I have taught the following classes at the University of Mannheim, at the University of Innsbruck, and at the Oxbridge summer school in Oxford:
Human Rights Politics (MA 3rd Semester Fall 2022 – University of Mannheim)
This seminar focuses on human rights violations as a theoretical concept and as an empirical phenomenon. It tackles questions such as: What are human rights violations? How can we study human rights violations empirically? When are human rights violations most likely to occur? Which groups of individuals face an elevated risk of human rights violations? And which types of interventions are effective to promote human rights? The seminar will be structured according to different political contexts analysing distinct dynamics of repression during `peace‘ and armed conflicts. The seminar sheds light on different perpetrators of human rights abuse and on patterns of civilian victimization and sexual violence during armed conflicts. The seminar also covers selective types of external interventions to conflict-torn societies such as UN Peacekeeping missions or international criminal prosecutions. To bridge the gap between theory and practice, current real-world examples of human rights violations will be discussed in relation to the theoretical concepts introduced in class. By the end of the seminar, students are expected to write their own empirical research paper on a topic of their own choice related to the field of human rights.
Autocratic Politics and State Repression (BA 3rd Semester Fall 2021 – University of Mannheim)
This seminar will introduce students to the political science literature on autocratic regimes, the most prevalent form of government throughout global history. Drawing on a mixture of classical literature and recent empirical articles on autocratic politics, the students will learn about different dimensions of authoritarianism and acquire an understanding of the key concepts of research on autocratic politics. The courses places a particular emphasis on repression in autocratic regimes. Which types of repression are most commonly applied in autocracies? Which factors determine the intensity of repression in autocracies? Which groups are most likely to be targeted in autocracies? Which variables explain variation in repression between autocratic regimes? The seminar will also shed light on citizens‘ responses to state repression in autocracies. We will discuss common strategies that citizens apply in anticipation of state repression such as `preference falsification‘. The seminar will also tackle the question of whether state repression in autocracies incites or deters protests against the regime. The abstract theoretical concepts will be illustrated with empirical examples from various historical cases of autocratic regimes such as Nazi Germany or the former German Democratic Republic and contemporary cases such as China or Russia. Students of this seminar will be actively encouraged to critically discuss the literature and to contribute with their own ideas to the study of autocratic politics.
Human Rights Violations during Peace & Conflict (BA 3rd Semester Spring 2022 & Fall 2019 – University of Mannheim)
This course focuses on human rights violations as a theoretical concept and as an empirical phenomenon. It tackles questions such as: What are human rights violations? How can we study human rights violations empirically? When are human rights violations most likely to occur? Which groups of individuals face an elevated risk of human rights violations? And which types of interventions are effective to promote human rights? The course will be structured according to different political contexts analyzing distinct dynamics of repression during ‚peace‘ and conflict. A particular emphasis will lie on the immediate aftermath of conflicts and the implementation of diverse means of transitional justice. The course will also cover different logics underlying distinct types of human rights violations. To bridge the gap between theory and practice, current real-world examples of human rights violations will be discussed in relation to the theoretical concepts introduced in class.
Varieties of Authoritarianism (BA 3rd Semester Spring 2022 – University of Mannheim)
„Whereas democracies are all alike, each dictatorship may be undemocratic in its own way.“ Milan Svolik uses this paraphrase of Tolstoy to describe the wide institutional diversity of autocratic regimes. Autocratic regimes differ on various dimensions such in the degree of restriction of political parties, in the extent of military involvement in politics, or in the size of the ruling coalition. This seminar covers the varieties of authoritarianism and introduces students to comparative approaches to analyze and to explain this institutional diversity. The seminar covers distinctions between civilian, monarchical, and military dictatorships and enables students to critically analyze the limitations of such ideal type classifications. We also shed light on diverse outcomes in autocratic regimes such as preference falsification, censorship, propaganda, co-optation, and repression. We draw on classical literature and new comparative research on autocratic regimes and discuss both historical and contemporary empirical cases. Students of this seminar will be actively encouraged to critically engage with the literature and to contribute with their own ideas to the study of autocratic politics.
Angewandte Methoden (BA 5th Semester Fall 2021 – University of Innsbruck)
Das Seminar bereitet Studierende auf die selbständige Entwicklung eines Forschungsdesigns zur Beantwortung einer empirischen sozialwissenschaftlichen Frage vor. Die Studierenden lernen eine eigene Forschungsfrage zu entwickeln, Hypothesen aufzustellen, Konzepte zu operationalisieren und mit Daten zu testen. Im Laufe des Seminars lernen die Studierenden grundlegende Begriffe der quantitativen Sozialforschung kennen und sie erhalten eine Einführung in die Datenauswertung mit der Software R. Ein besonderer Fokus liegt auf der Frage, inwiefern Kausalzusammenhänge in den Sozialwissenschaften untersucht werden können und die Studierenden lernen verschiedene Methoden der Kausalinferenz (RCTs, difference-in-difference, regression discontinuity) kennen. Zum Ende des Seminars sollen die Studierenden ein eigenes Forschungsdesign zur Beantwortung einer Frage aus ihrem Interessensgebiet entwickeln.
Introduction to International Relations (2017 – Oxbridge Summer School)
This seminar offers an introduction to theoretical research in International Relations. It discusses the ‚grand theories‘ of International Relations including Realism, Liberalism, Neoliberal Institutionalism, and Constructivism. Key publications from the main representatives of these theories are discussed while intellectual lineages of different theoretical paradigms are traced. Along this process, central concepts of social science theories are introduced and illustrated with real-world examples. Building on these theories, the seminar provides different perspectives on the key controversies of International Relations theory such as the level-of-analysis problem or the importance of material vs. ideational factors. In the second part of the course, this seminar provides an overview over key international institutions such as the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, or the World Trade Organization.