Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Current Historical Topics

Current Historical Topics
Second semester
Main language of instruction: Catalan

Other languages of instruction: Spanish

Teaching staff

You can contact the course professors by email and agree on a date and time for an appointment:

  • Ernesto M. Pascual: empascual@uic.es
  • Xavier Garí: xgari@uic.es


This course develops a global vision of the most recent stage of world history, taking 1989 as a symbolic starting point. It provides an ability to link historical knowledge with the analysis of current events.

Pre-course requirements

There are no prerequisites.


The objectives of this course are:

1. To know the recent history of the world today, its closest causes and connect it to the latest news.

2. To understand current events through the recent trajectory, in order to foresee their development and potential consequences.

3. To have the main interpretative keys to capture the global nature of today’s world, with its large political and economic regions, great social and cultural challenges, and sense the risks and potentialities of the destinies of humanity.

4. To critically approach the current reality, revealing the causes of the great challenges and to come up with possible alternatives and solutions to the great world problems.


  • E01 - Ability to provide a humanistic/cultural vision to other sciences or methods.
  • E02 - Ability to use methods and techniques specific to human sciences.
  • E05 - Ability to evaluate social issues linked to cultural diversity.
  • E06 - Awareness of and respect for different points of view resulting from cultural and social diversity.
  • E07 - To acquire knowledge on the different issues and problems of current cultural debate and be aware of their constant change.
  • E09 - To understand the limits and forms of intercultural communication.
  • E11 - Ability to interpret data and relate it to appropriate theories.
  • E16 - To acquire knowledge of the different models and policies of other cultures and migrant groups.
  • E17 - To acquire knowledge of the situation in Europe from a comparative perspective.
  • E18 - To acquire the perception and knowledge of the physical space in which human activity develops.
  • E19 - Ability to locate, observe and interpret real or represented spaces, territories and landscapes.
  • E20 - Ability to reflect on human-environment interaction and the organisation of the resulting territory.
  • E29 - Skills for mediating in conflicts involving intercultural factors.
  • E30 - Ability to define cultural research topics which can contribute to the improvement and innovation of society.
  • E37 - To have current knowledge of the areas of study related to international issues, taking into account contributions from relevant resources, such as a critical reflection on the impact of tourism (including cultural tourism) on development.
  • E39 - Ability to criticise and self-criticise in an intercultural dialogue and the ability to adapt and converse in a multi- or intercultural setting (versatility, ability to handle unforeseen problems and generate alternative solutions).
  • E40 - Ability to cooperate in, motivate and lead multicultural teams (understood as the ability to create and leverage synergies).
  • G03 - To search for and/or administer economic resources within the framework of an institution or company, or a cultural programmes, project or service.
  • G11 - Ability to work in an international context.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  1. Absorb key concepts of the study of Current Contemporary History analysing it critically.
  2. Contextualise and place relevant cultural, social and political phenomena.
  3. Connect concepts in a transverse and multidisciplinary way.
  4. Apply and transfer theoretical and/or abstract concepts from each geographical area or conceptual framework studied.
  5. Read and analyse in depth texts and articles related to current political, social and cultural issues.
  6. Write narrative and descriptive texts.
  7. Systematise data and heterogeneous information.
  8. Respect the diversity and plurality of ideas, people and situations in the Current World.
  9. Appropriately use the resources and methodologies that are used in the study of Current Contemporary History.
  10. Search, select and manage information autonomously to capture the historical contexts that are studied, as well as independently expand their own knowledge.



  1. Introduction
  2. Economic development and human welfare
  3. Demographic transition and social change
  4. Political debates around democracy
  5. Science, technology and society
  6. United States
  7. Europe
  8. War and Peace in the 20th century and the wars of 9/11
  9. Russia and the Soviet heritage
  10. Eastern Asia
  11. India and Pakistan
  12. Middle East and North Africa
  13. Sub-Saharan Africa

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Classes will include a theoretical and lecture part, which will be combined with the participation of students through the reading of chapters from the basic bibliography, through discussions and presentations, as well as seeing a brief documentary in the classroom, or a longer one outside of it. It is recommended to acquire the book indicated in the basic bibliography, and to read each chapter before the corresponding session.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

The course is taught by two professors: Ernesto Pascual and Xavier Garí.

The first one will teach from January to March and will deal with the first half of the syllabus; the second one will teach from March to May and will deal with the second half of the syllabus.

Each professor will prepare a partial exam for the part of the course taught, in the last session of March and on the date scheduled for the final exam in June (which will be, in fact, the second partial exam), respectively. In addition, it will be necessary to submit a written work, complete the different activities, or make a public presentation of a question of the syllabus of each part, according to the instructions of each professor.

Professor Pascual's exam will consist of five questions. Four short ones on the syllabus, with a value of 1.5 points and one to be developed on a theoretical-practical relational case, with a value of 4 points, with an extension of two pages for all questions.

The final grade of the course will be the average of six grades:

    Physical attendance to the classes 3%.
    Participation in the classes 7%
    Work/activities/presentation 1 15%
    Work/activities/presentation 2 15%
    Exam 1 30%
    Exam 2 30%

In case of need, the student who wishes to participate in the exam of the second call must present all the work, from both professors, not delivered in due time and form. The exam will consist of four questions of the whole subject.

Bibliography and resources

The COMPULSORY bibliography is a single monographic work that we will use almost in its entirety, and that you can acquire in digital version, paper or from the library. This is the corresponding information:

  • AVILÉS, Juan, PARDO, Rosa, SEPÚLVEDA, Isidro, ‘Las claves del mundo actual. Una historia global desde 1989’, Editorial Síntesis,, Madrid 2014.

At the end of this monograph there is an EXTENDED bibliography corresponding to each of the chapters that we will work on.