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International Relations and World Politics

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €1,000 per programme


How do you study, analyse and understand the world politics? What are the constant and changing elements in world politics? How do states decide their foreign policies and strategies? Why do they seek power? What are the conditions for war and peace? Is democracy still the ideal political system? What do people in the developing world think about international politics? Can poverty be ended? Is colonialism over? How do Asia and Global South perceive international politics? How does/will the world look like in the 21st century? Is our planet going to recover from the negative effects of the environmental degradation and climate change?

These are some of the questions we will address in this course on International Relations and World Politics. The course aims at discussing the main concepts of International Relations, such as world system, interstate relations, international organizations and transnational issues like environmental problems in an inter-active and participatory manner. The course also covers important but usually neglected issues like environmental degradation, problems of the developing world, poverty, inequality and gender-based biases.

This course attempts to explain theories of world politics and International Relations (IR) in order to help students, formulate their own world view. The course is enriched with different case studies and up-to-date discussions about real world events. Overall, students are given a chance to dicuss and to apply academic knowledge and theories to different and more specific cases, daily news and issues. Case studies or specific issues are provided by the course literature. In addition to this, in some tutorial meetings, students will be asked to bring news items of their own choice from newspapers and news agencies or have a debate about on ongoing and relevant issue. Thus, the course is based on active student participation.

For these purposes, the first part of the course discusses several important mainstream theories such as liberalism and realism; and issues including neoliberal world system and power politcs. In this part, students will find an opportunuity to discuss important concepts including international system, wars, power, nuclear weapons, cooperation and international institutions by using different perspectives. The second part of the course covers less mainstream approaches and some neglected issues about the ‘other’ side of world politics, for instance environmental issues, problems of the developing world, gendered-biases, economic inequalities, colonialism, the legitimization of power politics and approaches from Global South and Asia. Finally, students will apply what they learn in several different assignmnets.

Course objectives

To provide students with an in-depth understanding of the main theories and critical approaches in International Relations.
To analyse, learn and criticise the foundational concepts of international politics, such as system, states, power and security.
To discuss many key historical and contemporary issues, tranformations, actors and events in International Relations analytically and critically.
Students should have a background in world history, economics and politics. Students with an interest in international relations between world powers and current international politics the can enrol in this course.

Minimum of 7 students are required for the class to take place.

Recommended reading

In the course no single textbook will be followed. Students will be provided with a list of selected supplementary and recommended articles, podcasts, videos, books.
Recommended books: International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki and Steve Smith (eds), Oxford University Press; The Globalization of World Politics, John Baylis & Steve Smith & Patricia Owens (eds), Oxford University Press, Global Politics: A New Introduction, Edkins and Zehfuss (eds), Routledge; International Relations Theory, Paul R. Viotti and Mark V. Kauppi, Prentice Hall; An Introduction to International Relations Theory: Perspectives and Themes, Jill Steans, Lloyd Pettiford, Thomas Diez (eds), Pearson; Essential Reading in World Politics, Karen A. Mingst and Jack L. Synder (eds), W. W. Norton & Company; An Introduction to International Relations, Devetak, Burke and George (eds), Cambridge Press.
Free to download book: International Relations Theory,

Apply now! Block 4.3 2019/20
Application deadline
Jun 8, 2020 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Jul 20, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States