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Ideas in World Politics


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations.


Many of our students are new to International Relations (IR). This course serves as an introduction to the study of IR, with a focus on the broader link between IR and humanities disciplines. It takes a special interest in critical and non-Western approaches to IR.
The principal claim of this course is that no coherent and balanced understanding of IR and global politics is possible without taking into full consideration the rich diversity of ideas, beliefs and (self)-perceptions that influence both current events in global politics and how they are interpreted by diverse onlookers around the world.

Course objectives

This course has three major objectives:
1. To introduce students to mainstream and critical theoretical perspectives of IR.
2. To discuss the intertwining between IR and humanities disciplines, especially history, culture, and area studies.
3. To reflect on alternative critical and non-Western perspectives on the theory and practice of IR from around the world.

During the lecture series, we discuss the complex challenges which the current world order presents to the study of IR and global politics. We will engage with scholarly debates and the practical implications involving mainstream and critical political and social concepts, ideas and beliefs in global politics today. We will draw insights from how other disciplines have reflected on questions relevant to IR and global politics. We will also discuss how IR as a discipline is understood and negotiated in different parts of the world.
During the seminars students are prompted to expand on the topics discussed in the lectures. On the basis of academic texts and other relevant primary and secondary sources students will engage critically with the ways in which scholars in different disciplines as well as thinkers in different parts of the world have tried to understand international affairs, and how they have learned from each other. Students will develop their critical faculties and further their ability to research, articulate, report, and defend their position.


The timetable is available on the website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and seminar.

Course Load

  • 24 Hours of classes (attendance seminars is mandatory)

  • 48 Hours of reading and class preparation (4 hours per week over 12 weeks)

  • 10 Hours to prepare for the presentations and peer-review

  • 30 Hours to complete the Paper proposal

  • 28 Hours to complete the Research Paper.

Total 140 hours

Assessment method

subject to change

  • Participation: 20%

  • Policy Paper: 35%

  • Critical Review: 45%


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The resit for the final examined element is only available to students whose mark of the final examined element is insufficient.

inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for this course.

Reading list

Required and recommended readings will be announced on Blackboard before the start of the course, or during the course. Check Blackboard for timely information.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.


Lectures: Professor André W.M. Gerrits
Seminars: your seminar professor.