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International Relations in the Contemporary World
University of Westminster
Liberal Arts and Sciences
Module Leader Dr Larbi Sadiki
Module Code: 1LIB504
This module aims to introduce students to the academic discipline of International Relations. Students will be introduced to IR theory as well as given an opportunity to
explore a number of key international issues and institutions in the contemporary world.
Students will finish the module with a good understanding of the origins and present
realities of these vital areas of concern to the international community. The module also
aims to allow students to practise and develop their abilities in regard to a number of key
By the end of the module, students are expected to be able to:
Demonstrate understanding of the origins and workings of a number of international institutions and organisations;
show awareness of the variety of academic interpretations, theories and analyses in the discipline of international relations;
develop analytical and interpretative skills of international issues, equipping them to communicate findings in written and oral form; and
explain the origins and development of a number of key international relationships, disputes and conflicts.
Teaching and Learning Methods
The module is delivered via lectures and seminars. Lectures last for approximately one
hour, and provide key knowledge and interpretations upon which students will build with
their own reading. Seminars are based on group presentations, encouraging teamwork.
They allow student-led discussion of set questions, thus providing opportunities for
supervised group work, problem- solving, application of concepts and theories and other
forms of student interaction.
Assessment Methods and Weightings
The module is assessed via coursework:
A pre-seen in-class test (last session)
A 1200-word book review
A group presentation (45 minutes).
Students will choose their own book for review. The book must be relevant to the content
and learning outcomes of the module. The review must be submitted by the end of week
two of the module. Please ensure to consult with the course convenor over your choice of
book by the end of week one.
For the group presentation exercise, students will be placed in groups in the first session.
Each group will be allocated a set question (please see indicative syllabus). Students are
required to refer to relevant readings based of independent research. Illustration with
relevant examples is essential. Students must therefore explain the origins and
development of a specific issue or conflict in contemporary international relations. Each
group should prepare a PowerPoint presentation.
The in-class test, which lasts for two hours, will be held on the afternoon of the last
session. Students will answer two questions (the first requires them to define three key
concepts assimilated in the course from a list of ten concepts; the second is to write an
essay-type answer in response to a question from list of eight questions)
Marks are awarded as follows:
Book review 20%
Group Presentation 20%
In-class test 60%
Assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and
understanding of a number of key issues in contemporary international relations. The
book review exercise allows students the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in
reading and assimilating substantial volumes of material, and of evaluating and appraising a text. The group presentation allows students to master a topic, and practise the key skills of group work, use of ICT, and oral communication. The in-class test lets students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding, and their abilities to work unassisted and communicate effectively in writing, in a time-constrained environment.
Baylis J & Smith S (2001) The Globalization of World Politics,
Goldstein JS (2001) International Relations, 4th edition,
New York & London, Longman.
Kegley CW (1999) World Politics: Trend and
Transformation, 7th edition, & Wittkopf ER
New York & Bedford, St. Martin’s.
Dougherty JE & Pfaltzgraff RL (1997) Contending Theories of International
Relations, 4th edition, New York, Harper &
Steans J & Pettiford L (2001) International Relations: Perspectives
and Themes, Longman.
Viotti P & Kaupi M (2001) International Relation and World
Politics, 2nd edition, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall.
Bull H (1997) The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics, London, Macmillan.
Buzan B (1991) Peoples, States and Fear, Hemel Hempstead, Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Calvocoressi P (2001) World Politics: 1945-2000, London & New York, Longman.
Cox R (1996) Approaches to World Order, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Enloe C (1989) Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics,London, Pandora.
Halliday F (2000) The World at 2000, Houndmills, Palgrave.
Huntington S (1996) The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York, Simon & Schuster.
Keohane RO & Nye RJS (2000) Understanding International Conflict, 3rd edition, New York & Harlow, Longman.