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Sozial­wissenschaften - Bachelor (englisch)

Political Science

Courses in Political Science are usually only open for incoming exchange students majoring in Political Science and for exchange students at the School of Social Sciences (Sociology, Psychology). Nominated exchange students will be contacted by their departmental exchange coordinator via e-mail at the end of November/early December (fall semester) or by the end of May/early June (Spring semester) regarding their course choice.

Exchange students from other schools and departments may only attend classes if (a) places are left for other students (b) they have basic knowledge in political science and statistics (c) the departmental exchange coordinator explicitly approves their participation. In case of further questions, please contact: int-pol@uni-mannheim.de.

HS Ausgewählte Themen der Internationalen Beziehungen II: Contentious Politics, Mobilization and Repression (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Sabine Carey
Beschreibung:
In this seminar we engage with contemporary research on contentious politics, mobilization and state repression. The main goal is to develop a deeper understanding of the important actors, strategies and processes of political mobilization and demobilization. Why do protest events rarely reach a critical mass? Which factors facilitate the diffusion of protest? How might innovative mobilization strategies help to generate a contentious momentum? When and how do states react to different forms of contention? Does repression of protest quell or fuel upheaval? We will address these questions (among others) and discuss existing approaches to answer them. By the end of the seminar students shall be able to critically assess prior contributions in terms of theory and empirical analysis. The course is reading-intensive and requires active participation in class to allow for fruitful discussions. Course language is English.
HS Ausgewählte Themen der Internationalen Beziehungen II: The Political Economy of War (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Sabine Carey
Beschreibung:
Applying a broader definition of the political economy of war, we will deal with various aspects of the interconnection of economy and warfare. Why is there war? What triggers war? How is war conducted? 
What are recruitment techniques? How can post-conflict reconstruction be achieved? Approaching these and other questions, the course follows a possible conflict cycle: it starts with triggers and fuels of conflict, continues with reasons for conflict termination, and concludes with post-conflict (economic) reconstruction. Along the way, the course also considers various aspects that are related to the political economy of conflict, e.g., recruitment techniques and arms trade.
The goal of this course is to give students a comprehensive understanding of how economy is crucial to understanding the dynamics of conflict.
HS Ausgewählte Themen der Internationalen Beziehungen II: Terrorism and Co­unterterrorism: Understanding the Strategic Context of Terrorist Networks (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Sabine Carey
Beschreibung:
Terrorism and responses to terrorism are among the dominating issues these days, making daily headlines, creating public anxiety, and influencing public policy alike. Any effective response to terrorism needs to rest upon the foundation of systematic analysis of the causes of terrorism as well as the strategies and tactics that are employed by terrorists. To this end we will start with a systematic analysis of the roots of terrorism according to different theories. What makes people choose terrorism as a form of contentious behavior and why do people join terrorist groups? We will also discuss how terrorist groups organize themselves to carry out their tasks effectively. However, terrorism does not occur in a vacuum. Terrorist groups work in a context of illicit actors. We will look, for example, into collaborative arrangements between terrorist groups, organized crime, and other violent non-state actors. We will also look at the actors of co­unter-terrorism. What can be done to disrupt terrorist networks? How can co­unter-terrorism agencies work together to increase their effectiveness and to what extent do terrorism and efforts to co­unter terrorism affect each other?
 
By discussing such questions the objectives of this seminar are threefold. First, students are introduced to the method of terrorism as a form of political violence. It is essential to understand the actors, the structure of terrorist groups as well as their modus operandi. Only then it is possible to start an informed discussion about the possible strategies of co­untering terrorism. To this end, the seminar introduces Social Network Analysis as a methodological tool that can be utilized to disrupt the operational capacities of terrorist networks. Second, the seminar aims to introduce several data sets used to study terrorism. Terrorism is a clandes­tine activity. As such the availability and reliability of data pose significant challenges for terrorism research. Students will familiarize themselves with available data sets and assess their use for research projects. The third objective of this course is to learn (or refresh) issues concerning research design as well as to critically assess arguments in the assigned literature or made by fellow students.
HS Ausgewählte Themen der Internationalen Beziehungen II: Differentiated European Integration (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Empfohlene Voraussetzungen:
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:
Short description:
While we can easily make a list of the member states of the European Union (EU), formal membership tells us increasingly little about where the rules, rights, and obligations of the Union apply. The common currency and the Schengen free travel area do not include all member states. Countries such as Norway and Switzerland are not members of the Union but participate to varying degrees in its market and policies. The United Kingdom seeks to maintain selective participation in the EU’s market despite its intention to give up formal EU membership. This course surveys the academic debate about the origins of these patterns of “differentiated integration” and their consequences for the way EU institutions work and for the future of the EU more generally.
HS Ausgewählte Themen der Politischen Soziologie I: Information Technology and Politics (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
7
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lernziel:
Course Aims The aim of Selected Topics in Political Sociology: Information Technology and Politics is to explore some of the most important and controversial debates about the potential of new ICTs to influence the conduct of politics (broadly perceived) at both the micro and macro level. By the end of the course, students should be familiar with empirical and theoretical assessments of various aspects of political life that are (re)shaped by ICTs, and able to apply their previous and future knowledge of political science theories to engage, explore and reassess further the main debates and controversies surrounding the political consequences of these technologies. The material explored in the course aims to help students distance themselves from the widespread mainstream speculation that understands new media and ICTs as a panacea, a salvation or a hazard to contemporary democratic politics. It aims to provide them with a theoretical and empirical backing for critically thinking about the political potential and limits of these technologies. The course material focuses on hotly debated issues about internet, participation, and democratisation, and raises a lot of difficult questions without providing definite answers. The students will engage in fresh debates and will have to critically examine the impact of technologies that is so constantly in flux, that international developments at the end of the semester might already be challenging theories and approaches we saw as established at the beginning of the course. Students will therefore be encouraged to not only critically think about the political impact of a technology that alters itself and the world around it on a daily basis; but to be prepared, like John Maynard Keynes said, to change their minds when facts change!
Literatur:
Core Reading
Rainie, L. & Wellman, B. (2012) Networked: The New Social Operating System, Cambridge: MIT Pess.

Bennett, L.W. & Segerberg, A. (2013) The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stromer Galley, J. (2014) Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lektor(en):
Harald Schoen
Beschreibung:
Course description Daily life has become a connected life and is driven by non-stop incoming mail notifications, Facebook updates, (re)tweeted messages, YouTube videos and other electronically mediated fragments. This ‘networked’ lifestyle gives us an increasing feeling of connectedness (or disconnectedness?) and provides constantly opportunities for learning, problem-solving, enriching our social life through diverse interactions and becoming better informed about, and engaged with, the world around us. Over the last two decades, the proliferation and convergence of networked media and information technologies have profoundly redefined communication patterns between citizens and their representatives, altered significant aspects of everyday life, and reshaped our thinking about the conduct of democratic politics. This course is concerned with the impact of information technologies on the political process, focusing on the rise of the internet as a political tool and examining its potential to empower (but also, under certain circumstances, to weaken) individuals. It explores the ways in which new information and communication technologies (ICTs) constantly reconfigure relations between states, citizens and institutions. It discusses the rise of platforms such as social networking sites and microblogs, and focuses on their transformative role on civic engagement, organisation, participation and democracy. Finally, it critically assesses the internet’s role as a tool for democratisation, on the one hand, and its potential for authoritarian control, on the other, drawing on recent cases such as the Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring mobilisations and the NSA surveillance revelations. What are the political consequences of the intersection of politics and ICTs? How does intense online networking change the way we think about and practice politics? Some say that the internet does not simply empower political participation but can even trigger revolutions. Yet, others insist that it is just ‘politics as usual’, if not a dangerous tool for cyber-bullying, censorship and surveillance. This course engages with these controversies and tackles these difficult questions aiming to help students think critically and constructively about some of the most important the challenges of the information age.
HS Ausgewählte Themen der Vergleichenden Regierungs­lehre I: Social Choice (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Literatur:
Austen-Smith, David and Jeffrey S. Banks (2000): Positive Political Theory I. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
Mackie, Gerry (2003): Democracy Defended. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Riker, William H. (1982): Liberalism Against Populism. Long Grove: Waveland Press.
Lektor(en):
Anna-Sophie Kurella , Thomas Bräuninger
Beschreibung:
How can a group of individuals arrive at the best decision? Does the choice of how to choose affect the quality of the choice itself? What is the right action after all? These are hard, but important questions for political scientists and this seminar is going to explore them. To begin with we will study the basics of social choice theory like preference profiles and aggregation rules in order to understand and discuss important results of the theory and their implications for democratic decision making. Amongst others we will discuss the Condorcet paradox, as well as the theorems of Arrow and Gibbard-Satterthwaite. These theorems suggest that in many situations there is no “best“ decision that satisfies all group members and meets certain democratic standards. Thus we have to ask the question how political institutions can nevertheless legitimate their decisions. This will be the starting point for seminar discussions of democratic decision making processes and criteria of legitimacy. Concluding we will take a look at real world implementations of various decision rules (e.g. in national elections) and discuss them with reference to the theoretical concepts we developed in the first part of the seminar.
HS Ausgewählte Themen der Vergleichenden Regierungs­lehre II: Regime Change and Social Media (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:
What role does social media play in revolutions, protests and other forms of regime change? Can authoritarian leaders such as those of Russia and China also use it to their advantage? Do movements such as MoveOn in the US effectively capitalize on new media? Social media is changing the way we conduct politics and social life more generally. This course will take a look at the distinct features of social media that allow this to happen. We use advances in political science and communications studies to investigate the role of digital technologies in processes of regime change around the world. We will look at a series of cases, and we will try to understand the promise and limitations of social media as a tool for social change and transformation.
PS Einführung in die Internationalen Beziehungen (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
Lektor(en):
PS Einführung in die Internationalen Beziehungen (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
Lektor(en):
PS Einführung in die Internationalen Beziehungen: Russian Foreign Policy. Russia and Eurasia: Foreign and Security Policies (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:

This course explores the vital international relations of Russia and other post-Soviet states. By starting with a historical survey, we will examine how geopolitical, economic, cultural, and other factors have played out in determining the origins and shaping the nature of the Russian empire. This is followed by a study of the Soviet era, i.e. the rise, conduct, and end of the Cold War (also the collapse of USSR) where power, ideology, institutions, and leadership will be comprehensively analyzed.
 

