Food, Nutrition and Human Rights (BA and MA)

Keywords: the right to food, law, governance, state obligation

The right to food is acknowledged as a fundamental right for all people everywhere. Its content is laid out in the most important human rights documents. Many agencies, international, national and local, are recognising this right and working towards its realisation. The focus of this course is to provide an understanding of human rights in general and more in particular the right to food, its significances and its recent development, as well as to study its operationalisation towards realisation. The course offers an opportunity to examine food-related problems from the perspective of human rights and to discuss the right to food from an interdisciplinary point of view. Discussions and lectures include topics such as international human rights law, corporate social responsibility, women and infant rights to nutrition, freedom of speech in food industry, as well as universality and relativity of human rights.


Law and Public Power (BA and MA)

Keywords: rule of law, human rights, legitimacy, discourse, scaling and framing, interlegality

The powers and limitations of the state, and the relation between the state and its citizens have recently become more important in development theory. Weak and developmental states deal with pressures from international organisations, multinational corporations, and non-governmental organisations to adapt national laws to international standards. They also experience growing civil society pressures to improve state performance and democratic control. Law plays a central role in shifting state powers and responsibility. Many states operate under a certain ‘rule of law’ that forms the core of a state’s legitimacy to rule over its citizens. But what does the rule of law in black letter mean for government practices, and what is the value of rule of law promotion in the context of continuing power shifts? This course examines the search for legitimacy of government actions and the role that law plays in providing legitimacy in the light of the recent trends to shift power and responsibility from the national state to other entities, institutions and organisations. It not only deals with the theories, but also specific cases, whose strengths and weaknesses are examined to gain insights on governance arrangements, power relations and processes of legitimisation.


Politics South and Southeast Asia (BA)

Keywords: history, representative democracy, political oligarchy, civil society, regionalism

The countries of South and Southeast Asia are experiencing a period of rapid economic growth and democratization. But they also face many problems and challenges, ranging from gross socioeconomic inequality to religious extremism. This course provides a broad overview of the politics of the southern rim of Asia. It begins by sketching the institutional framework that shapes political behavior in the region, and which is shaped in turn by political forces. Other key topics explored are the politics of class, capital, and the underprivileged; the influence of civil society (in both secular and religious forms); the interplay of ethnicity, nationalism, and separatism; and the development of international relations, including regional organizations such as ASEAN as well as relations with China and the West. Finally, the political challenges of the twenty-first century are also assessed.


Economics South and Southeast Asia (BA)

Keywords: social development, poverty, political economy, economic growth

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the economies of a variety of South and Southeast Asian states, and their transformation as a result of a variety of issues including market structure (agrarian to industrial economies) and social change. Special attention is given to the role of the state and economic policies, with the topic of infrastructure being used as an overarching example. The objective of this course is to give students a thorough understanding of the specificities of economic development in South and Southeast Asia and the evolution of regional industry over the course of the past several decades. It also aims to provide knowledge on how the economies of South and Southeast Asian economies function both in terms of individual states, and more broadly as a region. In this course, students acquire insights on the myriad social and political forces that influence the trajectory of economies in the South and Southeast Asian region.