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POL1032 : Introduction to International Politics

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Mark Langan
  • Demonstrator: Ms Hattie Cansino
  • Teaching Assistant: Dr Xander Kirke
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


• to introduce International Relations as a discipline
• to examine the principal conceptual approaches to the study of global politics/international relations
• to locate these approaches in broad historical and philosophical contexts
• to analyse important issues in contemporary global politics
• to develop the analytical and critical skills of students

This module begins by exploring a selection of issues that define the agenda of contemporary international politics which may include: war; humanitarian intervention; terrorism; territory and borders; culture and identity; media; religion; inequality; and global poverty. Through the analysis of these issues the course aims to introduce students to the key concepts that define the agenda of international relations scholarship.
The course then outlines, through a critical genealogy, the various perspectives adopted by scholars with respect to these conceptual questions. This genealogy aims to put the diverse understandings of actors, structures and processes of perspectives such as realism, idealism, and constructivism into a broader historical and intellectual context. The course concludes by examining the manner in which the traditional agenda of international relations is being recast by a number of critical theories.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus of the course covers 3 areas
(1)       A thematic analysis of the issue agenda of international politics highlighting – through discussion of contemporary issues - key concepts such as states, borders, colonialism, imperialism, war, terror, security, inequality, religion.

(2)       A critical, historical introduction to the main theories of international politics including (but not limited to): realism, liberalism, constructivism.

(3)       Study of contemporary critical theoretical interventions in the agenda of international relations scholarship which may include: postcolonialism, biopolitics, cultural studies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

• Lectures introduce and explain key ideas, present different theoretical perspectives, and prompt student response
• Seminars provide fora for students to present, develop and discuss ideas, and reinforce their knowledge and understanding

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A45N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M552500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

• Unseen examinations provide a forum in which students must relate their knowledge and understanding without reference to their notes and academic texts
• essays enable students to discuss an issue or problem in global politics at some length and in the context of a variety of academic texts and other sources

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