The remainder of the course is concerned with the analysis of post-Soviet foreign policy, critical junctures in particular regions (Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus-Caspian) as well as salient issues in trade, terrorism, peacekeeping, NATO expansion, colored revolutions and frozen conflicts in the former Soviet space. Though the “what, where and when” of post-Soviet foreign policy may predominate at times, understanding the “why” is our underlying goal. That is, while knowledge of specific foreign policy developments is essential, so is viewing these developments in the context of international relations theory—economic vs. ideological analyses, foreign or domestic influences, the roles of individuals and institutions, the impact of nationalism and the politics of identity, etc.
Political Participation and Political Attitudes (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:
Political participation and political attitudes are core concepts in political science. Attitudes influence how citizens perceive the world around them. Likewise, they are assumed to crucially affect political participation behaviour. Political participation in turn is the key component in democracies, since it conveys the citizens’ interests and opinions to the democratic decision-makers. In the seminar, we will consider the various perspectives and explanations offered in political sociology and political psychology research on (1) the background of political participation and its several forms; on (2) how attitudes form and develop; and on (3) how attitudes and participation behaviour are related to each other. The themes discussed will cover both theoretical ideas as well as methodological concerns like the measurement and assessment of attitudes and political participatory behaviour.
PS Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungs­lehre: Economic Origins and Consequences of Authoritarianism (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
Lernziel:
Students learn to engage analytically with a body of literature through active reading, presenting a reading in class and writing an analytical essay about a research question from the readings. Substantively, students are introduced to state-of-the art theories on authoritarian politics and evidence from large-n and case studies.
Literatur:
TBA
Lektor(en):
Thomas Bräuninger
Beschreibung:
From a historical perspective, governments have been predominantly of authoritarian form. Even after the spread of democracy in the second half of the twentieth century, around 40% of governments hosting half of the human population still feature authoritarian characteristics today. Understanding the conceptual difference between authoritarianism and democracy. between different forms of authoritarian government, as well as their origins and consequences is thus of paramount importance to a comprehensive study of comparative politics.

This course introduces students to the politics of authoritarian rule from an economic perspective. The course addresses two central questions: 1) Which actors, incentives and institutions cause a stable authoritarian regime? 2) What are their consequences to the organization of economic activity? The course is structured in two parts which approach the questions and material thematically. We start by discussing the conceptual difference between authoritarian and democratic regimes and progress to a discussion of the fundamental dilemma of dictatorships. We then discuss how problems of information and collective action influence this dilemma and the corresponding role of institutions in authoritarian regimes. The first part concludes by covering two interrelated tensions that drive authoritarian rule: the conflict of redistribution and the natural resource curse. The second part covers implications of authoritarian rule for the organization of economic activity. We discuss how authoritarian rule affects drivers and barriers of economic development such as property rights, foreign direct investment, patronage and repression. We conclude the course by touching on the question under which economic conditions transition to democracy occurs.
PS Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungs­lehre: Comparative Political Institutions (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Thomas Bräuninger , Britt Louisa Bolin
Beschreibung:
This seminar examines the origins, function, and effects of political institutions from a comparative perspective. Key analytical questions will be addressed, such as: Why and how do institutions evolve? What are their effects on political actors, processes, and policies? How do institutions change over time? The course surveys key academic literature on political institutions, and students will critically engage with the literature both theoretically and methodologically. Topics include the theories of institutionalism, regime types, electoral systems, legislatures, political parties and party systems, veto players, and institutional change.
PS Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungs­lehre: Political systems, parties and citizens: a comparative perspective (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Marc Debus
Beschreibung:
In this course, we will focus on the relations­hip between institutional arrangements, political elites and citizens. Specifically, we will examine major themes such as political regimes, presidential versus parliamentary systems, parties, political participation and electoral systems. Theoretical and methodological issues will be discussed in class in a way that students will be able to analyze how political scientists answered relevant research questions by using comparison as a method of inquiry. Students will develop skills to assess some of the most important debates in Comparative Politics.
PS Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungs­lehre: Democratization and Authoritarian Persistence (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Marc Debus
Beschreibung:
After a wave of democratization, the world is currently looking back on ten years of continuous net democratic decline (Freedom House). This course addresses these developments and deals with democratic and autocratic political regimes as well as hybrid forms. Students will learn how these regimes are defined and which instruments exist to measure them. Based on this first part, the course will turn to explaining both transitions from one regime type to another, and regime stability.
PS Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungs­lehre: „International Development and Democracy“ (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:
The course introduces students to current issues in international development. The first part introduces concepts of poverty and a general overview of development theories. Why are some nations rich and others poor? What do we understand as poverty? The next section concentrates on economic development and foreign aid. Who are the main actors in international development? What are their interests and strategies? How effective is foreign aid? Finally, we take an institution-centered perspective. Are some institutions better at promoting development? What role does democracy play for stability and development?
PS Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungs­lehre: Latin American Politics (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Marcela Ibáñez de Foerster
Beschreibung:
This course seeks to introduce students to the central questions and puzzles of Latin American politics. We will focus on contemporary issues prevalent in the region such as political instability, authoritarianism, democratization, social inequality, organized crime and violence. Some of the question that we will address during the course are: What have been the causes and consequences of authoritarianism in the region? Why are some countries more ’democratic’? Why has the military been so crucial in Latin American politics? What role do organized crime organizations play in the political arena? What explains past and present political violence in the region? We will approach these questions from a comparative perspective to analyze and understand crucial historic events that have shaped the current notion of state and democracy in the region. In order to achieve this, we will proceed from an overview of the region as a whole followed by a detailed analysis of the political development of five country case studies.
PS Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungs­lehre: Parties and Coalitions in European Democracies (Proseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Proseminar
ECTS:
5
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Marc Debus
Beschreibung:
The holy trinity of coalition politics – ‘Who gets in?’, ‘Who gets what?’, and ‘Will it last?’ –
has been at the center of scholarly interest on multiparty governments in European parliamentary
democracies (Laver and Schofield 1998). This course provides an introductory overview of
current research on these three stages of the government life cycle. Based on recent contributions
in the literature, students examine research questions concerning 1) determining factors of
government formation and bargaining duration, 2) quantitative and qualitative aspects of portfolio
allocation, and 3) factors influencing the duration of multiparty governments. Throughout
the course, students are introduced to the relevant data sources of coalition politics, providing
them with plenty of opportunities to conduct their own analyses and develop first ideas for
their term paper.
Ü Datenauswertung (Workshop, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Workshop
ECTS:
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Empfohlene Voraussetzungen:
Literatur:
See lecture “Data Analysis for Political Scientists”
Lektor(en):
Thomas Gschwend
Beschreibung:
The excercise „Data Analysis for Political Scientists“ accompanies the respective lecture. The basic methods of data analysis using the statistical software package Stata are explained and practiced.
Ü Datenauswertung (Workshop, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Workshop
ECTS:
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Harald Schoen
Beschreibung:
Contents:

The excercise „Data Analysis for Political Scientists“ accompanies the respective lecture. The basic methods of data analysis using the statistical software package Stata are explained and practiced.
 
Conditions:

Participation at the lecture „Datenauswertung: Data Analysis for Political Scientists“.
Ü Datenauswertung (Workshop, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Workshop
ECTS:
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Annelies Blom
Beschreibung:
Contents:

The excercise „Data Analysis for Political Scientists“ accompanies the respective lecture. The basic methods of data analysis using the statistical software package Stata are explained and practiced.
 
Conditions:

Participation at the lecture „Datenauswertung: Data Analysis for Political Scientists“.
Ü Datenauswertung (Workshop, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Workshop
ECTS:
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:
Contents:

The excercise „Data Analysis for Political Scientists“ accompanies the respective lecture. The basic methods of data analysis using the statistical software package Stata are explained and practiced.
 
Conditions:

Participation at the lecture „Datenauswertung: Data Analysis for Political Scientists“.
Ü Datenauswertung (Workshop, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Workshop
ECTS:
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Annelies Blom
Beschreibung:
Contents:

The excercise „Data Analysis for Political Scientists“ accompanies the respective lecture. The basic methods of data analysis using the statistical software package Stata are explained and practiced.
 
Conditions:

Participation at the lecture „Datenauswertung: Data Analysis for Political Scientists“.
Ü Methoden der Internationalen Beziehungen I: Quantitative Methods in International Relations ( Block seminar! Dates see course description) (Wissenschaft­liche Übung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Wissenschaft­liche Übung
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Thomas König
Beschreibung:
Attention:  Block Seminar! Time: 13.30-17.00

The course in general takes place on a biweekly basis (see dates for exceptions) from 13.30 - 17.00 (3 x 1 hour plus two 15 minute breaks). Dates are 14.02, 28.02., 14.03., 28.03., 02.05., 09.05. and 23.05.


Course description:
  This course is intended to expand the knowledge of undergraduate students to quantitative methods used for research in the field of International Relations. The goal is to equip students with the skills necessary to write a successful BA thesis and to train them to do so using the statistical package STATA. The course provides a short wrap up of the data analysis courses of previous semesters (data management, descriptive statistics, etc.) and teaches advanced techniques for dealing with continuous, binary, and count variables, as well as regression diagnostics.

A good working knowledge of statistics is a prerequisite for successful participation in the class.

