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 module provides a graduate-level introduction to the main theoretical traditions in International Relations (IR). The module is designed to introduce students to the academic discipline of IR as a way of thinking theoretically about world politics, its patterns and events. What is international relations made up of? How do we know? How should we study it?
The module covers basic concepts in IR, such as anarchy, sovereignty, power, the state and the international system. It surveys both mainstream and critical approaches to the subject, including Realism and Liberalism (as well as their neo-variants), institutionalism, the English School, social constructivism, Marxism, critical theory and poststructural approaches. Students will be asked to reflect on the ways in which theories account of and/ or shape world politics.
By the conclusion of the module, 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 behaviors that characterize 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 co-constitutive relationship between theory and practice in international affairs.