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Decentering International Relations: Views from the Global South


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations.
Pre-existing knowledge of theories of International Relations is recommended.


This course problematises the western-centric nature of International Relations (IR) as a discipline, and explores alternative contributions from the Global South. During the first part of the course we will ask questions such as: How ‘international’ is IR?; Can existing frameworks make sense of the current changes in the international system? During the second part of the course, we will engage with scholarship questioning the western dominance of IR, and explore contributions by non-western scholars. We will try to find answers to questions such as: Can we assume that an African / Asian / Latin American perspective on IR will necessarily be different from a European or North American one?
The course will mainly take the form of text-based discussions. As this is a graduate seminar, a high premium is placed on attendance, preparation and participation. Your performance in the course will depend largely on the time you commit to reading the prescribed material, and the effort you make to understand it. Pre-existing knowledge of theories of IR is recommended.

Course objectives

Once you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the intellectual genesis and development of the field of IR;

  • Problematise the western-centric nature of the field and critically discuss the benefits of opening up the field to previously marginalised voices;

  • Illustrate familiarity with a range of non-western contributions to IR;

  • Assess the value of different theoretical approaches to providing explanations for real-world phenomena;

  • Think creatively about ways to broaden our understanding or world politics.

In addition to the above, this course also facilitates:

  • Critical reading: recognising and understanding the authors’ arguments, discerning the underlying assumptions, and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses;

  • Thinking about real-world problems in an abstract way;

  • Developing the necessary skills to both write and speak about theoretical matters.


The timetable is available on the website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total: 280 Hours

  • 26 hours of classes

  • 130 hours of reading and class preparation (10 hours per week over 13 weeks)

  • 34 hours to prepare for the presentation

  • 30 hours to complete the short assignment

  • 60 Hours to complete the research essay

Assessment method

  • Participation (20%)

  • Short assignment (1500 words) (20%)

  • Presentation (20%)

  • Research essay (4000-5000 words) (40%)

inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized


Via, Blackboard will be used for:

  • communicating with students

  • uploading information relevant to the course.

Reading list

The required readings will be indicated in the syllabus.


Enrolment through uSis.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. Karen Smith.