This course discusses the theoretical and the empirical dimensions of critical political and
social concepts, ideas and beliefs in the spatial and temporal context of current global
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, nationalism, 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 focuses on four clusters of concepts and their global
impact: the various dimensions of power, the democracy-authoritarianism divide,
nationalism and internationalism, and sovereignty and intervention. The course traces the
origin and history of these ideas, beliefs, and practices, as well as their topicality and
The course engages students with the scholarly debates and the practical implications
concerning critical political and social concepts, ideas and beliefs in global politics today.
Students are required to study both academic texts and other relevant primary and
Firstly, students will expand their knowledge of the major theories and / 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. Students are urgently advised to also have read the introductory text books that
are mentioned on the MA IS website under ‘Entry Requirements’.
Additionally, students are required to research and discuss the various manifestations and
global relevance of the key contemporary issues and concepts mentioned above: power,
democracy and authoritarianism, nationalism and internationalism, and sovereignty and
Response papers: 30%
Policy Paper: 20%
Writing and presenting mid-term paper: 50%
Yes, see Blackboard
Literature will be announced on Blackboard before the start of the course.
With the professor, by e-mail: Prof. A.W.M. Gerrits