Prospectus

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Theories and Concepts in International Relations

Course 2016-2017

Tags

WP

Admissions requirements

At least 100-level WP course, ideally Introduction to International Relations & Diplomacy.

Description

This course deepens students’ understanding of the central theoretical debates and concepts in the study of international politics as introduced in earlier courses. It examines a broad range of theories including classical realism, neorealism, neoliberalism, and social constructivism, as well as post-structuralism and critical theory. Students will develop their ability to critically engage with international politics theories, and learn how to assess their assumptions, methodological implications and inherent limitations and restrictions.

This course also explores several substantive issues and concepts with reference to real-world current events and controversies in international politics, which are analysed through application of the differently theoretical perspectives covered in the course. In doing so, students learn to apply, and evaluate the applicability of, various key theories of international politics. The course is open to students interested in international politics/relations and theory specifically, as well as those who are interested in political theory in general.

Course objectives

Students will develop their ability to critically engage with international politics theories, and learn how to assess their assumptions, methodological implications and inherent limitations and restrictions. The current events and controversies component not only covers issues of conceptual interest and theoretical application, but also helps students develop a well-informed position on contemporary world affairs. In addition, students will work on developing their debating, discussion and writing skills.

Timetable

Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

This course meets twice a week for two hours. There are two main components:

First, students deepen their understanding of international relations theories by examining the core debates that define the field. For each session students either a write position paper or participate in an in-class theory trial (moot court) debate. Descriptions of the theories’ indictments and quarrels are included in the course syllabus. In their position paper, students either support or rebut a theory’s indictment or defend the position of one of two theories that are at odds with each. During the seminar sessions teams of students participate in a formal ‘trial’ debate as prosecutors or defence attorneys and their peers act as the jury. This is followed by a discussion of the theory’s merits and limitations on the basis of students’ position papers.

Second, students explore substantive issues and concepts with reference to real-world current events and controversies through presentations. In doing so, students learn to apply, and evaluate the applicability of, various key theories of international politics dealt with earlier in the course. This will be followed by a theoretically informed discussion guided by the seminar instructor. At the end of each session, the seminar instructor will shortly introduce the next session’s theoretical debate and key concepts.

During the course of the seminar students are expected to take part in group discussions, present and defend their ideas within an academic setting, and work in groups. Students are also encouraged to discuss the readings with their peers, and bring questions to class and ask that these be discussed. The role of the seminar instructor is to ensure the efficient running of discussions.

Assessment

  • In-class participation, 10%, ongoing weeks 1-7;
  • Four theory trial position papers (800 words, 15% each), 60%, ongoing weeks 2-7;
  • Two formal theory trial group debates + debate outlines (250 words, 12.5% each), 25%, ongoing weeks 2-7;
  • One group presentation (5% each), 5%, ongoing weeks 2-7.

Blackboard

There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

TBA

Registration

This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact course.administration@luc.leidenuniv.nl.

Contact

Dr. Francesco Ragazzi