Department of European Studies & Modern Languages, Unit Catalogue 2007/08
EU30731 A history of international relations theory
| Credits: 6 |
| Semester: 1|
|Before taking this unit you must take EC20080|
Aims: This course aims to:
1. distinguish between 'world affairs', 'contemporary history' from the academic study of International Relations or World Politics.
2. introduce and provide an overview of the main images, perspectives, paradigms, or traditions of thought scholars use to explain/examine/understand International Relations.
3. examine why human beings decided to organise themselves into geographically separate political communities (called 'states'), and to distinguish between the idea of 'international society', 'international system', 'world society', and 'global international society'.
4. examine the development of the main 'institutions' of international society, focusing particularly on the procedures of international law (regarding state sovereignty, treaties), the mechanisms of diplomacy, the working of international organisations, and the customs and conventions of war.
5. examine the origins and development of some of the different historical state systems or systems of states out of which emerged European international society and contemporary global international society or world society.
6. examine the main thinkers, concepts, and theories in international thought as they emerged in the context of different historical state systems.
7. examine what factors in different historical state systems contributed to order, stability, and international co-operation, and what factors contributed to disorder, instability, war or international conflict.
By the end of this course students should be able to:
1. identify and explain the main perspectives of International Relations.
2. identify the key Western thinkers in International Relations and explain how their ideas have contributed to the main perspectives on International Relations.
3. explain how some of the key thinkers in international thought and their ideas are related to the development the main historical state systems.
4. explain what factors, particularly cultural, religious, political, and economic, contributed to international order and co-operation and international conflict in different historical state systems.
5. explain the development of international ideas relating to international law, the ethics of war, diplomacy, and international co-operation.
critical reading, thinking, and listening.
An historical survey of the main theories of international relations and the main historical state-systems in which they arose: the Greek-state system, the middle ages, the Renaissance and the emergence of the modern state system. The course unit examines a series of important, enduring questions in international relations theory about international systems:
(1) what were the origins of different international systems;
(2) what factors contributed to order and stability; and
(3) what factors promoted not only disorder and instability, but also system-wide change, the change to an entirely different type of international system.
Key texts: Michael Doyle Ways of War and Peace: Realism, Liberalism, and Socialism; Torbjorn Knutsen A History of International Relations Theory; Joseph Nye Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History.