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This course provides a broad introduction to the core issues and theories related to the study of international relations. Students will be introduced to the discipline through a study of key historical events, prominent theories of international relations, and a variety of practical examples.
POLS104 provides a broad introduction to the core issues and theories related to the study of international relations. International politics is a field composed of a great variety of actors, ideologies and theories. In this course we will discuss the interaction of states, regional groups, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations in relation to some of the most complex and controversial international and global issues of our time. Some of the pivotal questions we will cover in this course include: What does it mean to be powerful in international relations? Why do states appear to put their own interests before the interests of others? How important are principles of human rights in the current international order? When is it right to intervene in the affairs of another state? Is globalisation going to mean the end of the nation-state? In addressing these questions we will also seek to understand the different theories and theorists that attempt to provide frameworks for understanding how international politics works and what kinds of change may be possible in the future. Practical illustrations will be utilised throughout the course, by reference to a variety of historical events, including case studies of humanitarianism, terrorism, refugees, and climate politics.Course Aims:This course aims to provide students with the grounding in theories, concepts and issues in international relations necessary to move on to more advanced study in the area. The lectures provide an overview of theoretical, historical, and contemporary issues relevant to international relations. The textbook readings provide additional depth and provide an entry point to the literature on key issues in international relations. The tutorials are geared toward providing students with an opportunity to discuss their views on the material covered in the lectures and readings in order to begin development of oral presentation of ideas. Each piece of assessment is designed to encourage active engagement with the course themes and to provide students with the study skills and knowledge to move into the study of IR at higher levels.
Through lecture attendance, assessment, and discussion, students will gain a basic understanding of the core historical, theoretical and practical dimensions of international relations. This will then leave students prepared for further study in the areas of international relations theory, human rights and humanitarianism, foreign policy, international political economy, war and intervention. Knowledge of these basics will also leave students with the capacity to think carefully and critically about many of the most challenging and controversial issues that face foreign policy-makers and publics around the world today. In addition, it is expected that students will gain additional research and writing skills that will advance them beyond the first year stage and prepare them for more intensive work at second year level and beyond.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
John Baylis, Steve Smith, Patricia Owens (eds.) The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 9th Edition. Oxford University Press, New York, 2023.
Referencing for Political Science
Using EndNote for referencing
Writing guides for Political Science
Harvard Citation System
Domestic fee $844.00
International fee $3,950.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences