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Introduction to International Studies


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague takes about 45 minutes.


What is International Studies? This course analyzes key themes in the historic development and current manifestation of International Studies including:
1. the history of International Relations as a discipline, focusing on its emergence from International History and Race Studies,
2. the ongoing interaction of International Relations and International Studies with other disciplines and field, notably Political Science and Area Studies,
3. critical perspectives on International Relations, including those coming from the fields of literary and cultural studies, Asian Studies and political science.

In addition to reading classic and critical articles on the nature of International Studies and International Relations, we also utilize a full reading of Pankaj Mishra’s award winning From the Ruins of Empire as a case study through which students are introduced to larger issues of politics, history and culture on an international level. We set a critical reading of Mishra’s book in relation to a range of other scholarly literature which informs critical analysis of the fields of international studies and international relations today.

Course objectives

Primarily, this course aims to develop student capacity to use the following skills in the context of International Studies:

  • critical reading

  • text analysis

  • argument analysis

  • comparison

  • contextualization

  • historical perspective

The course also aims to develop an awareness and basic knowledge of:

  • the nature of disciplines in an academic context;

  • the interaction between disciplines specifically in an International Studies context;

  • the history of International Studies and its historical interaction with the disciplines of History, Political Science and Area Studies;

  • a number of core concepts that arise in current International Studies debates, notably: nation, region, nationalism, regionalism (as in Pan-Asianism and Pan-Arabism), civilization, theories of civilization (including: Islamism, Eurocentrism, Sinocentrism, Clash of Civilization theory), antiquarianism, Orientalism, racism, Marxism, philology, modernity, modernism, scientism, and subaltern.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction


Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.


Tutorials are held once every two weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 24 hours

  • Attending tutorials: 12 hours

  • Assessment hours (midterm and final exam): 4 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: (approximately 7 pages per hour): 40 hours

  • Preparation of Tutorials: 30 hours

  • Preparation of Exams: 10 hours

  • Other components (revision of classes): 20 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam: Written examination with closed (multiple choice) and/or short open questions.

  • Final exam: Written examination with closed (multiple choice) and/or short open questions.


Partial grade Weighing
Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of tutorial, midterm exam and final exam.

  • The weighted average of the midterm exam and final exam needs to be 5.5 or higher.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), or the weighted average of midterm- and final exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier midterm and final exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the resit exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.


Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

  • Pankaj Mishra. From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia. London: Penguin, 2013. PLEASE PURCHASE (reasonably priced paperback available from amazon).

  • Various further scholarly articles and chapters available online, including: Hobson, John M. The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory, 1760-2010. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. (No need to buy, available through university catalogue online).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. K.N. Paramore

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.