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POL2078 : Critical International Politics

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Ben Coulson
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered may include the following:
The “Myths” of the International
Theory and Practice in Global Politics
Intersections of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Class
Discourses and Practices of Security and Militarism

International Political Economy
Global Migration Private Military and Security Companies

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery14:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1162:00162:00N/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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research proposal2M20700 word research proposal with annotated bibliography
Research paper2M602500 word research essay
Reflective log2M20Critical reflection diary - 1050 words in total
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The research proposal and research essay will provide a scaffolding learning practice. Through the two assessments students will engage in a variety of theoretical perspectives of international relations and demonstrate the relationship between theory and practice.

Components of the proposal include a rationale for the security issue chosen, a description of which two theoretical perspectives they want to explore and why and a small working bibliography. in the research essay students will build upon their proposals by evaluating how the political issue is understood differently depending upon which perspectives they draw upon. They will be asked to evaluate each theoretical perspective, how they compare and what are the strengths and limitations.

The assessments 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.

Reading Lists