Registration: via Student Portal 2
Office hours: to be determined
Ü Methoden der Internationalen Beziehungen I: Causal processes, experiments, and datasets in international politics (Wissenschaft­liche Übung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Wissenschaft­liche Übung
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:
Short description:
One of the most important goals of political scientists is to examine causal hypotheses empirically. They do this by investigating causal processes, conducting experiments, and by collecting and analyzing observational datasets. The aim of this course is to discuss and practice each of these three research activities. Students will evaluate examples of scholarly work on causal processes, conduct mini-experiments, scrutinize widely-used datasets, and replicate and adjust observational data analyses.
Ü Methoden der Vergleichenden Regierungs­lehre II: Measuring and Analyzing Party Competition on European Integration with Stata (Wissenschaft­liche Übung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Wissenschaft­liche Übung
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Marc Debus
Beschreibung:
Whether it is the AfD in Germany, the FN in France or Podemos in Spain: populist Eurosceptic parties on both sides of the political spectrum have gained massive ground in recent years and altered the party competition on European integration all around Europe. The goal of this course is to learn how we can measure party positions on EU issues and how we can analyze the changes in European party systems in a comparative perspective. In the first part of the semester, we will recap basic statistical methods and their application with the program Stata and study different methodological approaches and data bases that can be used to study party competition in general. In the second half, we will read and replicate central and current empirical studies in this research area. Students are asked to perform regular data analysis exercises and a larger final exercise at the end of the semester, in order to pass the course. A basic knowledge of quantitative statistical methods and their empirical application is essential to follow the class.
VL Ausgewählte Themen der Internationalen Beziehungen I: EU Integration and Policy-Making (Vorlesung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Vorlesung
ECTS:
7
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:
*Exchange students not majoring in Political Science, please send a copy of your transcript with evidence of having completed an introductory political science course to int-pol@uni-mannheim.de until January 15, 2017.

Course description


The aim of this lecture is to introduce students to the development, institutional structure, functioning and policies of the European Union. The first part of the course positions the EU political system in a comparative perspective and offers an overview of various theories of integration and policy-making, the role and internal organization of the EU institutions as well as the main procedures and modes of inter-institutional decision-making. The second part of the course examines selected EU policies. The final part assesses recent challenges facing European integration.

Aims and objectives

To acquaint students with the history and theories of European integration.
To introduce students to analytical theoretical models on the structure and functioning of the EU institutions as well as EU policy-making.
To familiarise students with the main policy competencies of the EU.
To encourage critical reading, extracting and synthesizing information from the course materials.
To promote independent thinking and informed interpretation of current events and challenges facing the EU.
 
Literature

Desmond Dinan (2010) Ever Closer Union, 4th ed. Lynne Rienner.
 
Hix, S. and Høyland, Bjorn (2011) The Political System of the European Union. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Prerequisite

An introductory course in political science.
Recommended for: B.A.-Students in Political Science (4th semester)

Credits: 7 ECTS

Language of instruction: English


Course requirements: A final exam.
VL Ausgewählte Themen der Vergleichenden Regierungs­lehre II: Regime Types (Vorlesung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Vorlesung
ECTS:
7
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:

How do different political regimes arise and change? This course will look at the different regime types in the world, their definitions, historical roots and  evolution. Some of the main readings in political science on authoritarian breakdowns and democratic transitions will be onsidered. Emphasis is on concepts and arguments, not on memorizing mechanical facts.

Professor Marinov will only respond to emails about readings other matters pertaining to the course if the question concerns information not already covered in class. Thus, if you have not been in class, and are asking a question that we covered in class, I cannot offer a response by email. I will make sure to take all student questions before and after the beginning of each class. There are office hours for those who wish to speak to to me outside of class - check the syllabus and my door.
VL Datenauswertung (Vorlesung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Vorlesung
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Empfohlene Voraussetzungen:
Literatur:
Kellstedt, P. & G. Whitten. 2009. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lewis-Beck, M. 1980. Applied Regression: An Introduction. London: Sage.
Agresti, A. & Finlay, B. 2008. Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences, 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Pollock, P.H. 2009. The Essentials of Political Analysis. 3rd ed. Washington DC: CQ Press.
Lektor(en):
Thomas Gschwend , Sean Damien Carey
Beschreibung:
Statistical skills are essential for students of any empirically oriented social science. In the study of political science an understanding of statistical data analysis is necessary not only for conducting analysis, but also for understanding a significant proportion of the empirical political science literature. This course is an introduction to data analysis in empirical political research. We will introduce the basic methods of data analysis using the statistical software package Stata. The course aims to provide students with an appreciation of what good statistical analysis can achieve, how to use statistical methods appropriately and with confidence and how to interpret the results produced by those methods clearly and correctly.

Sociology

Courses in Sociology are usually only open for incoming exchange students majoring in Sociology and for exchange students at the School of Social Sciences (Political Science, Psychology). Nominated exchange students will be contacted by their departmental exchange coordinator via e-mail at the end of November/early December (fall semester) or by the end of May/early June (Spring semester) regarding their course choice.

Exchange students from other schools and departments may only attend classes if (a) places are left for other students (b) they have basic knowledge in sociology and statistics (c) the departmental exchange coordinator explicitly approves their participation. In case of further questions, please contact: int-soc@uni-mannheim.de.

HS Themen der Allgemeinen & Speziellen Soziologie: Gender in the Western World (instructed by Zoe Caplan) (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
SOCIOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Sociology (int-soc@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.
Lernziel:
COURSE EMPHASIS
I have structured the course so that a large portion of our time will be spent reading and discussing theoretical issues. This reflects my belief that a solid grounding in theory is an essential prerequisite to conducting research in any substantive area. Only after several weeks of thinking, reading and debating about what gender is, how we might study it, how it operates, how it intersects with other axes of inequality in society, will we apply the theories to current empirical problems in the sociology of gender.
Literatur:
READINGS
Readings come from journal articles and book chapters available on the course website.
None of the readings/studies is perfect, and some have much greater failings than others. However, rather than focusing on what is wrong with a study, I urge to think about what you can learn from it. I believe that it is more important to concentrate on developing your own theoretical ideas and identifying empirical work that needs to be done rather than honing your skills at criticizing the work of others.
Lektor(en):
Thomas Gautschi
Beschreibung:
DESCRIPTION
This is an advanced seminar style course that takes a broad theoretical approach to understanding gender as a social phenomenon. There is increasing consensus among sociologists of gender that gender is not primarily an identity or role taught in childhood and enacted in family relations. Instead, gender is an institutionalized system of social practices that constitute people as two significantly different categories, men and women, and organize social relations, and structures of inequality on the basis of that difference. We will begin with an examination of the key theoretical works in sociology that address this conceptualization, focusing on social processes that occur at the macro, interactional, and micro levels. We will also consider how gender intersects with other axes of inequality, such as class and race. We will then apply these theoretical approaches as we explore the processes by which gender difference and inequality are maintained or changed in contemporary society.
ÜK Aktuelle Forschungs­themen: Liberalization and Increasing Inequalities in Rich Democracies (Wissenschaft­liche Übung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Wissenschaft­liche Übung
ECTS:
3
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
Registrierungs­informationen:
SOCIOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Sociology (int-soc@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.
Empfohlene Voraussetzungen:
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:
Course description:
Since the 1980s income inequality has seen a dramatic rise among rich democratic welfare states. This is due in part to a liberalization of social and economic policies and regulatory practices. Other forms of inequality have also risen including wealth and health inequalities. The gap has increased to such a degree that development processes appear to be reversing in some of the wealthiest societies of the world. For example life expectancy, obesity, educational achievement, poverty and especially child poverty rates are getting worse.
 
The recent publications of Wilkinson and Pickett's The Spirit Level and Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century make painfully clear what trajectory many of the societies of the world are following. This course takes a look at how this happened. Part of the story comes with neoliberalism, a new version of classic liberal thought where less government intervention and more burdens on individuals for securing their own welfare are key ideals. The Reagan, Thatcher and Kohl administrations embodied the essence of neoliberal reforms. However part of the story is completely outside of politics. There are rapidly ageing populations among the rich countries of the world, and the globalized economy puts immense pressure on local markets to be competitive through reduced wages, lower tariffs, and reductions in worker protections (i.e., government spending).
 
This course traces the history of liberalizing policies and ideas. It will introduce the main theoretical and methodological approaches in studying liberalization. Moreover, it will describe in detail the similarities and peculiarities of these three countries liberalization trajectories. Participants are expected to read and critically discuss the literature. For full credit they will write an essay comparing some aspect of liberalization and social inequality in 2 or 3 of these countries.
 
Presentations, discussion and the final paper in this course will be in English.

Please bear in mind that the seminar starts in the second half of the semester and has then two sessions per week.

Key Readings:
 
Thelen, K. (2014). Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
ÜK Spezielle Soziologie „Introduction to the Sociology of Professions and Sciences“ (Wissenschaft­liche Übung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Wissenschaft­liche Übung
ECTS:
3
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
SOCIOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Sociology (int-soc@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.
Lektor(en):
Beschreibung:

Experts shape everyday life with arcane knowledge that the public has no full understanding of, and consequentially cannot control. We still trust lawyers with our legal affairs, medical doctors with our health, we share our mental problems with psychologists, and let politicians, bureaucrats and economists run the state, the market and other public institutions. And many regard them highly for providing these services. Then there are all those professionals we hardly have a sense of at all, such as systems biologists, who fight diseases, nuclear physicist, who ensure safe energy supply, and finally, the scientists who receive public funding and work with no immediate impact on society, such as sociology. This course uncovers organizational arrangements and social mechanisms that undergird these and other instance of expert knowledge production and application as a way of asking how abstract expertise shapes public and private life. Throughout the course we consider historical dynamics, public and peer control of the learned professions and the collective definition of thought communities. We study these mechanisms and processes in substantive case studies, including the design of the German research university and its American imitators, the AIDS epidemic and its controversies, the financial crisis, and the failure of common social policy in the EU, among others. Finally, we apply the conceptual tools to today’s digital transformation toward large-scale data processing and Artificial Intelligence. This course aims to deepen our understanding of the division of labor and to identify strategies for making expert knowledge more robust and useful.
VL Allgemeine Soziologie: Organizational Theory (Vorlesung, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Vorlesung
ECTS:
6
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
SOCIOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Sociology (int-soc@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.
Lektor(en):
Henning Hillmann
Beschreibung:
This lecture class will explore recent social science research that seeks to explain variation in organizational behavior and development. We will consider a variety of research questions that tap into both formal and informal ways of organizing: what kinds of institutions are necessary to make economic organization work? Where do such institutions come from? Why do we observe very different outcomes across contexts even though they share the same market-supporting institutions? Why do some organizations survive even though they face the most unfavorable environments? How do conditions at the time of an organization's birth shape its development? To address these and further questions, we will rely both on recent theoretical advances and on empirical studies in a various settings.

