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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2021/2022

Introduction to International Relations

Category 'Best Course for Broadening Horizons and Diversity of Knowledge and Skills'
Area of studies: Foreign Regional Studies
When: 1 year, 3, 4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of one campus
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4
Contact hours: 60

Course Syllabus


The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the basic theories, history, and philosophy of international relations. This course combines theoretical knowledge with the analysis of practical experience in international relations. It covers the leading theories of international relations (realism, liberalism, marxism) along with the key historical topics (World War I, World War II, the Cold War) and modern tendencies (the coronacrisis, the contemporary U.S.-China rivalry, sanctions and trade wars). In addition, the students will be exposed to the main ideas of more sophisticated and modern IR theories such as neorealism, neoliberalism, neomarxism, constructivism, and their major concepts and will be able to conduct their own theoretically based research.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The course aims to initiate a systematic and holistic view on the basic theoretical approaches to international relations as a discipline, their historical evolution and influence as well as to form a systemic view on the specificity of key global political and economic processes through the prism of IR theory.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • By reading Thucydides, Morgenthau and other realist scholars students would have a fairly good idea as to how realists understand the world and what lessons they are trying to teach the world
  • Students will be able to develop a comprehensive view on democracy and liberal values from different IR theories perspective.
  • Students will be able to discuss the great power rivalry though the prism of main IR theories.
  • Students will be able to examine the flaws of the traditional explanations for the end of the Cold War
  • Students will be able to examine the main causes of WWI, WWII and the Cold War.
  • Students will be exposed to Marx’s idea of communism and make a judgment as to what would be our best economic system.
  • Students will have a basic understanding of Copenhagen school of IR, namely securitizations theory, as well as security communities theory of Karl Deutsch
  • Students will have a basic understanding of realism, liberalism, marxism, constructivism, and neo theories as major theoretical paradigms of international relations in the US and the West: By studying historical cases such as WWI, WWII, the Cold War, etc., students will develop an interest in history. By combining theory, history, and philosophy, students will develop analytical and debating skills that will enable them to succeed in whatever they do
  • Students will have a basic understanding of such burning issues in IR theory as anarchic politics, ethical questions, and International Politics, three views of the role of morality.
  • Students will have a basic understanding of such burning and «new» issues in IR as sanctions, trade wars, information wars, the impact of coronacrisis on great power management, IR system and global institutions
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • - An Overview of the course
  • - Liberalism
  • - Marxism
  • - Academic writing
  • - Balance of Power and the Origins of World War I
  • - The Origins of World War II.
  • - The post WWII order
  • - Neo-theories
  • - Constructivism
  • - Securitization
  • - Security communities
  • - The rise of China and the decline of the U.S.
  • - Brave New World: the new coronocrisis reality
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Midterm Exam (3 module)
  • non-blocking In-class Participation (3 module)
  • non-blocking Homework (3 module)
    The percentage of originality in the essay should be at least 80%. Please check out what is considered plagiarism here https://www.hse.ru/data/2015/09/08/1088822413/ethics_thesis.pdf
  • non-blocking Attendance (3 module)
  • non-blocking In-class Participation (4 module)
  • non-blocking Homework (4 module)
    The percentage of originality in the essay should be at least 80%. Please check out what is considered plagiarism here https://www.hse.ru/data/2015/09/08/1088822413/ethics_thesis.pdf
  • non-blocking Attendance (4 module)
  • non-blocking Final Exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 3rd module
    0.3 * In-class Participation (3 module) + 0.05 * Attendance (3 module) + 0.4 * Midterm Exam (3 module) + 0.25 * Homework (3 module)
  • 2021/2022 4th module
    0.25 * Final Exam + 0.4 * In-class Participation (4 module) + 0.3 * Homework (4 module) + 0.05 * Attendance (4 module)


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Cristol, J. (2009). Morgenthau vs. Morgenthau? “The Six Principles of Political Realism” in Context. American Foreign Policy Interests, 31(4), 238–244. https://doi.org/10.1080/10803920903136247
  • Hamilton, J. B., & Fukuyama, F. (2018). The End of History and the Last Man. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.FFDEB7F0
  • Hamnett, C. (2018). A world turned upside down: the rise of China and the relative economic decline of the West. Area Development & Policy, 3(2), 223–240. https://doi.org/10.1080/23792949.2018.1439392
  • Lieber, K. A. (2007). The New History of World War I and What It Means for International Relations Theory. International Security, 32(2), 155–191. https://doi.org/10.1162/isec.2007.32.2.155
  • Nye, J. S. . (DE-588)128376856, (DE-627)372622542, (DE-576)162411480, aut. (2009). Understanding international conflicts an introduction to theory and history Joseph S. Nye.
  • Sorin Bocancea. (2009). Plato: Philosophy as Politics. Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology and Practical Philosophy, I(1), 155–180.
  • Sutter, R. (2010). Assessing China’s Rise and US Leadership in Asia—growing maturity and balance. Journal of Contemporary China, 19(65), 591–604. https://doi.org/10.1080/10670561003666186
  • Wendt, A. (1999). Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge University Press.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Beer, F. A., & Hariman, R. (1900). Post-Realism : The Rhetorical Turn in International Relations. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1039381
  • Brooks, S. G., & Wohlforth, W. C. (2007). Clarifying the End of Cold War Debate. Cold War History, 7(3), 447. https://doi.org/10.1080/14682740701474907
  • Cohen, D. (2006). War, Moderation, and Revenge in Thucydides. Journal of Military Ethics, 5(4), 270–289. https://doi.org/10.1080/15027570601081127
  • Datta Gupta, S. (2012). Marxism in Dark Times : Select Essays for the New Century. Anthem Press India.
  • Gartzke, E., & Lupu, Y. (2012). Trading on Preconceptions. International Security, 36(4), 115–150. https://doi.org/10.1162/ISEC_a_00078
  • Jeffrey Haynes. (2019). From Huntington to Trump : Thirty Years of the Clash of Civilizations. Lexington Books.
  • Korab-Karpowicz, W. J. (2006). How International Relations Theorists Can Benefit by Reading Thucydides. Monist, 89(2), 232–244.
  • Kupchan, C. A., & Kupchan, C. A. (1995). The promise of collective security. International Security, 20(1), 52. https://doi.org/10.2307/2539215
  • Laruelle, F., & Smith, A. P. (2016). Introduction to Non-Marxism (Vol. Expanded English language edition). Minneapolis, MN: Univocal Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1213051
  • Milton Friedman, & Anna Jacobson Schwartz. (1971). A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960. Princeton University Press.
  • Monten, J. (2006). Thucydides and Modern Realism. International Studies Quarterly, 50(1), 3–26. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2478.2006.00390.x
  • Painter, D. (2006). A Partial History of the Cold War. Cold War History, 6(4), 527. https://doi.org/10.1080/14682740600979295
  • Perez Zagorin. (2009). Thucydides : An Introduction for the Common Reader. Princeton University Press.
  • Shapiro, I. (2003). The Moral Foundations of Politics. Yale University Press.
  • Topaloğlu, A. (2014). The Politics of Plato and His Objection to Democracy. Annales UMCS, Sectio K (Politologia), 21(1), 73–83. https://doi.org/10.2478/curie-2013-0005
  • Zubok, V. M. (2002). Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War: Perspectives on History and Personality. Cold War History, 2(2), 61. https://doi.org/10.1080/713999954