The politics of radical movements

Course content

Radical movements place their politics outside of the established political realm, nevertheless, radical politics has been the driver of major societal and political developments in modern time, such as women’s rights and anti-colonialism. In recent years, movements ranging from PussyRiot to Sharia4UK has sought new ways to pursue radical political aims.


In this course we investigate the politics of current radical movements, as well as the understandings of political legitimacy they seek to challenge. This investigation will take place at three levels; 1) the history of radicalism, 2) current radical movements, 3) political theory.



Bachelor student (2012 programme curriculum): 10 ECTS

Bachelor student (2017 programme curriculum): 7.5 ECTS

Master student: 7.5 ECTS

Learning outcome


  • Knowledge of radicalism as a theoretical and political concept
  • Knowledge of conceptualisations of ’radical’ in modern history
  • Knowledge of different current expressions of radicalism
  • Insight into current academic debate on definitions of radicalism and radicalization.



  • Analyse interpretations of radicalism in recent modern history
  • Reflect on the wider relevance and implication of recent radicalism (politically and academically)
  • Independently formulate a research question relating to the subject of the seminar; conduct an analysis drawing on course as well as empirical material; present a clear argument based on the analysis; and reflect on its implications
  • Relate critically to concepts such as politics, terror, ethics, violence, radicalization, radicalism, religious extremism
  • Prepare and carry out field visits and interviews



  • Competencies to study, analyse and relate critically to political concepts
  • Present academic work in oral and written form, as well as give feedback to the presentation of others

Lectures, guest lectures, field trips, group work, and student presentations

A full reading list will be made available prior to the course, and will consist of:

  • Introductions to theoretical, historical and conceptual approaches to radicalism
  • Background literature on various expressions of radicalism and their political contexts
  • Primary sources from radical positions


BA level knowledge of Political Theory and International Politics.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Free assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28