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Comparative Politics – Civil and Political Rights

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Dr Andrew Blick (King’s College London) compares and contrasts the protections of civil and political rights in the UK and in the US. In the first module, we are introduced to the topic of civil and political rights, and begin to explore some of the complexities around their definition and realisation in practice. Then, in the second module, we explore the legal and constitutional protections extant for rights in the UK, before moving on in the third module to unpick the corresponding situation in the US. In the fourth module, we explore the significance of the different constitutional arrangements in the US and UK, particularly the implications of codified and uncodified constitutions, before moving on in the fifth module to compare and contrast the relative power and significance of the UK and US Supreme Courts. In the sixth and final module, we explore the recent history of rights protections in the US and UK, focusing in particular on key developments such as the ongoing controversy in the US over abortion rights and the overruling of Roe V Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organisation (2022), and the UK government's early attempts to alter the Human Rights Act and restrict the power of judges following the Brexit controversy. This course is particularly relevant for the comparative element of the AQA and Edexcel A Level Politics specifications, and for those interested in UK and US politics more generally.

About the Lecturer

Professor Andrew Blick has extensive experience working for think tanks in the UK Parliament and as an administrative assistant at No.10 Downing Street. He has advised democratic reform groups working in countries including Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine; and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm. From 2010-15 he was research fellow to the first ever parliamentary inquiry into the possibility of introducing a written constitution for the UK, carried out by the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee. In 2021 he began participation in an AHRC-funded project assessing the history of democracy from ancient times to the contemporary era, through considering written primary sources. He recently published ‘Electrified Democracy: the Internet and the United Kingdom Parliament in history’.