International Relations: Theories, Concepts, and Debates

This course provides a wide-ranging introduction to International Relations as a field of study. It surveys theories and approaches to the subject, and puts these approaches into conversation with each other. We also explore the character of contemporary international order, and debate the relationship between theories of international relations, and its practice. Along the way, we ask whether IR represents a particular (Anglo-American/European) viewpoint, or whether it can – and should – become more global in terms of its histories, concepts and theories.

The main aim of the course is to introduce students to IR theories and approaches and enable them to assess their contributions and shortcomings. By the end of the course, students will:  

  • Discuss critically, and write knowledgeably about, major IR theories and paradigmatic debates  
  • Use key IR concepts to think, talk and write persuasively about historical processes and contemporary events.

At the end of the course and having completed the essential reading and activities students should be able to:  

  • Describe the evolution of International Relation as an academic discipline;  
  • Explain the relevance of key terms in International Relations;  
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of IR’s various theoretical approaches;   
  • Analyse contemporary and historical international events from a variety of theoretical viewpoints. 
  • Baylis, J. and S. Smith (eds) The Globalization of World Politics: an Introduction to International Relations. 8 8h Edition. (Oxford: Oxford University Press). 2019. ISBN: 9780198825548 
  • Griffiths, M., T. O’Callaghan and S.C. Roach International relations: the key concepts. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014) third edition [ISBN 9780203748206]. 
  • R Jackson & G Sørensen, Introduction to International Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press). 2018. 9780198803577

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