Course description

From the Roman Empire until the gradual spread of women’s suffrage in the last century, political power in western Europe has been normally and ideally masculine. Normally because those who wielded political power were in the vast majority men. Ideally because it was believed that power ought to be wielded by a high status adult male, and not by women or other non-men (eunuchs, children, other status groups excluded from full masculinity...).

This course explores the paradox that, although power has long been associated with masculinity, women, children and other non-men have always wielded power. Masculinity is not a given, something conferred automatically on all adult males. It is instead something which often needs to be defended, especially amongst men who wield power, and which can in certain circumstances be granted to women. This course also considers how implicit forms of masculinity – ways of life and forms of behaviour which have been reserved for men, but which are not emphatically or obviously manly, for example priesthood and monasticism; serving as a juror or local official; certain professions and vocations – have set their stamp on political power.

By taking the long view, this course seeks to explain the continuing impact of the masculinity of political power, even when women have gain access to various forms of power and authority. Each session explores different manifestations of this phenomenon at critical points in western European political history, focused on France and the British Isles, although not limited to them. It covers a broad chronological period, from the Roman Empire and its Christianisation; the emergence of noble and clerical masculinities and femininities, including queenship, in the earlier medieval period; the emergence of the late medieval and early modern ‘state’; the religious and political conflicts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the contestations and revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; before considering the persistence of gendered forms in modern representative democracy.

The course reconsiders European political history from a new, gendered point of view over the very long term. It permits students who are familiar with this political history to gain new perspectives. It provides an opportunity for students more familiar with recent historical periods and their particular political forms to expand their historical knowledge and thus to reconsider the contemporary relationship between gender and politics.

Course outline

1. Monday, 2 March, 9h-12h. Introduction : Political power and masculinity in historical perspective.

2. Monday, 9 March, 9h-12h. From the Christian Roman Empire to Barbarian Masculinities.

3. Monday, 16 March, 9h-12h. Nobles, queens and bishops: Gender and power in earlier medieval Europe

4. Monday, 23 March, 9h-12h. Masculinities, Femininities and State formation in late medieval and early modern Europe.

5. Monday, 30 March, 9h-12h. Revolutionary and Anti-Revolutionary Masculinities.

6. Monday, 6 April, 9h-12h. Workshop: Gender, Masculinity and Representative Democracy

Presentation Topics

1. 9 March. Roman Sexualities

2. 9 March. Eunuchs and Power

3. 16 March. Queenship

4. 16 March. Chivalry

5. 23 March. Renaissance Masculinities

6. 23 March. Reformation and Social Control

7. 30 March. Gender and the Public Sphere

8. 30 March. Gender and Enlightenment

9-12. 6 April. Workshop Topics: Gender and Representative Democracy

The aftermath of the subprime crisis is the present sovereign debt crisis the developed countries are facing, not only weak euro-area countries but also the core countries of the World-economy.  The liberalization of financial markets over the past decades coupled with strong confidence in monetary principles and fiscal orthodoxy is responsible of the present state of our economies harming present and future generations’ welfare.  Debt crises – banking, external or sovereign, domestic crises alike - are common phenomenon in modern history.  The discussion thread of this course is the following question: Is the present debt crisis different?

The first objective of the course is to present the key concepts and theories to analyze sovereign debt and default, but also currency and banking crises, with a special focus on the euro-area crisis.  The second one is to develop a comparative perspective on this topic, historical and geographical, so as to discuss questions as the following: does the present Greek experience have something in common with Latin America’s debt crises of the early 1980’s or Argentina’s current debt crisis? The third objective is to explore ways to cope with this crisis and discuss possible sustainable solutions, especially for the euro-area.   

This course will explore British society from the end of the Second World War up to the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, in relation to social class, gender, and race relations. The focus will be on institutional changes that occurred in workplaces, politics, schools, and universities, as well as the structural, demographic, and emotional shifts happening within peoples’ everyday lives. We will consider the interaction of social change and politics in a wide sense in postwar Britain, integrating social and cultural change with cultural politics. New social movements such as post-1968 feminism, black politics, and Gay Liberation will be considered against the context of the so-called ‘permissive’ shift of the 1960s, and its legacy assessed into the late-twentieth century.

Each seminar’s discussion will be guided by the set of key questions listed in the course outline, but students should aim to think about the topics broadly and be prepared to discuss all of the issues arising from their reading. Students must complete the set reading ahead of each seminar. Each seminar (except the first) will include a student presentation, reflecting on the major themes of the topic.

Overview of seminars:

1.     Introduction to post-1945 British history

2.     Class, gender, and sexuality during the Second World War

3.     ‘Affluence’ and social change in the 1950s

4.     The ‘Permissive Society’ in the 1960s

5.     Education and youth culture

6.     Race and immigration

7.     Femininity, masculinity, and work and family life

8.     Post-1968 politics

9.     The ‘crisis’ of the 1970s


·       Seminar attendance: 20%

·       In-class presentation, oral, 10 minutes: 20%

-      During each seminar one student (or students working in pairs) will give a short presentation summarising the key points emerging from the set reading. Presentation topics will be allocated to students at the end of the first seminar

·       Coursework, long essay, 2500 words: 60%

-       This will be submitted at the end of the semester and marked by the Professor. Students are free to write their essay on the seminar theme that has interested them the most throughout the course. They will be given one of the questions relating to that theme set out in the course outline above to answer. Students can consult the Professor via email about their essay question and any further recommended reading required.

This course aims at giving an introduction to the main environmental challenges that human societies are facing today. Drawing from research in environmental and political sociology, the course will give an analysis of a range of environmental issues and the responses they have drawn so far in the field of environmental/sustainability politics and society. Students will be invited to compare and contrast social and political responses from different countries and regions. The course will be based on a series of milestones articles from the environmental humanities and Earth sciences that students will be invited to read and discuss.

Course Overview: 

1-         Introduction to contemporary environmental challenges

2-         The politicisation of climate, from climate change to global change

3-         Climate change scepticism

4-         Biodiversity, from wilderness to rewilding

5-         The Anthropocene. Rethinking the human-nature relationship

6-         Energy issues and its social dimensions: fossil fuels, nuclear industry and energy transition

7-         Decoupling growth from resource consumption

8-         Sustainable consumption: theories, practices and social movements. Toward new ways of living?

9-         Environment as a social concern: green parties, greenwashing, socio-ecological conflicts and pro-environmental movements


The discussion thread of this course is the assumption that the European construction failures have their roots in the ambiguity of the idea of Europe. So, in order to strengthen the European idea, it is assumed that this very idea of Europe has to be cleared by deconstruction. 

The premise to any success in the European construction not betraying the ideal of democracy, peace and hospitality - all virtues attached to the political ideal of Europe - is the deconstruction of the idea of Europe. So, the objective of the course is to go back up from some unsettled questions about the European idea to the idea of Europe that is to find in the writings of European philosophers, especially since Kant. 

A distinction is made between the European idea and the Idea of Europe. By European idea I mean the constructivist idea of the European polity that the European unification attempts to realize by the creation of common institutions and common policies. So, the European idea refers to the implementation of the "founding fathers'" project until the apparent failure of the European constitution. With the expression “idea of Europe” I mean the philosophical conceptions of Europe by European philosophers since Kant to Derrida through Valéry, Husserl, Patocka and many others. Philosophers thought Europe as apart from the rest of the world and of humanity, because of its intellectual achievement. They thought of a special connection between Europe and the reason: Europe is self-declared as the birth-place of philosophy, and by this way of science, but they also thought of a special connection between Europe and democracy. Philosophy, science and democracy are conceived as essentially European inventions. In other words, philosophy, science and democracy are supposed to fulfil the idea of Europe. And we have by there the definition of Europe in a simple equation: Europe = reason, logos. And from this idea they claimed for Europe and Europeans a special destiny and a special mission in regard of the world. That is called the destiny and mission of the universal. 

The objective of the course is to call this pretension into question and to appreciate the achievements of the European idea from the commitments rooted in the European self-image. 


  1. From the Crisis of the European Humanity to the European Construction 
  2. How many languages can Europe sustain? 
  3. Cool memories?
  4. How old is Europe? 
  5. Do we still need nations?
  6. Can a weak Europe have an effective foreign policy?
  7. Can hospitality be rationed?
  8. Globalization or Europeanization?


There is no special requisite in philosophy to attend this course.

GRADING SCHEME: An Essay of 10 pages, 1.5 spacing, margins: 2cm. Topic related to Europe. 

“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.” The ideas and doctrines shaping practical men’s mind according to Keynes in the preceding quote are the subject matter of this course. They deal with the order and meaning of social history, which is with men’s relation to the world and the hope of better living in our world, the quest for happiness in justice.

The objective of the course is to unveil, confront and discuss some of the ideas and doctrines embedded in the rhetoric of economics, in the abstract theories and systems economists like to dress their opinions and propositions. The purpose so is to re-appropriate subjects of discussion and opinions which must not be reserved for a science which too often claims monopoly on it. The side effect will also be to show the relativity of economic theories. The course is organized in a thematic way by confronting various perspectives, it does not concentrate on systematic contributions of authors and schools.


1. Economic Ideas, Worldly Philosophy and Economic Philosophy

2. Consumption and Happiness

3. Wealth and Scarcity

4. Labor and Production

5. Poverty and Misery

6. Economic Justice in Perspective