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International Politics: Theories and Approaches



Goals: This course has three main goals. First, students will deepen their understanding of international relations theories and the core debates that define the field. Second, students will critically engage with these theories, focusing on the assumptions that underlie each theory, the methodological implications of each theory and each theory’s inherent limitations / restrictions. Third, students will get a chance to improve their ability to prepare and write research papers.

Contents: This course deepens students’ understanding of the central theories and approaches to international relations as introduced in the first year of study. It examines a broad range of theories including realism, liberalism, constructivism, the English School, post-modernism, feminism and new institutionalism. It also explores several substantive issues central to international politics. In particular, we look at global governance, the role of non-state actors in international politics, how “power” is conceptualized in IR scholarship, and the debate about positivist / post-positivist IR approaches. Theories and approaches will be explored with reference to real-world events in international politics. These include, for example, 9/11, the war on terror, the Arab spring, the Euro-crisis, the rise of China, human rights, and EU integration.

Study Material

Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki and Steve Smith 2010, International Relations Theories. Discipline and Diversity, second edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Methods of Instruction

Lectures and discussion of assigned readings.

Course Requirements:

Term paper = 35%; Response papers = 35%; Quizzes = 20%; Participation = 10%


dinsdag 1 november t/m 20 december, 15.00-17.00 uur, 5A37 en
donderdag 3 november t/m 22 december, 15.00-17.00 uur 5A41

Entry Requirements

Internationale Politiek I en II