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  1. Week Thirteen – Introduction: Welcome to Theories of International Relations 17 items
    In this introductory week, we will be going over the contents of the course and explain why we study International Relations (IR) Theory as politics scholars. I’ll provide you with and overview of the course, introduce you to your teaching team, and give you some insights into the history and purpose of IR Theory. Questions to consider this week are: how and why did IR Theory develop as a discipline? Is there a ‘purpose’ to IR Theory? What are the core concerns of IR Theory? How has the discipline changed over time? What is the relationship between IR Theory and practice (real world international relations)? Do we ‘need’ IR Theory to be able to understand the world today?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
    2. Recommended Reading 15 items
      1. International practices - Emanuel Adler, Vincent Pouliot 2011-3

        Article 

      2. The end of International Relations theory? - T. Dunne, L. Hansen, C. Wight 01/09/2013

        Article 

      3. IR as an academic subject - Robert Jackson, Georg Sorensen

        Chapter 

  2. Week Fourteen – Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism and the Global Order 22 items
    This week, we delve into what is often referred to as the first Theory of IR. Liberalism emerged right after the First World War, and has been updated and expanded on ever since then. Liberals focus on peace, democracy, diplomacy, and spreading liberal ideas to other countries. We will be focusing on traditional liberalism, its more modern offshoot neo-liberalism, and consider criticisms of the approach. To demonstrate ‘theory in practice,’ we will focus on liberal conceptions of the world order this week. This is the concern of your second reading (the first provides an overview of liberalism more broadly). Questions to consider this week are: What are the core assumptions of liberalism and how have they changed over time? What are the similarities and differences between classical liberalism (sometimes referred to as liberal internationalism) and neo-liberalism (sometimes referred to as liberal institutionalism)? Which elements of liberalism are still relevant for today’s international relations? Have we seen a revival of liberalism after the end of the Cold War and, if so, in what form? Is the current liberal world order in crisis?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
    2. Recommended Reading 20 items
      1. Liberalism (Liberal Internationalism) 10 items
        1. The end of history and the last man - Francis Fukuyama 2012

          Book 

      2. Neo-Liberalism (Liberal Institutionalism) 10 items
        1. The rise of neoliberalism and institutional analysis - John L. Campbell, Ove K. Pedersen c2001

          Book 

        2. The Promise of Institutionalist Theory - Robert O. Keohane, Lisa L. Martin 22/1995

          Article 

        3. Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism - Beth A. Simmons, Frank Dobbin and Geoffrey Garrett 2006

          Article 

  3. Week Fifteen – Realism, Neo-Realism and the Iraq War 27 items
    This week, we will be focusing on realism, an IR Theory that emerged shortly after the Second World War. Realists focus on the importance of self-help, security, human nature, and anarchy in international society. Despite its age, realism is still dominant as a discipline today, especially in the United States. Like liberalism, realism has been updated and changed over time, so we will also be learning about neo-realism (sometimes called structural realism), the more modern offshoot of realism. We will consider criticisms of the approach, and will be comparing neo-realism and neo-liberalism, to see how the modern versions compete (the ‘neo-neo’ debate). To get a sense of the theory in practice, we will consider what realists make of the Iraq War. Questions to consider this week are: Are realism’s central concepts of anarchy, self-help and power balancing more appropriate to a bygone era? Why is human nature so important to realism? What role does the international structure play for neo-realists? What are the similarities and differences between classical realism and neo-realism? Is neo-realism really an advance on realism, or does it face similar problems? What does the ‘neo-neo’ debate concern? Why do so many realists oppose the Iraq War?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
    2. Recommended Reading 25 items
      1. Realism (Classical Realism) 9 items
      2. Neo-Realism (Structural Realism) 10 items
        1. Neorealism and its critics - Robert O. Keohane, Kenneth Neal Waltz 1986

          Book 

        2. Theory of international politics - Kenneth Neal Waltz c1979

          Book 

      3. The Neo-Neo Debate 6 items
        1. Neorealism and neoliberalism: the contemporary debate - David A. Baldwin c1993

          Book 

  4. Week Sixteen– The English School and Humanitarian Intervention 17 items
    This week, we turn our attention to the English School, which emerged as a response to those who saw realism and liberalism as compatible rather than conflicting. The English School attempts to combine elements of liberalism and realism in order to form a new IR Theory that is both pragmatic and utopian. We will explore two key sub-theories of the English School (pluralism and solidarism), think about how the English School differs from liberalism and realism, and consider the main criticisms of the approach. To get a sense of this theory in practice, we will consider humanitarian intervention, a key problem English School scholars concerns themselves with. Questions to consider this week are: How does the English School differ from liberalism and realism? Is the English School simply a mix of two existing theories, or does it present a unique approach? Do you think that it makes sense to speak of an international society? What are the institutions of international society and do they provide for order and justice in world politics? What are the differences between English School pluralists and solidarists? Can humanitarian intervention ever be justified?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
    2. Recommended Reading 15 items
      1. The global covenant: human conduct in a world of states - Robert H. Jackson 2000

        Book 

      2. Chapter 5 - International Society

        Chapter 

      3. The English School of International Relations: A Contemporary Reassessment - Andrew Linklater, Hidemi Suganami, Cambridge Books Online (Online service) 2006 (electronic resource)

        Book 

  5. Week Seventeen – Marxism and the Financial Crisis 17 items
    This week, we will move away from ‘mainstream’ IR Theories we have learned about so far, and begin to explore ‘alternative’ or ‘critical’ approaches. These have emerged as a response to the perception that mainstream theories lack nuance, and each approach has its own specialised critiques of these theories. We will begin by learning about Marxism, a theory that has its roots in the writings of Marx, but has developed significantly since his time. We will focus on classical Marxism and its offshoots, including Wallerstein’s World System’s Theory, Gramscian Theory, Critical Theory, and New Marxism. As always, we will consider the criticisms of the approach, as well as discussing its strengths. To get a sense of this theory in practice, we will explore what Marxists have to say about the financial crisis. Questions to consider this week are: Do you agree with Marx that purpose of theory is to change the world? What are the core elements of World System’s Theory, Gramscian Theory, and Critical Theory? Are Wallerstein’s concepts of the core, semi-periphery, and periphery useful for categorizing and explaining contemporary international relations? Are all theories for someone and for some purpose, and does this mean theory can never be objective? How should a Marxist interpret the recent financial crisis? Are we heading towards the end of capitalism?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
    2. Recommended Reading 15 items
      1. Selections from the prison notebooks of Antonio Gramsci - Antonio Gramsci, Quintin Hoare, Geoffrey Nowell-Smith 1971

        Book 

  6. Week Nineteen – Constructivism and Chemical Weapons 17 items
    This week, we will examine constructivist approaches to IR, which emerged in the 1980s as an offshoot of social theory. Those of you who study sociology may recognize the phrase ‘social construction,’ a concept we will be delving into this week. Constructivists are very interested in how norms, ideas, and behaviours become entrenched in international relations. This makes the approach highly malleable as theoretical lens. As always, we will assess the strengths and weaknesses of the approach, so that you can decide what to make of the theory. To get a sense of this theory in practice, we will examine what constructivists have said about the changing attitudes towards the use of chemical weapons. Key questions to consider this week are: what are the main aims and objective of constructivist scholars? What do constructivists have to say about norms, identity and culture in international relations? Do constructivists think that international relations can be changed? Do they give us hope, or optimism? Does constructivism provide an explanation for changing attitudes towards the use of chemical weapons?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
    2. Recommended Reading 15 items
      1. International Norm Dynamics and Political Change - Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink 1998

        Article 

      2. Making sense, making worlds: constructivism in social theory and international relations - Nicholas Greenwood Onuf 2013

        Book 

  7. Week Twenty – Post-Structuralism and Trust 17 items
    This week, we will be focusing on post-structuralism, which is sometimes referred to as post-modernism. Post-structuralism draws on the works of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, and Emmanuel Levinas, amongst others – resulting in many different post-structural accounts of IR Theory. We will therefore focus on overlapping themes, including a focus on discourse, methods for deconstruction, and the role of power and knowledge. Post-structuralism is often described as an ‘approach’ or ‘ethos’ rather than an IR Theory, which has resulted in both praise and criticism, both of which we will explore. To get a sense of this theory in practice, we will consider recent post-structuralist literature on the role of trust in international relations. Questions to consider this week are: who has the power in international relations according to post-structuralists? What role do the notions of ‘language’ and ‘text’ play in poststructuralist accounts? Poststructuralists argue that there is no 'Truth' only truths - do you agree? Why is it important to deconstruct the notion of trust in international relations, and how can post-structuralists help us understand this importance?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
    2. Recommended Reading 15 items
      1. International/intertextual relations: postmodern readings of world politics - Michael J. Shapiro, James Der Derian c1989

        Book 

      2. Critical theorists and international relations - Jenny Edkins, Nick Vaughan-Williams, dawsonera 2009 (electronic resource)

