Accueil > Theories and practice of international relations: an introduction


Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


There are no specific requirements. However, students should show a keen interest in international relations, global politics and multilateral institutions.

Course Description

This course is aimed at students with a particular interest in international relations and multilateral institutions. It will support undergraduate students in strengthening their capacity to correctly analyse and interpret contemporary global political phenomena through the utilization of theories of international relations. The first part of the course will provide an overview of the most relevant concepts and ideas of international relations theories and explain the specific historic context in which each theory emerged. Next, specific case studies will help students discuss the applicability of main theories. Finally, we will engage in an interactive role play, in which students will perform a specific role (such as diplomat, technical advisor or civil society representative) in a multilateral negotiation. As the course progresses, students are expected to increasingly engage in focused discussions.


FIEDLER, Yannick M. (PhD Student, International Consultant)

Course validation

Continuous participation in the class will account for 60% of the grade (i.e. joint presentations and the role play; engaging in discussions; short quizzes may be handed out occasionally). The final exam will account for 40% of the final grade.


Each student is required to read the texts listed in the course outline under “required readings”, which are also relevant for the exam. If students wish to increase their capacities and their chance of obtaining a high grade, they may refer to some of the additional “suggested readings” that correspond to their personal interests.

Required reading

  • R. W. Cox. 1996. Social forces, states, and world orders: beyond international relations theory. In: Robert Cox. Approaches to World Order. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; pp. 85-123
  • R.O. Keohane. 2012. Twenty Years of Institutional Liberalism. International Relations, vol. 26, no 2, pp. 125–138
  • A. Moravcsik. 1997. Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics. International Organization, vol. 51, no 4, pp 513-553
  • K. Polanyi. 2001 (2nd edition). The great transformation : the political and economic origins of our time. Boston, MA : Beacon Press, 2001
  • K. Waltz. 1959. Man, the State and War - A Theoretical Analysis. New York : Columbia University Press

Additional required reading

A. Wendt. 1992. Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics, International Organization vol. 46, no 2, pp. 391-425