nl en

Regionalism in World Politics



The course is only open to students who are admitted to the MA International Relations.


Regionalism has become a defining feature of international relations, but why do states around the world feel the ‘urge to merge’? How have states and non-state actors led the process of creating regional institutions and what has inhibited the development of regionalism around the world? Why do some actors adopt a more formal, legalistic approach to regional institutional building, whilst others prefer more elastic and informal arrangements? Should we and if so how can we distinguish between old and new regionalism in a globalized political economy? How are regional groupings socially constructed to include certain actors at the expense of others? How are external actors involved in regional issues and how does regional cooperation contribute to global governance? How can such complex developments be theorized so that they may be compared? This course explores these questions in order to compare and contrast the dynamic processes of regionalism around the world today.

Though regional institution building has become a global trend, regionalism has evolved in different ways. It is therefore imperative to explore the various factors, be they historical, geopolitical, cultural or other, that have influenced the development of regionalism around the world. Only by comparing the process of regionalism around the world can we understand the richness and diversity of this central trend in global politics. Comprehending the diversity of regional institution building can enable us to explore how regional groupings address specific issues in different ways.

The course has two main components. On the one hand, we focus on the key conceptual, historical and theoretical dimensions to understanding regionalism around the world. On the other hand we will apply this conceptual, historical and theoretical knowledge in a more practical setting of role plays where we will concentrate on the multidimensional aspects of regional issues, the role of external actors in regional problems, and the relationship between regionalism and global governance. Each week we will examine a different case study to build a picture of regional approaches to world politics.

Course objectives

This module aims to provide a critical examination of the development of regionalism across the world. Students will compare and contrast a variety of regional approaches to key issues and policies, adopting different levels of analysis. Students will also acquire a foundational knowledge of historical issues and theoretical approaches to understand regionalism today. By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the complex issues and processes related to the development of regionalism and regionalization.

  • Apply complex conceptual tools to analyze key events in and processes related to regionalism.;

  • Compare regional approaches across the world, whilst remaining sensitive to local contexts

  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, develop the capacity for independent learning, critique major texts and approaches on regionalism in International Relations, and lead class discussions.


The timetable is available on the website.

Students are also allowed to register for the EUS seminars of this course. Make sure there are no clashes in your timetable.

Mode of instruction

This course is taught through 2-hour seminar sessions that are supplemented by knowledge clips.
Students should be aware that most of their work must be done outside the seminars, which should function as an opportunity to exchange ideas about the subjects under study.
All students MUST:

  • Attend 12 x 2-hour seminars;

  • Contribute to seminar discussions and debates every week;

  • Collaborate in creating, organizing and running a role play session;

  • Write 1 assessed final report of up to 2,000 words (including endnotes, excluding bibliography and appendices), critically reflecting on the outcome of the role play they were involved in preparing, or of another role-play of their choice.


Students are required to attend all 12 seminar sessions scheduled and are expected to arrive in class ready to discuss the weekly readings. The lecturer should be informed in writing without delay of a class to be missed for a valid reason, i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances that are beyond the student’s control (such as documented illness, family bereavement, issues with residence permits, victim of crime, the railways in winter, etc.).

Course Load

Total: 140 Hours for 5 ECTS

  • 24 Hours of classes: 12x2 hour seminars (attendance is compulsory)

  • 66 Hours of reading and class preparation, including watching weekly knowledge clips (5,5 hours per week over 12 weeks)

  • 20 Hours per student to prepare the group role-play

  • 30 Hours to complete the final report

Assessment method

  • 20% Participation (attendance, active in-class participation)

  • 20% Participation (effective chairing a role play session)

  • 20% Group assignment paper (1 x 5,000 words Role play overview document (including endnotes and appendices, excluding bibliography)

  • 40% Final paper (1x 2,000 words role-play report (including endnotes, excluding bibliography and appendices)


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Late Papers

If you submit your paper late, the instructor will deduct 0.5 grade points from your paper grade per day that your paper is late. If you submitted your paper 3 days late, therefore, a paper that would have received a 7.5 will receive a 6.0.
Deadline extensions must be requested before the deadline, or else it will be considered a request for an extra retake. If a deadline extension of up to 3 weeks is sought, students will contact their lecturer, who consider their request and decide at his/her discretion. No form has to be used in this case. If an extension of over 3 weeks is involved, the student must fill-out the Extenuating Circumstances form, which can be obtained from the coordinator of studies (Janneke Walstra). The form will be discussed with the lecturer, and once it is signed by them, the student will send the form to the Board of Examiners. Students should provide the BoE with all necessary information including a Fenestra statement if personal circumstances are argued. BoE will communicate the decision to the student, ccing Janneke and lecturer.


A resit opportunity is available to students whose mark for the final report assignment was insufficient (5.49 or lower) at the first attempt.

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Submission of assignments

  • Communication with instruction and fellow students

  • A syllabus listing weekly readings will be posted on Blackboard a week before the start of the semester

  • Additional information (announcements, role-play instructions, assessment forms, grade descriptors, further bibliography, etc.) will also be posted to Blackboard over the course of the semester.

  • It is students’ responsibility to sign up for the correct seminar group on Blackboard in advance of the first seminar so they receive relevant announcements.

Reading list

A full reading list will be posted on Blackboard two weeks before the start of the semester. In preparation for the course, students will find useful either of the following introductory texts:

  • Langenhove, Luk van (2001). Building Regions: The Regionalization of the World Order. Farnham: Ashgate.

  • Söderbaum, Fredrik (2015). Rethinking Regionalism. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website


The lecturer instructing the seminar group to which you signed up.