Democracy in Crisis? Polish up your theoretical and methodological tools for studying the East of Europe

Are you interested in gaining a complex view of the key issues that determine the state of democracy globally as well as regionally? Do you want to understand the role of contemporary illiberal power structures, populism, biopolitics or the political use of history in the evolution of democracy? How about comprehending the significance of change and continuity of underlying area specific societal developments?

We kindly invite you to apply for the intensive course „Democracy in Crisis? Polish up your theoretical and methodological tools for studying the East of Europe“ which will take place from the 28th of November to the 4th of December 2021 in Vilnius.

The course includes lectures on:

  • The role of political ideologies and political culture
  • The relation between civil society and power
  • Erosion of democracy
  • Economic impact of populism
  • Biopolitical Perspectives of Liberal and Illiberal Governance
  • Memory of the Second World War and the Soviet Era

This is an opportunity to learn to use a wide multidisciplinary toolkit and improve inter/transdisciplinary thinking. You will be a part of an international group of students and will improve your oral and teamwork skills, debating skills, interview techniques and scientific writing.

You will experience that learning can be fun!

Structure and completion

The seven-day intensive course will consist of different study formats (e.g. lectures, workshops, NGO café, group work, individual work, and a fieldtrips). Students are required to:

  • study the preliminary reading
  • attend the intensive week programme
  • prepare and present NGO café poster in groups
  • submit a short learning diary about the fieldtrips
  • prepare and present a group work
  • submit an essay / blog text

Applications and expenditures

The intensive course is jointly conducted by the

  • University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute,
  • Vilnius University, Institute of International Relations and Political Science,
  • University of Latvia, Master’s Program in European Studies and Economic Diplomacy, and
  • University of Tartu, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies.

The course is part of the Nordplus funded project “Baltic-Nordic Network for the Advancement of Methodology in Area Studies (BAMSE 2020)”. You can find more info at the BAMSE network website.

Master’s students and advanced bachelor’s students of the universities listed above can apply. There are five places per university, except for the Vilnius University, from where 10 students can participate. Participants are selected by respective universities.

There are no tuition fees. Students from Latvia, Estonia and Finland receive a BAMSE 2020 grant for travel and living expenses. Accommodation will be arranged by the Vilnius University. Participants are expected to take care of their insurance themselves.

The course can be accepted to the following study programs:

Vilnius University

  • Eastern European and Russian Studies
  • Contemporary Political Studies
  • Politics and Media

University of Latvia

  • European Studies and Economic Diplomacy
  • International Economics and Commercial Diplomacy
  • Baltic Sea Region Studies

University of Tartu

  • International Relations and Regional Studies (IRRS)
  • EU-Russia Studies (EURUS)
  • European Studies (EÕM)
  • Politics and Governance in the Digital Age (PGD)

University of Helsinki / Aleksanteri Institute

  • Specialization studies in ECEBB studies (ALKU-IK533)
  • East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Societies and Cultures (ALKU-E313)
  • Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) optional studies
  • Master’s Programme in European and Nordic Studies, Optional methods course (ENS-308)
  • International MA programme in Russian Studies (MARS) optional studies

Note: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic we might have to move the course online depending on the pandemic situation.

A letter of motivation (max. one page) together with your CV and academic transcript needs to be submitted in order to apply untill the 10th of October. Please send your application via email attached as one PDF file to the contact person of your university. Give the following title to your email: “Vilnius intensive course 2021 application”.

Contact person: