SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Frameworks of International Relations

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

International Relations 1: Foundations of World Politics (IR1) and International Relations 2: Contemporary World Politics (IR2) are linked half-units that together provide a comprehensive grounding in international relations theory and contemporary world politics. Although linked conceptually, theoretically, and thematically, the half-units can be taken as stand-alone courses.

International Relations 1: Foundations of World Politics is designed to provide a critical introduction to international relations theory and contemporary world politics for students with no prior background in international relations. Students will acquire a solid grounding in international relations theory and how to apply it to understand and analyse key developments in world politics from 1945 to the present, including the Cold War, decolonization, globalization, development, and the War on Terror, amongst others. Adopting a critical geopolitical approach, the module treats these developments both as consequential combinations of events, social processes and relations, and as the conceptual lenses through which policymakers, analysts and scholars make sense of the world. The module locates these frameworks and their associated political, economic and social effects in the context of north-south relations, treating the international system as a dynamic whole and foregrounding both northern and southern perspectives in analysis.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Critical knowledge of international relations theory
  • Knowledge of major trends and themes in world politics in the post 1945 period
  • Knowledge of key international institutions and organisations and their development in the post 1945 period
  • Critical knowledge of global policy frameworks post 1945 such as the Cold War, decolonization, development, globalisation, neoliberalism and the Global War on Terror
  • Ability to apply international relations theory to post 1945 world politics in order to explain and understand key developments and events


The module will be taught over 10 weeks with one 1 hour lecture and one 1 hour tutorial.

Method of assessment

  • Assessment (2500 words); 30%
  • Unseen written examination; 70%

Suggested reading

  • Tarak Barkawi, Globalization and War (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006)
  • Roxanne Doty, Imperial Encounters (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996)
  • Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki and Steve Smith (eds.) International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Sankaran Krishna, Globalization and Postcolonialism: Hegemony and Resistance in the Twenty-First Century (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2009)
  • Stephanie Lawson, International Relations (Cambridge: Polity, 2003) First ed.
  • Vijay Prashad, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (New York: The New Press, 2007)
  • Neil Smith, The Endgame of Globalization (New York: Routledge, 2005)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules