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Corpus II, Core Course: Areas and Policies


Admission requirements

Compulsory core course for all MA International Studies Students.


This course presents an introduction to the history of international relations in the twentieth century. It will examine the major junctures in international affairs from WWI up to the NATO interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo with a view to presenting students with a vision of how the international order changed and evolved through the development of international relations during this period. This course will take an expansive view of events, tracing the emergence of the major powers during WWI and WWII, the development of a bi-polar world order and the successive generation of a multi-lateral system comprising hegemonic powers with clashing ideals. The locus for the course will be an examination of how the conduct of diplomacy between nations, and often the collision of their visions for world order, that had an adverse effect on the stability of the international system. This will include episodes of international history that highlight the relations between not just the United States and Russia, but also with European powers, Asian and African nations, taking a global context.

Course objectives

This course is focused on teaching students to think critically about events, and understand the complexities of seemingly simple concepts like ‘foreign policy’. The aim is less to transmit knowledge than develop critical analysis faculties, and to encourage students to assess a situation objectively, form a considered opinion, and defend a position. In addition, students should be able to appraise and analyse secondary literature and primary documents pertinent to each seminar topic from week to week and be able to think broadly about their position on the issue.
The ability to critically examine and interpret secondary literature and primary source documents will also encourage the development of research skills through the full use of libraries and online electronic resources. Ideally students will learn how to put their own interpretations across, both orally in class and in written assignments.



Mode of instruction

Lecture and Seminars

Assessment method

Final grades for this module will be based on:

  • Class attendance and participation, 20%.

  • Literature and Document Analysis, 25%.

  • Seminar Presentation, 25%.

  • Final Paper, 30%.


A handbook denoting weekly readings will be posted on Blackboard the week before the start of the semester.
Additional information (powerpoints, useful websites, etc…) will also be found on Blackboard over the course of the semester.

Reading list

The core textbooks for the course will be:

  • John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War (London: Penguin, 2005).

  • Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Random House, 1989).

  • William R. Keylor, The Twentieth Century World and Beyond: An International History since 1900 4th revised edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

  • Edward H. Judge and John W. Langdon, eds., The Cold War: A History Through Documents (Custom Edition, Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012).


Students can sign up to the class via uSis