The overwhelming majority of regimes in the world is authoritarian but our theoretical understanding of how authoritarian regimes persist remains less developed compared to the vast amount of knowledge we gained on democratic regimes. Moreover in recent years, many advanced democracies and semi-democratic regimes have retreated since the leading authoritarian regimes like Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia bolstered up in the global arena. We live in a historical stage whereby ‘authoritarianism goes global.’ It is time we explore the varieties and inner workings of authoritarian regimes and the way they challenge the democratic regimes today. How do authoritarian regimes persist and consolidate? What are different types of authoritarian regimes? What strategies and toolkits do the autocrats use to sustain their power? What weakens the power of the autocrats? Why is authoritarianism becoming more salient at the global level?

This course introduces the most prominent and up-to-date theoretical approaches to authoritarian regimes to shed light on such questions. It utilizes the comparative method in political science and works with a variety of case studies from Asia, Latin America, Africa, Middle East as well as Europe. Its goal is to clarify our understanding and make a theoretically informed assessment of contemporary authoritarianism and its increasing influence within domestic and international domains.
Course Description

This course is designed for students of political science, international relations and humanities who want to gain deeper knowledge of the European Union and its integration processes. It will offer students a comprehensive overview of European integration history, European Union institutions, policies, personalities, treaties and key historical decisions which continue to shape present day policy-making environment.

Throughout the semester, step by step, we will learn about the post-WWII context in which European integration took root, the early European Communities and the reasons behind their inception, enlargement and transformation; we will cover the early years of integration as well as the crises the Communities faced when great political personalities such as Charles de Gaulle or Margaret Thatcher clashed with ideas of supranational governance. We will cover the transformation of economic communities into a political and even a normative union in the post-Cold War era and debate the challenges that await the European Union in the wake of the financial crisis and Brexit today.

Since this course is predominantly knowledge-based, lectures will be the preferred format. This of course does not exclude student participation throughout the course, whether in form of “news” reports, questions or in-class work with period documents and discussion of their relevance.