Theories of International Relations
Course Code: PUBLG035
Course Tutor: Harry Bauer (Department of Political Science)
Assessment: One 3,000 word essay
Credit Value: 15
About this course
This course provides a critical introduction to the key theoretical traditions in International Relations (IR). The course is designed to introduce students to the academic discipline of IR as a way of thinking theoretically about patterns and events in world politics. What is international relations made up of? How do we know? How should we study it?
The course covers basic concepts in IR, such as anarchy, power, the sovereign state and the international system. It surveys the major theoretical approaches and debates in the field, including realism and neorealism, liberalism and institutionalism, social constructivism, Marxism, Critical Theory, feminism and poststructural approaches. Students will be asked to reflect on the ways in which theories describe and / or shape world politics.
By the conclusion of the course, students should be familiar with the major theoretical debates in the field and be comfortable using IR concepts and theories to understand and explain events in international politics. Students should have acquired the skills to think analytically about patterns and behaviours that characterise international politics, and be able to situate current world events within a broader theoretical context. Students should have learned how to critically evaluate competing theories of IR using a combination of logic, empirical evidence and normative criteria, and be equipped to think about the relationship between theory and practice in international affairs.