POL2078 : Critical International Politics

  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Amanda Chisholm
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to critically explore the interplay between theory and practice in contemporary global politics. It will analyse the social, political, economic and discursive contexts that give rise to and shape dominant understandings of key global issues. It will then relate these contexts back to the problem-solving and critical theoretical traditions of the discipline of international relations.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered may include the following:
1. Introduction

2. Theory and Practice in International Politics
3. Post-colonialism as Critique
4. Liberalism, Empire and World (Dis)Order
5. The Future(s) of World (Dis)Order
6. Foreign Policy and the Foreign Policy Process
7. Multiculturalism and Foreign Policy
8. The International Political Economy of Inequality
9. Security and Technology
10. The Global Drug War

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery14:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the key social, political, economic, and ideational contexts of international politics. In addition they serve to outline and illustrate the principle concepts and theories available to understanding these contexts.
The seminars will provide an environment in which these empirical, conceptual, and theoretical issues can be further explored and critically evaluated by students.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A502000 words on BB to be completed in 48 hours
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502000 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The participation grade will assess the ability of students to individually contribute to seminar learning. This may be achieved by raising important questions and/or verbally demonstrating an awareness of ideas, concepts, theories, and empirical material from across the module on a weekly basis. Student participation is a vital aspect of a positive learning environment in seminars. This form of assessment is a means by which to encourage and reward students for making an effort to attend and participate. Moreover, it promotes the development of a key transferable skill: the ability to regularly make useful contributions to group discussions.

The take-home exam will assess the students understanding of, and ability to critically evaluate the key, ideas, concepts, theories, and empirical material of the course across the entirety of the curriculum. The take-home exam is being combined with more rigorous assessment standards, including the expectation of direct referencing to arguments/concepts of key figures in the theory and practice of international politics found in the readings.

The 2000 word essay will provide an opportunity for students to explore one of the topics in greater depth. It will assess the student’s ability to place and synthesize the material gained from lectures and seminars in appropriate contexts and their ability to critically and succinctly evaluate the ideas, concepts and theories introduced in lectures and explored in seminars. In addition the essay will also assess the capacity and initiative of students to undertake independent study of published and electronic materials.

RESIT INFO: 100% unseen written examination

Exchange Students:

An alternative form of assessment will be set for exchange students from non-English speaking home institutions replacing the examination. The alternative form of assessment is set in accordance with the University Assessment tariff.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.