rousseau and explanation of the Enlightenment period
    • Compare the concept of the state of nature to the ideology of anarchy. How does anarchist make sure that people live together? Do you think it is possible?
    • Make a research on the anonymous movement, the no borders movement, etc: give your opinion on those movement. Do you think a world without state could be peaceful?
    • Do you think you can be free while obeying to laws?
    • Would you be more happy if there was no laws?


    Week -4- Part II – Social contract 

    Lecture 3- Social contract


    • Would you rather live with the threat of death around every corner or live under the rule of a terrible tyrant? Apply this question to the dilemma of the Kurdish referendum for independence.
    • According to you how much authority should the state has on our lives?
    • What are the main goals of a state according to you?
    • What does a happy life look like ? How does the social contract and the existence of a state impact on your happiness?
    • Should we have a choice to live under state power or not?
    • Would a world without state automatically go backward?

    Week -5- Part II – Social contract II
    Lecture 5 – Rousseau and Hume

    Log Book Instructions:

    • Define with your own words the meaning of legitimacy. How a state can be legitimate according to you?
    • If you think of the current events in Iraq, do you feel that there is kind of social contract between all iraqi people ? If yes how, if no would it be possible to create one and  would it be desirable to create one?
    • Do you think that having a social contract for Iraq could solve some of the tensions between the different groups of the Iraqi state ?
    • Do you think that there is a social contract between Kurdish people ? Does it make the current government legitimate?
    • What is the difference between the “social contract” and the “nation”?


    Week -6- Mid term 

    Week -7- Part III – How should we be governed ?

    Lecture 6 – How should we be governed.potx


    • Most authors assumed that the social contract is a reality, do you think that rather authoritarian countries such as Russia, China or Saudi Arabia based their regime on a social contract? Do the citizen of those countries agree to live under such kind of governments or would they prefer to live under a more democratic regime?
    • How can we make the government legitimate without a social contract ?
    • Why do you accept the authority of the government ? Why do you respect the law?
    • What was the “Mayflower compact” ? How does it support the thesis of social contract as base for government?


    Week -8- Qualities of a good ruler and good citizen 

    Log Book Instruction:

    • To be a good citizen, do you think that there must be some minimum level of education and knowledge? Can someone that does not know how to read and write be a good citizen?
    • Can anyone be a good ruler?
    • How do you recognize a good ruler? Give two example of two recent rulers that you consider as good. What makes them good/ inspiring? Can they be a role model of a good ruler?

    Week -9- Authoritarian governments 

    Lecture 7 – Absolutism

    Log Book Instruction:

    • Is it possible for some people to prefer living under authoritarian regime than democracy?
    • Can an authoritarian regime be a just government or provide a good live to its population? Give concrete example.
    • What qualities should the ruler have for this kind of government to work? Do you think it is being optimistic?
    • Is it in the human nature to be corrupted by power? give concrete example to justify your answer.
    • In china, only since 2010 did a National Party Congress report made a reference to happiness as a national goal in a paragraph right below the one devoted to the maintenance of G.D.P. growth. Can economic growth be more important as a target than happiness? Do you think economic growth leads to happiness?

    Week -10- Government of the Elite
    Lecture 8 -Aristocracy


    • Where does the term “elite” come from, and what does it mean?
    • Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign was based on the rejection of the “establishment”. Theresa May condemned the rootless “international elites” in her leader’s speech at last October’s Conservative party conference. On the European continent, increasingly popular right-wing parties such as Marine Le Pen’s Front National and the German Alternative für Deutschland, as well as Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, delight in denouncing the “Eurocratic” elites.

    What motivates those feelings? Why people are so receptive to such discourses?

    • What’s a Lobby? Does it mean that even in democratic society, only rich people have a say in the lawmaking process?
    • Choose one country where you think the elites are in power, describe it and explain why.

