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World Politics and International Relations

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
2 year, 3, 4 module


Ageeva, Vera

Koryagin, Grigory

Похабова Полина Владиславовна

Course Syllabus


Students of this course are bound to ask the question – what exactly is International Relations (IR)? What distinguishes this subject from history or law, economics or comparative politics? When did ‘IR’ emerge as an academic subject? How has it changed over time in the West and in Russia? What does IR contribute to the sum of human knowledge? And why has it become one of the most popular twenty–first century social sciences, despite the fact that – as students will discover fairly early on – IR scholars around the world spend more time than most defending and defining their ‘discipline’? The course is in two parts. Part one provides an introduction to the history and theory of IR, covering its post–war origins and revaluations from 1919 to the recent past. Students will learn about all the major theories of IR along with some of the more recent, innovative ones, and the debates over ‘theory and history’ that have shaped the ‘discipline’ over the last century. Part two explores key concepts, trends and challenges of globalisation in world politics. We will look in some detail at both the real–world problems which IR addresses, and some of the essential theories it employs to understand and explain the varied experiences of world politics from perspectives of conventional actors (states and international organsiations) and the broad array of non-state actors (from civil society groups to terrorist cells and international migrants) in the current age of globalisation.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • explore and evaluate the evolution of the discipline of international relations (IR) over the past century
  • introduce a range of theoretical tools for analysing the motives, intentions and behaviours of international actors with regards to the prevailing international order
  • critically assess the global policy challenges facing the contemporary international order, including problems occasioned by climate change, terrorism, migration and eco-nomic inequality
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • analyses international events from a variety of theoretical viewpoints and concerning a range of policy challenges
  • describes the (global) evolution of international relations as an academic discipline
  • explains the relevance of key terms and concepts in the analysis of world politics
  • identifies the strengths and weaknesses of IR’s various theoretical approaches for understanding and explaining changes in international relations and problems of world politics
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The History of ‘IR’ between Wales, America & Russia
  • ‘Crisis’ and Peacemaking in the 20th Century
  • Realism
  • Liberalism
  • ‘Neo–Neo’ and the ‘Crisis of Global Order’: Debates of Realism and Liberalism
  • Constructivism
  • The English School
  • International Political Economy
  • Critical Theory & Feminism
  • Theories of Geopolitics
  • War
  • Power
  • Global Governance
  • Regionalisation & Globalisation
  • Diplomacy & Globalisation
  • Security & Globalisation
  • The Challenge of Terrorism
  • The Challenge of International Development
  • The Challenge of Population Change & Migration
  • The Challenge of Climate Change
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Seminar participation
    Students’ participation in seminar discussions is assessed according to the “intensity” and thoughtfulness of their participation. It is not enough to just turn up. Active participation is required to get a good participation grade. Obtaining an excellent grade, requires demonstrating an ability to understand and analyse key ideas and concepts from (all) the required readings and (at least one) of the recommended readings assigned for the seminar. A scorecard for participa-tion will be kept by the seminar instructor and used to calculate a final participation score for each student.
  • non-blocking Written assignments
    There are two written essays for this course, one for each of the two parts. The deadline for these assignments will be the end of Module 3 and the end of Module 4 (more specific dates will be set at the start of the course). No late submissions will be accepted, but students can submit their essays at any point before the set deadlines. The idea of these assignments is to test each student’s understanding of each part of the course, and also to evaluate their academic writing skills. Each assignment should be around 1500-words in length, not including the title question, the student’s name and group number (which should all be included at the top of the first page). The bibliography at the end of will also not be included in the word count. Essays should not go over, or under, the word limit of 1500 words by more than 10%. Every 10% (150 words) higher or lower than the word limit will incur a 0.5 grade penalty. In other words, assignments of 1345 and 1655 words will both receive the same 0.5 penalty. Both essays should be written in 12-point Times New Roman with 1.5 spacing. Students can use larger font for the title and section headings, if they wish. The only file format that will be accepted is a Microsoft Word document (.doc) file.
  • non-blocking Final exam
    At the end of Module 4 there will be a three-hour written exam. The exam paper will comprise a choice of questions based on all the topics covered in the course. Students will be expected to answer THREE questions, writing short essay-length answers of around 400-800 words each, plus references. Students will be required to answer one question on Part 1 and one question on Part 2 of the course. The third question can be from either part. Details about what is expected in terms of these answers will be conveyed during the lectures of the course. Sample questions will also be discussed.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 4th module
    0.2 * Seminar participation + 0.4 * Written assignments + 0.4 * Final exam


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Baylis, J. (DE-588)139834338, (DE-627)613794974, (DE-576)160207436, aut. (2011). The globalization of world politics an introduction to international relations John Baylis; Steve Smith; Patricia Owens.
  • Scott Burchill, Andrew Linklater, Richard Devetak, Jack Donnelly, Terry Nardin, Matthew Paterson, Christian Reus-Smit, & Jacqui True. (2013). Theories of International Relations: Vol. 5th edition. Palgrave Macmillan.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • N. J. Rengger. (2000). International Relations, Political Theory and the Problem of Order : Beyond International Relations Theory? Routledge.