The purpose of this course is to provide students with basic knowledge about the two main modes of behaviour in international relations: conflict and cooperation. It has two components. On the one hand, we focus on the key concepts, history and theories of the origin and development of contemporary international relations. On the other hand we will apply this conceptual, historical and theoretical knowledge in a more practical setting of role plays, in which we will concentrate on some of the major issues in contemporary world politics.
Part I: The Historical Context
1. Introduction to the course
2. The idea of ‘international society’ and the birth of the contemporary international society
3. The expansion of international society and the two world wars
4. The Cold War between the superpowers
5. The world order after the Cold War: The ‘end of history’ and ‘clash of civilisations’
Part II: Theories of International Relations
6. Theorising international politics – Liberal internationalism and its realist critics
7. Theorising international politics – From neo-realism to liberal institutionalism
8. Theorising international politics – Social constructivism
Part III: Debates in contemporary issues
9. Role play – Territorial dispute in the South China Sea
10. Role play – Syrian civil war
11. Role play – Ukraine crisis
12. Role play – North Korea’s nuclear issue
13. Role play – Ebola outbreak crisis
14. The global order after the pandemic and concluding remarks
In this course, students will learn valuable theoretical, methodological and analytical skills enabling them to interpret and understand key issues in the international politics. By the end of the course each student is expected to have acquired the following skills and knowledge:
Understanding of contemporary international politics:
critically identify and discuss key issues surrounding the history and development of contemporary international politics;
a critical awareness of the key debates concerning contemporary international politics;
Knowledge of international relations theories:
demonstrate a basic understanding of international relations theory
apply conceptual tools to analyse key events and processes in contemporary international politics.
demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, develop the capacity for independent learning, critique major texts on contemporary international politics, and participate in class debates;
display the confidence to present their arguments in relevant academic contexts (seminars, workshops, conferences) to other students of world politics.
Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2021-2022 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.
Mode of instruction
The course is taught through two-hour seminars. During the course of the seminar students are expected to take part in both large and small group discussions; participate in seminar discussions; present and defend their ideas within an academic setting; and take part in group projects. The role of the instructor is to ensure the efficient running of the discussion. Each seminar has a ‘required reading’ list that must be read in advance of each seminar. Students are also recommended to read some of the items listed under ‘suggested reading’ prior to each seminar and use the extended list as a starting point in their preparation for essay writing and role play.
Four elements of coursework constitute the final mark for the course:
Individual participation (15%)
Group participation (19%)
Group mid-term writing assignment (1x5,000-word role-play portfolio of documents) (36%)
Final exam (30%)
John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens (eds.) 2019: The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 8th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press (or the 6th edition, 2014)
Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Yih-Jye Hwang, email@example.com