Contemporary Issues

Media Studies
4.5 ECTS; 2º Ano, 1º Semestre, 15,0 T + 30,0 TP + 3,0 OT

Lecturer
- Tiago André Ferreira Lopes

Prerequisites
Not applicable

Objectives
1.) Examine the ontological and epistemological construction of the concept of contemporary, distinguishing four of its components: political, social, philosophical and historical
2.) Interpret the construction of the international community in the post-Cold War, focusing primarily the political pillar (Governance) and the socioeconomic pillar (Colonialism and Imperialism) without disregarding a more holistic approach to the international architecture looking to the defense, culture and institutional pillars
3.) Explain the transformation of the concept of democracy in the contemporary age by analyzing three moments: the Colored Revolutions in the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia; the Arab Spring in North Africa and Middle East and the electoral populism in the European Union
4.) Analyze the immediate and mediate dynamics inherent to contemporary issues with transnational scale. The option for the issues of Terrorism and Religious Fundamentalism as well as the politicization of Climate Change was made due not only to the multidisciplinary dimension of such issues but also to its value as communication items

Program
1. How do we think the contemporary?
1.1. Historical landmarks of the contemporary era
1.2. The Contemporary in the light of the debate: End of History vs. Clash of Civilizations
1.3. From trans-nationalism to hyper-individualism: the complexity inherent to the contemporary era

2. Global Governance
2.1. The concept of governance in International Relations
2.2. The government beyond elections: post-electoral accountability
2.3. The idea of multi-level governance
2.4. The citizen in the era of political decentralization
3. Colonialism, Decolonization and Imperialism
3.1. Modes of colonization by the European Empires
3.2. Mechanisms and forms of Decolonization in the aftermath of the World Wars
3.3. Political decolonization without economic decolonization
3.4. Economic Imperialism in the age of interdependence

4. From the transition to democracy to the Colored Revolutions
4.1. Understanding the idea of Colored Revolution
4.2. The political events in the aftermath of Yugoslavia's and USSR implosions
4.3. The counter-revolutionary wave
4.4. New protests, old agendas: a dialectic loop?
5. The pressing issue of the Arab Spring
5.1. In search for an Arab Democracy?
5.2. The re-awakening of the Arab civil Society
5.3. Compared historical reading: the 1960s/1970s and the 2010s
5.3. The need for a geopolitical framing
5.4. The political and religious dimension of the Arab Spring
6. Euro-skepticism and electoral populism
6.1. The question of a transnational European identity
6.2. The consequences of the Sovereign Debt Crisis management
6.3. The political outcome of the refugees crisis and the migrants wave
6.4. The increase of popularity of euro-skepticism in Central and Northern Europe
6.5. The issue with electoral populism in the European Union

7. International Terrorism and Religious Fundamentalism
7.1. The idea of religious fundamentalism and the influence of the Cold War
7.2. Islamic Fundamentalism and Christian Fundamentalism
7.3. Terror and terrorism: the politicization of an emotion
7.4. The internationalization of political Terror
7.5. The social and political risks of normalizing terror in contemporary societies
8. The ideological and transnational dimensions of climate change
8.1. Climate change agenda in international politics
8.2. The central role of the UN and its specialized agencies
8.3. Environmentalism as a new political ideology
8.4. States and political parties (mezzo) and the citizens movements (micro) confronted with the global dimension of environmentalism (macro)

Evaluation Methodology
The course final grade will depend on three elements: active class participation (25%), review of specialized bibliography (35%), critical analysis of a contemporary problem (40%).

Bibliography
- Alves, A. (2017). Teoria Política e Geoestratégia - Desafios Contemporâneos. Lisboa: Alêtheia Editores
- Ainley, K. e Brown, C. (2009). Compreender as Relações Internacionais. Lisboa: Gradiva
- Wittlinger, R. e Larres, K. (2019). Understanding Global Politics - Actors and themes in International Affairs. Nova Iorque: Routledge
- Baylis, J. e Smith, S. e Owens, P. (2008). The Globalization of World Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Method of interaction
Classes will follow the expositive method being complemented with debates monitored by the instructor. Whenever needed audiovisual materials will be used to ease the students comprehension of all the themes and issues in the syllabus

Software used in class
Not applicable