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Geopolitics of the Twenty First Century World Order

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 611 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €600.00 per programme


The world seems to change faster than ever in geopolitical and economic terms, thereby raising uncertainty in business, politics and media. How does the New Silk Road reflect and affect the power relations between China and other states? Has President Donald Trump strengthened or weakened the United States? And what will be the role of states such as Brazil, India and Russia in this century’s global balance of power? This course offers you a sound theoretical and practical basis to answer these questions and join related debates in a better-informed way. The course starts with a discussion on what geopolitics means, including geopolitical scholars that stretch across 120 years and several states. Some of their ideas link geopolitics to geo-economics and geostrategy as well. The course further helps you work with concepts such as national power, the global balance of power and the world order in an engaging way. Through a group assignment, you will compare the ways in which states (e.g. China and United States) project power over other states (e.g. South/North Korea or some African states). Interactive lectures and roundtable discussions help you prepare for your assignment. Based on the assignments, we explore various directions in which the world order may develop in the twenty-first century.

▪ Becoming familiar with different schools of thought in geopolitics.
▪ Understanding the complex relationship between geography and power.
▪ Distinguishing between different conceptualizations of the concept power and how they relate to states such as China and the United States
▪ Designing a framework to map the ways in which a state projects power over another state and assess the (un)intended impact of these efforts.
▪ Developing the critical thinking skills required to nuance the many claims about national power, global balance of power and the world order.

Instruction language

▪ Strong motivation and good command of English are essential to get a pass for the course;
▪ Basic knowledge of (geo)political ideas and/or trends is recommended;
▪ Aimed at Bachelor/ Master/ PhD students in Political Sciences/ International Relations/ Geography/ History/ Economics/ Business/ Media Studies/ Journalism/ Cultural Studies/ Linguistics. If in doubt, please contact Leonhardt for personal course selection advice.

Suggested literature
Below you find some general reading suggestions. It is not required to do reading before the course. If you like to read something, select the sources that are closest to your research interests. Alternatively, please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice or check his website:
▪ Baldwin, D. (2016) Power and International Relations. A conceptual approach.
▪ Buzan, B. (2004) The United States and the great powers. World politics in the twenty-first century.
▪ Buzan, B. (2011). The Inaugural Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture. A World Order Without Superpowers: Decentred Globalism. International Relations, 25(1), pp. 3–25.
▪ Delbecque, E. and Harbulot, C. (2011) La guerre économique (Collection: Que sais-je ?).
▪ Flint, C. (2017) Introduction to geopolitics (3rd ed.).
▪ Gray, C.S. and Sloan, G. (1999) Geopolitics. Geography and strategy.
▪ Haas, E.B. (1953) The balance of power: Prescription, concept, or propaganda? World Politics, 5(4), pp. 442-477.
▪ Lacoste, Y. (2012) Géopolitique: La longue histoire d’aujourd’hui.
▪ Smith, M.A. (2012) Power in the changing global order.
▪ Storey, D. (2011) Territory. The claiming of space.

Apply now! Block 4.1 2018/19
Application deadline
Jun 1, 2019 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Jul 22, 2019

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States