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International Relations: Theory and Practice

30 Credits

The study of international relations (IR) helps us understand the circumstances under which conflict and cooperation occur in the world.

If we can determine the causes of these events, we might learn to control them.

This course is designed as an introduction to the only academic discipline that is specifically concerned with the study of “The International”. It offers a broad introduction to international relations and assumes no prior knowledge. It is structured to provide a balance between empirical applications and theoretical underpinnings.

The course covers several mainstream and critical theories that help to explain recurring patterns in international relations, including realism, liberalism, Marxism, constructivism, and feminism.

Along with these theories, we will explore basic concepts used by IR scholars, such as the “state,” the “nation,” “anarchy,” and “power.” We will then study the different ways in which to analyse basic problems of international relations—conflict or cooperation—whether by studying the “big picture,”, the international system, or the inner workings of the state. Throughout the course you will be given the opportunity to apply complex and fast-changing scholarship to “real world” world problems, including state failure, climate change and security, international development, and humanitarian crises, which will enhance your critical thinking skills and help you to situate current international events in complex empirical and theoretical frameworks.