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Corpus I, Core Course: Ideas and Beliefs in International Relations


Admission requirements

BA degree


Ideas and Beliefs in International Relations: Major Concepts Across Time and Space
The required course on Concepts, Ideas, and Beliefs discusses the theoretical and the empirical dimensions of today’s critical political and social concepts, ideas and beliefs in their spatial and temporal context. Central to the course is a keen interest in the practical relevance and topicality of the ideas and beliefs that move and inspire people, governments and states: democracy, sovereignty, identity, freedom, religion, human rights, legitimacy, et cetera. The principal claim of this course is that no coherent and balanced understanding of international relations and global politics is possible without taking into full consideration the rich diversity of ideas, beliefs and (self) perceptions that are behind current political changes and events. The course traces the origin and history of these ideas and beliefs, and discusses how cultures and nations across the world attach varying meaning and values to these issues. Finally, the course addresses major ethical questions in international and global politics: humanitarian intervention, international justice, and democracy promotion.
The course engages students with the scholarly debates and the practical implications of these issues. Students are required to study both academic texts and other relevant primary and secondary sources.

Course Objectives

Firstly, students will expand their knowledge of the major theories or theoretical approaches of International Studies (including International Relations), with a special reference to those theories that are particularly relevant to our Humanities’ informed approach.
Additionally, students are required to research and discuss the various manifestations of the key contemporary issues and concepts of international relevance mentioned above, from democracy and authoritarianism to legitimacy and sovereignty.

Assessment Method

The course consists of 2 times 2 hours class per week: lectures and required readings, assignments, take-home test, designing and presenting research paper outline, researching, writing and presenting academic paper(s).


Yes, see Blackboard

Reading list


Via uSis

Contact information

With the professor, by e-mail: Prof. A.W.M. Gerrits