Don’t Be Surprised By Social Change

Protests in Sanaa, Yemen as part of the Arab Spring. Image: Wikipedia.

Protests in Sanaa, Yemen as part of the Arab Spring. Image: Wikipedia.

Soon-to-start CGP module helps students understand current and historical social transformations.

News from Jun 06, 2016

On December 17, 2010, a Tunisian fruit seller named Mohammad Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest against government oppression. This event was the trigger for a wave of protests, first in Tunisia, and then later throughout the Arab world, that are now known as the ‘Arab Spring’. 3 revolutions, 1 counter-revolution and 2 civil wars later, many ask whether this massive social upheaval could have been predicted.

Whether or not this is the case, the events of the Arab Spring make it obvious that social transformations play a significant role in international relations and global politics. Understanding historic instances of these transformations as well as those ongoing in the modern day is critical to a well-rounded knowledge of the world. For this reason, next month the Center for Global Politics will once again begin our specialized module on this topic as part of our International Relations Online (IRO) blended learning master program.

Entitled ‘Lost in Transformation: Comparative Area Studies’, this module looks at the various eras of transformation that have been seen in the past decades. The decolonization movement and the non-aligned movement in the Cold War, the wave of democratization in Latin America in the 1960s, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the beginning of the 1990s, the recent color revolutions in Eastern Europe, as well as the Arab Spring revolutions will be looked at from a comparative perspective. Alongside this, students will work to answer key questions, such as what guides these transitions, and whether they rose from below, or were imposed from above.

Teaching this course will be Prof. Dr. Andrey Makarychev, a professor of International Relations in Linguistic University and Professor of Political Science in Public Service Academy (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia) and Visiting Professor at the Free University of Berlin. The module itself will begin on the 25th of July this year.