International Relations Concepts & Theories

Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status

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Course Description: 

This course provides an advanced introduction to international relations concepts and theories. The purpose of the course is to give students an in-depth and critical understanding of the vastness of the IR archive of canonical (major) and non-canonical (minor, emergent) knowledges, vocabularies and intellectual resources that are available to make world politics thinkable and doable and to problematize it in different ways. After covering ‘representatives’ of the main “languages” and concepts that constitute the canon in the study of world politics (constructivist, liberal, realist, feminist + historical materialist IR), the course will turn towards minor and emerging alternative approaches: new materialism, normalisation + government at a distance, the affect turn in IR, the everyday politics of IR and mundane forms of rebellion against states of inequality. The course ends with deliberations on the future of the state.

Learning Outcomes: 

- By the end of the course students will be able to compare, contrast and evaluate different interpretations and explanations of world politics;

- detect the ontological assumptions that are the launch pad for empirical investigations;

- recognise the interpretative possibilities in any given world political phenomena;

- critically reflect upon and evaluate their own standpoints on world politics and those of others;

- distinguish between a well-reasoned argument about world politics and an incoherent one. 

  1. Seminar attendance (mandatory) and participation: 15%
  2. Oral presentation of assigned texts: 20%
  3. Position paper (based on the texts of your oral seminar presentation): 30% (1500 words)
  4. Term paper: 35% (2500 words)


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