POL42500 Politics of Authoritarianism

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module will introduce students to academic research in authoritarian politics, broadly conceived as nondemocratic political systems. The module will be organized as a seminar style module in which students will read academic research, discuss it in class, analyse it in their writing, and produce a piece of original research. Themes covered will include elite politics, co-optation, ideology, repression, regime origins, foreign relations, and regime breakdown. The module will give students a firm foundation to understand historical and contemporary patterns of authoritarianism.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

o Understand multiple theoretical perspectives on the spread and impact of authoritarianism
o Analyze cross-national empirical patterns
o Interrogate the perspectives and empirical patterns that you learn in your written work
o Construct and evaluate arguments
o Compare, contrast, analyze, and evaluate the politics of authoritarianism across contexts
o Prepare a short but academically rigorous paper on a topic of your choosing related to authoritarian politics
o Think creatively about authoritarianism, democracy, and (hopefully) politics more generally

Indicative Module Content:

See module descriptor.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Seminar style discussions; analytical writing; research paper. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Seminar: Seminar participation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Podcast writing assignment Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Authoritarianism book club Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Final paper Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided to students within 20 working days of the deadline for the assignment in line with university policy.