    Week 11 – Revisions and conclusion 

    Question Bank – IRD203

    Logbook II – Due 10012018

    Term Paper – Due 120118


    • What did you learn over the course of the semester?
    • With which of the author studied do you agree the most ? (take into consideration human nature, state of nature (if relevant). social contract and type of best government). Explain why.
    • What questions did the lecture trigger in your approach to government?
    • What are your expectation for the 2nd semester?

    3rd Year – Religion and politics

    Week -1- Introduction
    Introduction – How religious beliefs affect politics

    This lecture aim at explaining the resurgence of religion into politics matters in the 21st century and explain why the secularization theory happened to be false prophecy.

    Week -2- Christianity in the US 

    Lecture 2- Christinanity and US politics
    Election 2016

    This lecture aim at explaining the importance of Christian religion into American political life. Until today, all American president officially belonged to the Christian religion. A focus will be put on the political campaign on Donald Trump and explain how through some key campaign promises he managed to attract  the vote of evangelicals.

    This lecture will also try to explain why the US managed to stay religious while Europe is becoming more and more atheistic and religion more and more a matter of tradition than belief.


    Week -3- Secularism in Europe 

    Lecture 3 – Secular Western Europe

    The lecture will provide you some historical background on why and how Europe became secular.

    It will develop the examples of religion in UK and Sweden with the aim of explaining how religion can become more a matter of ethics and culture rather than a matter of belief in God. Many European consider themselves are Christian while not believing in all what is in the Bible.

    The example of France will be developed as well as. As French Laicite is unique. The question “is French laicite islamophobic ? ” will be debated.

    Week -4- Judaism and Israel 

    Lecture 4 – Judaism and Israel 

    This lecture will give you a brief overview of the Jewish religion as well as the history related to the creation of the jewish state.

    In addition, this lecture will insist on the diversity of the Israeli society and how it impacts political decisions and election in the country especially regarding the peace process with Palestine.

    Week -5- Islam and democracy
    Lecture 5. Political Islam

    This lecture will focus on the question: Is Islam compatible with democracy ? The class will consist on looking at a debate on the topic from Al Jazzera and then debating the topic in class.

    Week -6- Buddhism in South East Asia

    Lecture 7 – Buddhism

    This lecture will give you an overview of the Buddhist religion from the fundation of the religion to the particular belief system of it.

    It will also develop the case study of Myanmar and the current events of mass murder of the Rohingya people in the Akine region of Myanmar.

    Week -7- Religion in India

    Lecture 6 Religion in India

    This lecture will focus on Hinduism and the impact of Hinduism in Indian history starting to the independance of India until today.

    Week -8- Religion, Democracy and Human Right

    Lecture 9 – religion, democracy and HR

    This lecture will focus on explaining the complexe relationship between religion and democracy. How in European history democracy developed by opposition to religious authority. It will also develop the ambiguity of religions toward Human right as many religion promote in spirit the main human right.

    It will also discuss the challenge of promoting religious freedom as a human right in democracies.

    A debate will also be held using quotes from the Bible both in support and against slavery. The aim of this debate is to show that out of their context the same religious book can be used to prove the thesis and anti thesis of the same practice.

    Anti-slavery arguments

    Slavery arguments

    Week 10 – Revisions 

    Question bank – IRD305

     4th Year – World Politics

    Week 1 – Introduction

    This lecture will introduction the syllabus, assignment and explain the functioning of the Blog. The lecture will consist on 2 parts:

    Week 2 – Nation and Nationalism

    Lecture 1 – Nations and Nationalism
    Opinion Column – Marion Oudar


    Week -3- Non state actors  

    Lecture 2 – Non state actors

    Week -4- Businesses and corporations

    Lecture 3 – Business and Firms

    Week -5-  PAR II – The state of the world
    Lecture 4 – US foreign policy

    Week -6- Midterm  

    Week -7- Midterm correction

    Week -8- Europe and the migration crisis 

    Lecture 5 – European migation crisis

    Week -9- The middle east and the resource curse 

    Lecture 8 – Middle east and resource curse

    Week -10- Revisions and Conclusion