Due to the Corona virus it is unclear how the programmes will take place. For the latest news please check the course page in Blackboard/Brightspace.


nl en

Power Instruments


Admission requirements

This course is part of the minor Global Affairs and can thus only be followed as part of this minor.


This course addresses the main features and limitations of instruments of power at the international level. The course focuses on key players, i.e. major powers and non-states actors such as terrorist organizations. It investigates in detail the recourse to hard power in the cases of, for instance, Libya, Kosovo, or Syria, together with the resulting political backlashes and legitimacy questions.
The course also examines shortcomings arising from soft power usage, especially against the background of regionally diverging norms and values. The dilemmas and implications arising from the employment of specific power instruments will also be addressed from a practical perspective of decision-making.

Course objectives

The course objectives are:

  • To provide students with a theoretical knowledge of instruments of power and the practical challenges arising from their usage

  • To ensure students have a substantial knowledge of the pillars of power so as to be able to participate constructively in debates on global affairs

  • To enable students to conduct independent research and to critically assess and apply the literature

  • To enhance students’ analytical abilities in combination with their skills in writing, presenting and debating



Mode of instruction

The class will consist mainly of lectures and class debates in which current affairs pertaining to the course content will be discussed and analyzed.

The course will conclude with a simulation game.

Attendance during the lectures is compulsory.

Course Load

The total study load for this course is 140 hours, consisting of:
21 hours attending lectures and seminars
30 hours writing papers
89 hours studying the compulsory literature

Assessment method

  • Research paper (50%)

  • Exam (50%)

You can find more information about date and location assessments in the timetable. Please register in Usis for the exam.

Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.

Late hand in penalty: 0,5 minus per day, and after seven days we do not accept papers any longer.

Participation: for each missed class, an extra assignment needs to be made.

Compensation rule: the research paper and exam cannot be compensated, a passing grade has to be obtained for both of them.

Retake: in order to redo the paper, you need to hand-in the first paper. In order to retake the exam, you need to have participated in the first exam.

Students will be permitted to re-do the paper and/or retake the exam if they have a mark between 3 and 5,4 or with permission of the Board of Examiners. Please register in Usis for the retake of the exam.


Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

Will be made available via Blackboard.




Prof. dr. R. de Wijk

E-mail: r.de.wijk@fgga.leidenuniv.nl


All sessions will be in English.
The paper and exam needs to be written in English.