The course aims at analyzing the characteristics and development of Western European political systems in the Twentieth Century. It will be focused on a number of specific historical cases, considering them both in their peculiarities and as examples embodying more general political issues. The historical cases to be examined belong to three different phases of institutional and political transition: the aftermath of the Great War; that of World War Two; the 1960s-1980s. Some introductory lectures will be centered on the Nineteenth Century, so as to explain the longer-term roots of political instability in the Twentieth Century. While always taking into account the interaction between the international context and national political systems, the course will then deal with the destinies of liberal democracy in the 1920s and 1930s, paying particular attention to Weimar Germany; to the reconstruction of democracy in France and Germany (and, as an element for comparison, Italy) after 1945; to the evolution of those political systems in the period of economic, social and cultural transformation which opened up in the 1960s.
The course aims at making the students familiar with the essential features of political modernity, considered as a single phenomenon lasting from the age of the French Revolution to the crisis of communism, at the end of the Twentieth Century.
By using historical examples, it also aims at helping the students gain a deeper understanding of European politics, in their material, institutional and ideological features, and in the interaction between national peculiarities and the international dimension.
Roughly two thirds of the course will consist of lectures, one third of seminars. Students will be asked to prepare group presentations for seminars, and discuss the presentations of others. They will also be required to deliver their presentations in essay-form (max. 3000 words), individually.


25 September– Introduction to the course and methodological remarks
30 September – Issues of political modernity
2 October – Comparing socialisms in post-1945 Europe (C. Vodovar)
7 October – Interwar democracies
9 October – Reconstructing democracy in post-1945 Europe: general issues
14 October – Comparing socialisms in post-1945 Europe, 2 (C. Vodovar)
16 October – Comparing socialisms in post-1945 Europe, 3 (C. Vodovar)
21 October – Reconstructing democracy in post-1945 Europe: France and Italy
23 October – Reconstructing democracy in post-1945 Europe: Germany
28 October – The Spanish transition to democracy (E. Treglia)
30 October – The Spanish transition to democracy, 2 (E. Treglia)
4-6 November – midterm exam
11 November – The evolution of the German and French political systems in the 1960s
13 November – The 1980s and berlusconismo
18 November – Presentations
20 November – Presentations
25 November – Presentations
27 November – Presentations
2 December – Presentations
4 December – Discussion with Spencer M. Di Scala on his newly pubished “Europe’s Long Century: Volume 2: 1945-Present”, Oxford University Press.

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