12 August 2016
International Relations in the 21st Century
The course will provide a critical understanding of key developments and issues in contemporary world politics for students with no prior background in international relations. Focusing on the period since the end of the Cold War, an era defined by rapid institutional innovation and development, as well as a number of emergent global issues, problems and policy dilemmas, the course locates these in the context of north-south relations, thus treating the international system as a dynamic whole, as it examines how issues that have become central in international politics – including ‘failed states’, nuclear proliferation, armed conflict and terrorism, democratisation, pandemics, the Arab Spring, etc. – are intimately linked to expanding efforts since the mid-20th century to generate a liberal world order. In doing so it provides analysis of the roles played in contemporary world politics by leading members of the ‘international community’ such as the United States and members of the European Union, ‘rising’ non-western states such as China, India and Brazil, non-state actors such as NGOs, transnational corporations and armed groups, and international financial and other institutions.
Specific topics investigated include the centrality of the United States to the post-Cold War international order; the diverse north-south interventions associated with civil wars, terrorism, securitized development and peacebuilding; the rise of global resistance movements (from Seattle to Occupy and the Arab Spring); the politics of migration (refugees, diasporas and workers); the role of transnational corporations in the global political economy; and emergent patterns in the management of global health and the environment. By the end of the course students should expect to have developed a layered and nuanced account of contemporary world politics by which to analyse concrete issues and policies as they impact the global north and south, and the hierarchical relations between them.
As part of the course, students will visit the Imperial War Museum which will help understand relations between mainstream accounts of world history and contemporary world politics. Students will also take part in a negotiation exercise, which enables participants to understand transnational character of political processes and contestations. Teams will represent actors with competing priorities such as security, commercial access, donor conditionality, environmental concerns and workers’ rights and will strive to shape policy direction.
Dr Mark Laffey and Dr Sutha Nadarajah
Current students, professionals + leisure learners
On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:
Apply international relations theory to explain key developments and events in contemporary world politics
Demonstrate critical knowledge of contemporary global policy frameworks, such as globalization, neoliberalism and the Global War on Terror
Demonstrate critical knowledge of key institutional and organizational developments in world politics since the end of the Cold War.
Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.
Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and transcripts will be available on request.
GBP 1450: Tuition
A tuition fee of £1450 will be charged per 3-week programme. This figure does not include accommodation fees.
A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £60 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.
An early bird discount of 10% is available if fees are paid by 31 March 2016.
15% discount for SOAS Alumni or if you take a combination of sessions 2 and 3.
20% discount for current SOAS students and our partner institutions.
Other discounts are available for groups, please contact us for further information.
Accommodation is available at an extra fee of £700 for 20 nights. For more details of how to reserve a room please our accommodation page.
SOAS, University of London offers a limited number of scholarships. Please check the website for full details