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International and Regional Organisations




Admissions requirements

At least one 100-level WP course.


International organisations represent one of the most curious phenomena of 20th century world politics. Not only did their numbers increase at a startling rate during that time, they also proliferated geographically and became active in virtually every policy area relevant to global governance. They are now one of the most important aspects of world politics, and yet they are also one of the least understood by the citizens they serve. Recent years have seen a decline in the rate of new international and regional organisations being created, and existing ones such as the ICC are in danger of losing legitimacy as member states threaten to leave them. Instead of formal, treaty-based bureaucratic bodies, states are increasingly relying on regular summits and meetings. When and why do states create international organisations? Do international organisations serve the purpose for which they are built? What implications do international organisations have for the many challenges of world politics such as conflict, democracy, and economic development?

This course, which is part of core track “Globalisation and Transnational Politics”, will introduce students to both long-standing and contemporary debates about international organisations. Specifically, it will cover conceptualisations of their role in world politics, their activities in and relevance to various policy areas, as well as their institutional design and pathologies. In doing so, the course aims to take a truly global perspective, covering not just the usual big names such as the UN and World Bank, but also regional organisations such as the African Union, which are limited to specific regions of the world and whose activities may challenge standard theories of World Politics.

Course objectives


  • Understand theories and concepts relevant to analysing the role of international and regional organisations in world politics

  • Recognise a range of international and regional organisations, especially those operating in developing regions of the world

  • Identify the challenges and opportunities posed by international and regional organisations


  • Critically evaluate competing theories of international and regional organisations

  • Assess the relevance of international and regional organisations to contemporary global challenges

  • Communicate complex arguments in a succinct and effective manner, verbally and in written form


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of 14 two-hour seminars and will include a combination of lectures presentations, general discussion, and small-group exercises. Participation is important for the vitality and effectiveness of the course, meaning students should come prepared with analytical questions as well as engage seriously with the ideas of their fellow class mates. Each seminar has a list of required and recommended readings. Required readings are mandatory in order to participate in the seminars; recommended readings are helpful starting points for the presentations and essays but are by no means exhaustive. For the essay, students are obliged to show wider reading beyond the required and recommended readings and must cite these correctly.


Participation: 19%
Presentation: 19%
Precis x2 (midterm): 22%
Final essay: 40%


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

The list of readings will be made available upon commencement of the course.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Densua Mumford