International Relations Concepts & Theories

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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 a sense, and explore a part, of the vastness of the archive that contains both major and minor knowledges, vocabularies and intellectual resources to make world politics thinkable and to problematize it in different ways. After covering the main “languages” and concepts that constitute what might be called the inherited common sense in the study of world politics (constructivist, liberal, realist IR), the course will turn towards alternative approaches: feminist, queer, new materialist, Foucauldian and historical materialist IR, and what these approaches tell us about specific problems: the future of the state, the construction of neoliberal citizens, grass-roots resistances, the international and transnational normalisation of government.

Learning Outcomes: 

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.


Each student will be assessed through a combination of seminar contributions, oral presentations, written work and an exam.


The final grade is made up of the following components:

  1. Seminar attendance and participation: 10%
  2. Oral presentation of assigned texts: 15%
  3. Written assignment 1: 20%
  4. Written assignment 2: 25%
  5. Written assignment 3, or final exam: 30%