        Book 

      3. The Foucault reader - Michel Foucault, Paul Rabinow 1986

        Book 

  8. Week Twenty-One – Feminism and Security 17 items
    This week, we turn to feminism as an IR Theory. Feminism is well established outside of IR, so we will be learning what feminists have said about IR as a discipline, existing IR theories, and specific subjects of IR that seem to ignore the role and importance of women and gender more broadly. Feminist IR has had many offshoots, and we will be considering three of these: liberal, standpoint and post-structural. As always, we will consider the merits and weaknesses of the approach, and discuss what role the theory plays for analysing international relations. To get a sense of theory in practice, we will explore what feminists have had to say about security and warfare in recent times. What are the key commonalities and differences between liberal, standpoint and post-structural feminist perspectives? What are the key concerns, aims and objectives of feminist/gender perspectives in IR? On what grounds can it be argued that International Relations is a ‘gendered’ discipline? How do issues of sex and sexuality matter to war and the armed forces?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
      1. Gendering a Warbot - Heather M. Roff 02/01/2016

        Article 

    2. Recommended Reading 15 items
      1. Gendering Jones: Feminisms, IRs, Masculinities - Terrell Carver, Molly Cochran and Judith Squires 1998

        Article 

      2. Manly states: masculinities, international relations, and gender politics - Charlotte Hooper c2001

        Book 

  9. Week Twenty-Two – Post-Colonialism and the Eurocentric Nature of IR Theory 17 items
    This week, we turn our attention to post-colonialism. Post-colonialists believe that the triple expression of race, class and gender is needed to understand the nature of world politics. Using this triple expression, post-colonialists argue that the discipline of IR is deeply Eurocentric and imperial. We are going to explore the main tenets of this approach and question what a postcolonial perspective 'adds' to our understanding of international relations, as well as examining some critiques of this position. Post-colonialists emphasize sites of knowledge production, so we are going to examine the relationship between knowledge and power, and situate such debates within the context of your own experiences at the University of Bristol. This will be discussed in the lecture, where we will learn about the movement that asks, ‘why is my curriculum white?’ To get a sense of this theory in practice, you will be reading a piece that takes on an existing IR Theory you may remember from earlier on in the semester – the English School. Questions to consider this week are: What do post-colonial scholars criticise when they charge IR with ‘Eurocentrism’ and why is this critique important? How do theories of IR exclude non-European experiences? Does the experience of the triple oppression of race, class, and gender constitute the basis for a ‘better’ knowledge of international relations? What are the problems of trying to develop 'non-Western IR theory'? Does the university reproduce exclusions and why does this matter?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
    2. Recommended Reading 15 items
      1. Non-Western international relations theory: perspectives on and beyond Asia - Amitav Acharya, Barry Buzan 2010

        Book 

      2. Postcolonial theory and international relations: a critical introduction 2013

        Book 

  10. Week Twenty-Three – Cosmopolitanism and Climate Change 17 items
    In this final week, we turn to cosmopolitanism, a theory that focuses on individuals rather than states as the core concern. Cosmopolitans believe that the world has changed significantly because of globalization, and are keen to explore global problems that require global solutions. We will learn about the main tenets of the theory, and explore one specific branch in detail – Global Justice. As always, we will explore the strengths and weaknesses of the approach and critically examine what this approach can tell us about contemporary international relations. To get a sense of theory in practice, we will consider what cosmopolitan scholars have had to say about the climate change problem. Questions to consider this week are: what basic moral principles underpin cosmopolitanism? What is the relationship between contemporary cosmopolitan arguments and globalization? Can cosmopolitanism be institutionalized globally? What are the major arguments for how this can be accomplished and are you convinced by them? Is climate change a problem of global justice? How much do we owe to future generations, and why? Who should be responsible for climate change - states, individuals or other actors?
    1. Essential Reading 2 items
      1. Editor’s Introduction

        Chapter 

    2. Recommended Reading 15 items
      1. Cosmopolitanism and international relations theory - Richard Beardsworth 2011

        Book 

      2. Global Justice - Gillian Brock 08/01/2009

        Book 

      3. The cosmopolitanism reader 2010

        Book 

      4. Climate ethics: essential readings - Stephen Mark Gardiner, dawsonera 2010 (electronic resource)

        Book 

      5. Justice for future generations: climate change and international law - Peter Lawrence 2014

        Book 

      6. Cosmopolitan global politics - Patrick Hayden c2005

        Book 

      7. Justice without Borders: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Patriotism - Kok-Chor Tan, Cambridge Books Online (Online service) 2004 (electronic resource)

        Book 

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