International Relations: Themes and Theories
Full course description
Please note that this course used to be titled the SSC1006 Introduction to International Relations. Some content and literature of the course and its assessments have been modified to meet the requirements of a 2000-level course. The first part of the course discusses several mainstream International Relations (IR) theories and issues including neoliberalism, neorealism and debates about the liberal world system. Moreoever the problematics of soft versus hard power, absolute versus relative gain, cooperating versus cheating, war versus peace will be discussed. In this part, we will not go through the world history, contemporary history, main international institutions or the history of nation-states. We will immediately start studying contemporary IR. The second part of the course covers less mainstream approaches, some ‘new’ theories and some neglected issues about the ‘other’ side of world politics. In this part normative and ideational structures, environmental issues, problems of the developing world, gendered-biases, economic inequalities, the construction of partial knowledge, the legitimization of power politics, the representation of images, establishment of stereotypes and the reproduction of hegemony will be studied critically. Moreover, new IR approaches like Queer theory and Asian IR approaches will be discussed. In this part, we aim at asking important questions and try to find reflective answers about the role of power and hegemony, how to make IR more Green, how to de-colonialise knowledge about the world, how to make IR and politics more gender- sensitive. It is important that students become aware of the theoretical richness of the discipline, and that there is not a single ‘right’ way to answer questions about what is happening around us in the world. Students are given a chance to dicuss and to apply those theories to different and more specific cases and issues. For this reason, this course is an opportunity to learn and apply international relations theories, concepts and models to the daily news and real time developments in the world. Case studies or specific issues are provided by the course literature. Thus, the course is based on active student participation
- To provide students with an in-depth understanding of the main theories and critical approaches in International Relations.
- To analyse foundational concepts of international politics, such as system, states and security.
- To discuss many key historical and contemporary issues, tranformations, actors and events in International Relations.
Political Science OR Contemporary World History OR Philosophy of Science.
Students who already took SSC1006 Introduction to International Relations cannot take this course.