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Areas and Policies


Admission requirements

Compulsory core course for all MA International Studies Students. In addition, eight places only will be available for MA Asian Studies students.


Critical Aspects of Global Politics and Culture.
The rise of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) and the emergence of the G20 have recently been juxtaposed with financial crises in the US and the EU to suggest that the poles of international power are shifting. As a result of this shift, policy-makers are increasingly required to consider issues in contemporary international relations from a variety of non-Western cultural standpoints. Unfortunately, the academic field of International Relations (IR) has traditionally been orientated around Western ideas and frameworks that merely incorporate the non-West as case studies, leaving policy-makers devoid of the conceptual tools necessary to address global problems today. This second core course seeks to correct this ‘Western bias’ in IR by critically exploring a range of contemporary issues across a number of areas or regions from the vantage point of non-Western theoretical positions. In so doing, this core course challenges students to cultivate a truly international mindset that is culturally aware and can generate more effective policy in the future.
The course begins by addressing the key assumptions made by traditional approaches to international relations and how to reconsider and challenge these assumptions. Students then proceed to examine a series of core issues in the study of the global political economy, including: ecological sustainability, migration and the globalization of production, slavery and human trafficking, the evolution of the global trade regime, the political economy of global financial crises, structural inequality and development, (in)security and the ‘New Wars’, regionalism and regionalization, and neo-imperialism and the ‘war on terror’. The course requires students to continually ask what human beings (can) do to change their world and to perceive issues from a myriad of cultural standpoints. With this in mind students will critically evaluate policy responses to a specific issue from one of ten areas or regions (The Middle East, Russia, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Central America, Africa, Europe, and North America) from an alternative ‘regional’ viewpoint to ensure cross-cultural comparability and critique. Students will also be expected to employ the theoretical knowledge gained from the first semester concepts, ideas, and beliefs core course to explore alternative approaches to understanding each of the issues studied. In this way, the core module encourages students to foster a critical and comparative approach in their study of international relations that is attentive to non-Western ideas and frameworks.

Course objectives

This module aims to provide a critical examination of the development of non-Western International Relations theory. Students will compare, contrast, critque, and apply a variety of different theoretical frameworks to understand key issues and policies in International Studies. The focus of this module is on developments since World War Two, but with a particular emphasis on the post-Cold War period. By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the complex issues and processes related to the development of non-Western International Relations theory and International Studies.

  • Apply complex conceptual tools to analyze key events in and processes related to International Studies.

  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, develop the capacity for independent learning, critique major texts and approaches on International Relations theory and International Studies, and lead class discussions.


Check the timetable on the departmental website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and Seminars

Assessment method

  • Participation Element: incl. attendance, participation, webposts, presentation), 40%

  • Analytical Element: critical literature review), 20%

  • Research Element: research essay 4,000 words, 40%


A handbook denoting weekly readings will be posted on Blackboard the week before the start of the semester.
Additional information (powerpoints, useful websites, etc…) will also be found on blackboard over the course of the semester.

Reading list

Textbooks and introductory reading includes:

  • J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss Eds. 2008. Global Politics – A New Introduction. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

  • B. Buzan and A. Acharya Eds. 2010. Non-Western International Relations Theory – Perspectives on and Beyond Asia. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

  • R. Stubbs and G. Underhill Eds. 2005. Political Economy and the Changing Global Order. Oxford: OUP.


Students can sign up to the class via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
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