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Online Course

Europe Without Borders?

The University of Hong Kong via edX

Overview

Do you wonder what the European Union is all about? What challenges does it face and can it survive them? How will the eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis, Brexit and the COVID-19 outbreak reshape Europe? This is the course for you!

In this course, we will introduce you to key concepts and historical turning points, which have shaped contemporary Europe. What is national sovereignty and can it be shared? What impact has the 1989 collapse of communism had on Europe and is the East-West divide still relevant today? Can the North-South division triggered by the eurozone crisis be overcome, or will it be reinforced through the COVID-19 outbreak? And finally, what is the best size for a political unit?

The course’s ultimate focus is on the function and status of national and European borders and the question of what it means to belong to a political community: who is in, who is out? How and why are people included or excluded? And, what, finally, is the future of a borderless Europe?

Taught by a skeptical European who lived, studied and worked in Germany, Slovakia, Ireland, Australia and Hong Kong, this course includes a number of interviews with leading scholars, practitioners and best-selling authors, including Timothy Garton Ash, David Goodhart, Kalypso Nicolaïdis, George Papandreou and Helen Thompson.

The European Union pervades all aspects of people’s lives. But the course will be of particular interest to many professionals dealing with the EU whether they are EU citizens, or not.

Syllabus

Week 1: Europe at a crossroads: COVID-19 & Brexit

  • What is the ideal of a “Europe without Borders”? Are we witnessing its unravelling?
  • How is Europe confronting the challenges of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Why does the concept of sovereignty matter for understanding the current state of the world?

Week 2: The European Union and the nation-state

  • Who are “We, the People”? What holds political communities together? Who is included/excluded?
  • What type of political unit is the European Union? What does it mean to be an EU citizen? Has the EU transcended the idea of sovereignty?

Week 3: A union under strain: The Eurozone and refugee crises

  • Has European integration proceeded too fast?
  • Eurozone crisis: what are the limits of solidarity inside the EU?
  • Refugee crisis: Towards a divided Europe of reinstated borders?

Week 4: Post-1989 Europe and the “end of history”

  • The meaning of 1989 and the return of Central Europe
  • Is the old East-West divide still relevant today?
  • Can European values survive the resurgence of illiberalism? What are the prospects of the European project in the near future?

Taught by

Stefan Auer, Professor Timothy Garton Ash, Mr. George Papandreou, Professor Helen Thompson, Professor Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Hans Kundnani, Dr Nicole Scicluna, Dr Roland Vogt, Jenny W. Xiao, Dr Christopher Bickerton and Dr Tobias Theiler

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