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21st Century Politics

21st Century Politics

The two decades of the 21st century have given political scholars so much to analyse, discuss and examine. Take your seat at the table and do the same, with Oxford Royale Academy’s 21st Century Politics summer course.

A one-week intensive programme for adult students, residential in a college of the University of Oxford.

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Course Summary

This course will critically review and evaluate the global challenges and prospects facing the world as we move into the third decade of the 21st century.

Using up to date academic research studies the course will investigate changing power bases at the intersection between national, regional and international levels. It will examine modern-day pressures on the global political system, such as the rise of nationalism, reactionary right-wing parties attracting millions of voters around the world, and Brexit.

Students will seek to answer the following questions:

  • ‘Is globalisation fracturing?’
  • ‘To what extent can it be argued that we are seeing a failure of global political leadership?’.

The course will focus on a critical assessment of the relationships between three geopolitical competitors – The US, China and Russia – and weigh up the issue of polarity versus balance. It will consider the theory of unipolarity – is it durable? Is it peaceful? What is the best global strategy that a unipolar power like the US can implement in a rapidly changing security environment? The course at this juncture will also review the recent escalations in the US-China trade war-trade and discuss the question ’Who are the real winners in Phase 1 of the new trade deal?’

The geopolitical theme will then be extended to a critical study of the origins behind the global resurgence in populist movements and will appraise the performance of populist governments around the world and their prospects for long-term sustainable government.

A further dimension to the global governance and sustainability themes covered on this course will be a critical examination of latest academic research perspectives on global environmental politics and students will be tasked with working towards a comprehensive set of recommendations for improving global responses to climate change.

The final day will bring together the themes critically analysed and evaluated during the course to debate and discuss the question ‘What will the emerging post-corona world look like?’ from a global politics perspective.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course students will understand:

  • The fundamental skills required to actively engage in the study of key 21st century political challenges and to continuously reassess the current political climate around the world in the light of fast changing developments
  • The main current day political challenges facing countries and regions at the international level 
  • The strengths and weakness of existing geopolitical relationships for future global peace, security cooperation and trade
  • How to form a potential outline of the political issues and challenges presented and discussed on the course in an emerging post-pandemic world

Course Outcomes

Monday Lecture 1: Issues in 21st Century Global Politics-changing power relationships
Seminar 1: Pressures on the global system- examining the effectiveness of global political leadership
Tuesday Lecture 2: Geopolitical Competition-US, China and Russia
Seminar 2: Geopolitical competition-discussion of key readings from different perspectives. Who are the winners and losers?
Wednesday Lecture 3: The global rise of populism- are populist governments a short term fashion or here for the long haul?
Seminar 3: Populist leaders- delivering positive change from defence to the economy or are the governments they lead total failures?
Thursday Lecture 4: Global environmental politics
Seminar 4: Improving responses to climate change- key perspectives, readings, critical discussion and debate
Friday Lecture 5: The emerging post-corona world and ‘post- pandemic decoupling’
Seminar 5: Presentations, course review and action planning


Assessment Methods

1 x Written Assignment (500-750 words)

1 x Group Presentation


St Andrews University

  • Location St Andrews
  • Ages Ages: 16-18
  • Bedroom Type Superior single
  • Bathroom Type En-suite
  • Year Built Founded in 1413


  • Location Yale
  • Ages Ages: 13-18
  • Bedroom Type Single & shared sets
  • Bathroom Type Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1701

St Mary’s School

  • Location Ascot
  • Ages Ages: 8-12
  • Bedroom Type Twin & dormitory
  • Bathroom Type Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1885

Uppingham School

  • Location Uppingham
  • Ages Ages: 8-12
  • Bedroom Type Twin & dormitory
  • Bathroom Type Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1584

Merton College

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1264

Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

Cambridge University Accommodation

  • Location Cambridge
  • Ages Ages: 13-15, 16-18
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1209 (University of Cambridge)

Imperial College London

  • Location London
  • Ages Ages: 16-18
  • Bedroom Type Single
  • Bathroom Type En-suite
  • Year Built Founded in 1907

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