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Decentering International Relations: Views from the Global South


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations.
Pre-existing knowledge of the study of International Relations (including IR theories) is a requirement.


This course problematises the Western-centric nature of International Relations (IR) as a field of study. We will ask questions such as: How ‘international’ is IR? What are we missing by limiting ourselves to looking at the world through narrow Western lenses? Beyond critiquing existing frameworks, we will explore alternative perspectives from the global South that could help us to think differently about the state, development, human rights, the relationship between humans and nature, etc. Throughout the course, we will try to find answers to questions such as: Should cultural differences be taken into account in thinking about IR in different contexts? Can we assume that an African / Asian / Latin American perspective on IR will necessarily be different from a European or North American one? How well do concepts travel across cultures and disciplines, and what challenges does translation pose? How can we think innovatively about new ways of understanding international relations?

Course objectives

Once you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the intellectual genesis and development of the field of IR;

  • Problematise the western-centric nature of the field and critically discuss the benefits of opening up the field to previously marginalised voices;

  • Illustrate familiarity with a range of non-western contributions to IR;

  • Assess the value of different theoretical approaches to providing explanations for real-world phenomena;

  • Think creatively about ways to broaden our understanding or world politics.

In addition to the above, this course also facilitates:

  • Critical reading: recognising and understanding the authors’ arguments, discerning the underlying assumptions, and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses;

  • Thinking about real-world problems in an abstract way;

  • Developing the necessary skills to both write and speak about theoretical matters.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  • Participation (20%)

  • Short assignment (20%)

  • Presentation (20%)

  • Final assignment (40%)

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The required readings will be indicated in the syllabus.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.