Psychology

Courses in Psychology are usually only open for incoming exchange students majoring in Psychology. Nominated exchange students will be contacted by their departmental exchange coordinator via e-mail at the end of November/early December (fall semester) or by the end of May/early June (Spring semester) regarding their course choice.

Exchange students from other schools and departments may only attend classes if (a) places are left for other students (b) they have basic knowledge in psychology and statistics (c) the departmental exchange coordinator explicitly approves their participation. In case of further questions, please contact: int-psy@uni-mannheim.de.

C3: Experimentalpsychologisches Praktikum: Emotions in decision-making process (Kurs 1) (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.

NON-PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS may solely attend if (a) places are left (b) students posses basic knowledge in Psychology and statistics (c) the professor approves participation. For applications please contact the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de).
Lektor(en):
Arndt Bröder
Beschreibung:
My topic concerns the role and influence of emotions on decision-making process. Emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear or disgust can change the way we perceive, compare and choose the options. During the practicum, we will develop an experiment in which we will answer on the following questions: How to choose the experimental paradigm? How to induce different emotions and check whether your manipulation worked? How to measure and interpret results? Our plan is to conduct an experiment and present the results as a poster at the ExPra conference. There will be two project groups of 5 people each. I expect to meet with each group once a week to discuss the projects. The preferable language of discussions and the final report is English. 

Prerequisites:
Quantitative Methods I and II

Note:
There is an introduction for all groups on Feburary 14th, 2016, in EO 145. Topics will be introduced and the organization of the course will be discussed.

Registration:
via the student portal

It can be acquired:
credit for C3 module
C3: Experimentalpsychologisches Praktikum (Kurs 8) Krüger (Hauptseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Hauptseminar
ECTS:
6.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.

NON-PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS may solely attend if (a) places are left (b) students posses basic knowledge in Psychology and statistics (c) the professor approves participation. For applications please contact the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de).
Lektor(en):
Frank Krüger
Beschreibung:
Note:
There is an introduction for all groups on Feburary 14th, 2016, in EO 145. Topics will be introduced and the organization of the course will be discussed.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a widely-used brain imaging technique which produces a series of images which are sensitive to localized changes in blood oxygenation which occur in the brain while performing a task. The purpose of this seminar is to provide a solid foundation in the independent planning, implementation, and analysis of an fMRI experiment. The seminar covers a practical example, including the performance of an actual fMRI scan, aspects of the analysis of the fMRI data from its preprocessing to spatial normalization, analysis of fMRI data with appropriate statistical inference methods (i.e., computer-based neuroimaging statistical packages), and interpretation, visualizing, and reporting of fMRI results.
F3: Ausgewählte Probleme der Allgemeinen Psychologie I: Cognitive Illusions (Pohl) (Seminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Seminar
ECTS:
2.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Literatur:
Literature:
Pohl, R. F. (Hrsg.). (2004). Cognitive illusions: A handbook on fallacies and biases in thinking, judgement, and memory. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.
Lektor(en):
Edgar Erdfelder
Beschreibung:
Content:
Similarly to optical illusions in perception, cognitive illusions reveal basic structures and processes of human information processing. The seminar will focus on illusions of human thinking and judgment. These illusions will be demonstrated in small class-room experiments, which are planned, conducted, analysed, and presented by groups of students. In addition, we will discuss the theoretical background as well as potential practical implications.

Office hours:
Monday and wednesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., or via e-mail
H2: Ausgewählte Probleme der Biologischen Psychologie: The Neurobiology of Trust (Seminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Seminar
ECTS:
2.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.

NON-PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS may solely attend if (a) places are left (b) students posses basic knowledge in Psychology and statistics (c) the professor approves participation. For applications please contact the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de).

For incoming students 2 additional ECTS are available on fulfilment of further course requirements.
Lektor(en):
Georg Alpers
Beschreibung:

Trust is among the most important factors in human life. Present to some degree in all human interaction, it encompasses almost all domains of society and plays, for example, a key role in economic exchange and politics. Although behavioral research has revealed several insights into the nature of trust (including its antecedents and consequences), recent research has begun to study this topic from a neurobiological perspective to gain a deeper understanding. The seminar provides an inter-disciplinary exploration of those neurobiological investigations into trust that have been performed on different levels of analysis: genes, endocrinology, and brain. The seminar further explores impairment of trust due to brain disorders or psychopathologies, including social anxiety disorder, ADHD, major depressive disorder, psychosis, and borderline personality disorder.
J2: Ausgewählte Probleme der Differentiellen Psychologie: Interindividuelle Unterschiede in sozialen Motiven (Gebauer) (Seminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Seminar
ECTS:
2.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Literatur:
References will be given during the course
Lektor(en):
Edgar Erdfelder
Beschreibung:
According to the standard social science model (SSSM; Pinker, 2002; Tooby & Cosmides, 1992) all social sciences share a foundational assumption―namely, that human beings internalize the social norms in their ambient sociocultural context. Put more plainly, people apparently think, feel, and act in ways consistent with the people around them. In this seminar we take a personality perspective on the SSSM and we critically ask: Is it really true that *all* human beings internalize the social norms in their ambient sociocultural context? Or may there also be human beings who do just the opposite―human beings who are motivated to think, feel, and act in opposite ways to the people around them. More broadly, then, we ask: Does personality qualify the SSSM? In examining this issue we focus on the following personality traits: need for uniqueness, preference for consistency, personal need for structure, self-consciousness, right wing authoritarianism, compliance, self-monitoring, autonomy, individualism, independent self-construal, agency and communion, and openness and agreeableness.
J2: Ausgewählte Probleme der Differentiellen Psychologie: Self concept (Gebauer) (Blockseminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Blockseminar
ECTS:
2.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.

