Undergraduate Courses

Third Year Course

Between Conflict and Peace: Transitions in Society and Politics

This course utilizes a range of disciplinary and theoretical approaches to analyse the concept of ‘transition’ as a fundamental condition of world history. It examines this through two related processes: the transition from conflict to peace and from peace to conflict at both a macro and micro level. Topics include the transition of states through revolutionary violence or peaceful means, and how individuals are radicalized into terrorist groups or become involved in non-violent movements. In addition, the course will investigate transitions in global institutions, norms and technology that generate local and individual changes.

For further information please contact Dr. Luisa Gandolfo: k.luisa.gandolfo@abdn.ac.uk

Fourth Year Course

Deconstructing Peace and Conflict: The End of Utopia

This course explores the idea that history has a linear and logical dynamic moving forward to an inevitable historical endpoint or peaceful utopia. We examine this through various historical movements and political philosophies that advance different utopian goals, including the concept of free-market democracy, revolutionary Marxism, and Political Islam. Yet, the idea of progress to peaceful utopia is fundamentally questioned by the current global reversal of democracy, new forms of identity politics, the economic collapse of 2008, global warming, and a number of ethnic conflicts since the end of the Cold War. Such anxieties also pervade the social sciences, where its historical roots in ideas of social and theoretical progress have been critiqued and, in some cases, even dispensed with. This course encourages students to explore and engage with the concepts of political and social progress and contemporary anxieties with utopian thinking. It will encourage students to identify the intellectual, cultural, social and political roots of historical progress and the main critiques from a number of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives.

For further information please contact John Nagle: j.nagle@abdn.ac.uk.