Winter semester 2022/2023

Refuge and Migration in West Asia (BA Seminar)

Course Content

The modern Middle East has not just been shaped by but has indeed emerged from human mobility in all its forms: nomadism, labour migration, violent displacement through war and conflict, and due to environmental change. Throughout the 20th and 21st century, Middle Eastern societies have integrated, both temporarily and permanently, migrant communities from neighbouring countries and from further afield. Migration continues to play a huge role in Middle Eastern politics today, both domestically and as part of the region’s international relations. This course offers a critical and compassionate introduction to the personal and political dramas – for if migration is always political, it is also always emotional in some form – in which human mobility expresses itself in the region and beyond.

Proceeding from different case studies focused on the Middle East, we will study the political and economic frameworks that shape human mobility today, both in the region and globally. We will look at the role of international refugee law and compare it with national frameworks for handling migrant communities. A critical discussion of nationalism as a basis of modern politics will improve our understanding of why and how border controls are becoming increasingly violent in the Middle East and Europe. We will look at both the oppression and the liberation that migration may result in and study the complex reasons that motivate people to move. Students who take this course will gain a good understanding of the key political, economic, humanitarian and academic debates surrounding migration in the Middle East today. The course is based on a wide variety of texts. Aside from academic analyses, we will learn from NGO reports, memoirs, fiction, newspaper clippings and films.

Intelligence Agencies and International Relations (MA Seminar)

Course Content

This seminar considers intelligence agencies as a part of world politics. From this perspective, we will look at the historical origins of modern intelligence agencies and study a number of different examples. Students will be introduced to intelligence studies as an academic field, including different theoretical and methodological debates. The question of how intelligence agencies are controlled and governed, how they function internally and as part of a governmental system, will be addressed. Consideration will be given to the role of domestic political monitoring within both democratic and authoritarian states. In short, this seminar addresses and queries the role and function of intelligence agencies in relation to modern statehood and modern international relations.

Introduction to the Social Sciences (Joint Lecture)

The lecture is held as a joint lecture of the social sciences. This means that students will hear two lectures each from Prof. Dr. Andreas Anter, Prof. Dr. André Brodocz, Prof. Dr. Frank Ettrich, Prof. Dr. Sophia Hoffmann, Prof. Dr. Oliver Kessler, Prof. Dr. Guido Mehlkop and Prof. Dr. Thumfart.

Summer semester 2022

Archival research as a method for political science (BA Seminar)

Course Content

This very ‘hand-on’ seminar will introduce students to archival research as a method for academic enquiry. At the end of the course, students will have a good idea about how to approach archives as a source for empirical material, how to look for specific information in archives and how to organize and analyse archival documents. The course will combine theoretical instructions with an important amount of individual and group work, which students will partly carry out at home. Luckily, many archives offer digital collections, of which we will make ample use. The course will introduce students to many different archives and will also provide participants with the know-how required to look for additional archives, out there, in the vast, international archival universe. In addition to practical skills, which will be taught via frequent exercises, students will also receive theoretical training in archival methodology, and gain an understanding of why archives are always an expression of power relations and often the result of conflict and struggles.  The course takes a critical, power-aware approach to archives and will also include some of the more theoretically-complex, post-colonial writings about archives. Archives are the closest that humans have gotten to inventing the time machine, and this course aims to convey some of the magic and glory, as well as the tragedy and shame, that archival researchers may experience.

Supervision of bachelor theses

Extent and structure of supervision

If you are interested in writing your Bachelor thesis under my supervision, please apply via the IB's central distribution procedure. You can find more information about the procedure here

At the beginning of the semester, all students supervised by me will be invited to a joint meeting; please bring your exposé (or similar) to this meeting. This is followed by several further joint sessions, depending on the number of students, in which the BA projects will be discussed in an informal colloquium. If required, each student can take advantage of a one-time personal counselling session. 

In the fourth or fifth week of the semester, the formal issue of topics takes place (see form). 

The deadline for submitting the BA thesis is the last week of the semester; exceptions are only granted with a medical certificate. BA theses are submitted via Wiseflow. 

If you are aware of personal circumstances that may require an extended deadline (nursing, illness), please discuss these with me at the beginning of the semester. 

Office hours

My weekly office hours are Thursdays 2-3:30 pm, during the semester. 

Please just drop in, without prior appointment.