Tartu, Estonia

Secessionist and Statehood Bids in Times of Crises

when 28 July 2024 - 8 August 2024
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 700

With wars in Ukraine, Gaza and Nagorno-Karabakh dominating contemporary international relations the study of secessionist bids and the quest for statehood and recognition becomes paramount. Students of International Relations can benefit from a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the concepts and practices of secessionism as well as the way in which these aspects impact the international order.

This course highlights fundamental questions of sovereignty and statehood in the context of secessionist conflicts. It offers an insight into the topics such as self-determination and sovereignty practices, survival pathways, incomplete and negotiated secessions. We will also explore the topics of „frozen conflicts“ and de facto states and their agency. We then turn to analysing the politics of recognition, counter-secession strategies and engagement without recognition as well as the success and failure of secessionist movements. This course relies mostly on first hand research and is comparative in nature, with students having the opportunity to explore different cases of secessionist bids from across the world through a combination of teaching, independent work as well as discussions based on various films and a fieldtrip to Narva - a city directly bordering Russia with a Russian-speaking majority population. A separate part of the course will be dedicated to a simulation exercise where students will have the chance to gain first hand experience of negotiation techniques as well as practical knowledge of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Course leader

Prof Eiki Berg, University of Tartu

Target group


Course aim

Students completing the course will:

-Understand the various concepts and theoretical debates related to secession and statehood in International Relations
-Explore and analyse various cases of secessionist bids across the world
-Gain practical understanding of negotiations in self-determination disputes.
-The course presumes active participation and contribution from students. The target group is MA and PhD students.

The required reading: approximately 100 pages assigned by lecturers.

Fee info

EUR 700: Course fee
EUR 192: Accommodation in student dormitories for 11 nights.


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