Five College Consortium

European Union Politics

Semester: 
Spring
Year: 
2018
Subject Name: 
Political Science
Course Number: 
270
Institution: 
Amherst College

[IL, G] What is the European Union? Where is it coming from? Where is it headed? The EU has evolved from its original ambitions as an economic regional integration project to add political substance, becoming a multi-level structure with  its own constitution, currency, court, and form of citizenship,  with powerful institutions, increasingly porous  internal  borders  and  a  common external  border.  Some have argued that the EU is  sui generis, an unprecedented supranational structure that should be studied as such (some have referred to it as an “unidentified political object”). Others have relied on the literatures on international organization and comparative federalism to include it on a continuum ranging from international organizations to confederations and federal states. Yet others have turned to the distant past to find equivalents, arguing that the EU resembles a “neo-medieval empire” (Zielonka).


This course tackles the big questions concerning the EU’s past, present, and future. How far and deep can the EU project expand? Can it withstand the pressures of global economic competition? Can it find solutions to the current migration crisis without compromising its defining features: porous internal borders and freedom of movement for goods, capital, services, and people on its territory? Will it overcome internal divisions between East and West, between new members and the old core of advanced industrialized democracies that initiated the European unification project? The course introduces students to the concepts, theories, and empirical resources needed to examine European integration and enlargement. We will overview the history and development of the European integration project to understand its institutional framework and relationship with member-states in different policy areas. We will analyze and assess the major theories of EU integration in light of current events. We will delve into specific EU policy areas (economic and monetary union, security, migration, external relations etc.) to understand how the EU shapes the lives of its citizens. We will also study the EU’s relationship with the U.S. and its successive rounds of enlargement towards Southern and post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, which have played an essential role in defining the EU’s current profile.


Limited to 25 students. Spring semester.  Professor Paul.

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during all registration periods.
Schedule #: 
POSC-270-01-1718S

Course Sections

European Union Politics
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
01 4.0 Ruxandra Paul rpaul@amherst.edu MW 02:00PM-03:20PM WEBS 102