NON-PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS may solely attend if (a) places are left (b) students posses basic knowledge in Psychology and statistics (c) the professor approves participation. For applications please contact the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de).

For incoming students 2 additional ECTS are available on fulfilment of further course requirements.
Literatur:
References will be given during the course
Lektor(en):
Edgar Erdfelder
Beschreibung:
Who am I? People differ in their personal answer to this question. In other words, people differ in their self-concepts. The self-concept can be described by its content and by its valance. The two broadest content dimensions of the self-concept are agency (competence, dominance, drive) and communion (prosociality, trustworthiness, warmth). The self-concept’s focal valence dimension is self-esteem. We will learn about the motivational properties of the agency, communion, and self-esteem dimensions, their evolutionary functions, and their importance for predicting thought, feeling, and behavior.
J2: Ausgewählte Probleme der Differentiellen Psychologie: Creativity (Pohl) (Seminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Seminar
ECTS:
2.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.

NON-PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS may solely attend if (a) places are left (b) students posses basic knowledge in Psychology and statistics (c) the professor approves participation. For applications please contact the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de).

For incoming students 2 additional ECTS are available on fulfilment of further course requirements.
Literatur:
Literature:
Kaufman, J. C., & Sternberg, R. J. (Eds.). (2010). The Cambridge handbook of creativity. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Further literature will be mentioned in the seminar
Lektor(en):
Edgar Erdfelder
Beschreibung:
Content:
Creativity - what is that? Does everybody have it or is it a phenomenon of a very small group of geniuses? What are the characteristics of creative people? In this seminar various opinions concerning the nature of creativity, its genesis, its promotion and measurement will be presented and discussed. In this connection it is about both questions with regard to contents and practical applications.

Recommended for:
Students who major in psychology

It can be acquired:
Not graded certificate for differential and personality psychology (by doing a presentation and by attending the seminar regularly)

Information:
All material will be provided in the Internet and in Ilias

Registration:
Via students portal

Office hours:
Monday and wednesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., or via e-mail
M2: Ausgewählte Probleme der Arbeits- und Organisations­psychologie II - Job Performance (Seminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Seminar
ECTS:
4.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.

NON-PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS may solely attend if (a) places are left (b) students posses basic knowledge in Psychology and statistics (c) the professor approves participation. For applications please contact the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de).

For incoming students 2 additional ECTS are available on fulfilment of further course requirements.
Lektor(en):
Sabine Sonnentag
Beschreibung:
This course covers basic concepts and processes of work performance. Issues addressed in the course are, e.g., task performance, creativity, organizational citizenship behavior, and proactive behavior. We will discuss basic concepts as well as important empirical research findings in order to understand work performance. Moreover, practical implications (e.g., in terms of improving work performance) of these concepts and findings will be discussed.
P2: Schwerpunkte der Klinischen Psychologie: Cross-cultural psychology (Seminar, englisch)
Vorlesungs­typ:
Seminar
ECTS:
4.0
Kurs geeignet für:
Kurssprache:
englisch
SWS:
2
Registrierungs­informationen:
PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS will be contacted by the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de) via mail to indicate their course preferences.

NON-PSYCHOLOGY EXCHANGE STUDENTS may solely attend if (a) places are left (b) students posses basic knowledge in Psychology and statistics (c) the professor approves participation. For applications please contact the international affairs coordinator for Psychology (int-psych@uni-mannheim.de).

For incoming students 2 additional ECTS are available on fulfilment of further course requirements.
Lektor(en):
Georg Alpers
Beschreibung:
A big line of research is focusing on broadening the conceptualization of culture in psychology, considering its many forms, such as socioeconomic status, religion, and region. The impact of cultural issues on clinical psychology in recent years has been so extensive that multiculturalism is being identified as a defining issue of the current era of psychology. All the changes in the social behavior, gender behavior, personality traits, emotion expression, thinking styles and cognition influence the work of clinical psychologists worldwide. In this seminar, the complex challenges of cultural influences in the area of clinical psychology will be discussed and evaluated. This seminar will focus on theoretical perspectives that shape current cross-cultural psychology. Questions related to what is universal and what is culture-specific will be answered. Another objective of the course will be to give voice to the students’ personal experiences in their home and visiting universities.
 
The seminar will be held in English. Criteria for participation and obtaining of the credits include an oral presentation about a topic that will be assigned to the students in the beginning of the semester. At the end they will have to hand in also a short summary (two-three pages) about that topic. Active and continuous participation is requested.