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Global Politics and International Relations – Part 1: The Creation of Modern Nation States

Global Politics and International Relations – Part 1: The Creation of Modern Nation States

An intensive summer programme perfect for adult students looking to further their knowledge of politics, international relations, governance and other related disciplines.

This one-week programme is residential in a college of the University of Oxford, and can be combined with Part 2 in this series, Analysing the “Democratic Dream”, to form a longer immersion in these fascinating subjects.

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Course Summary

The aim of this course is to extend students’ knowledge and understanding of global politics and international relations and provide a strong grounding in contemporary and up-to-date thinking in critical areas.

It will encourage objective, critical and evidence-based discussion, analysis and evaluation of modern theories and current topics through an exploration of the multidisciplinary nature of the two subject areas, and connections will be made between politics and philosophy, political philosophy, ethics, human rights and international law. Thus, the course will begin with a determination of the scope and content of politics and international relations studies followed by a rigorous evaluation of the role of qualitative and quantitative data studies.

Realist, liberal, institutional and constructivist perspectives will be employed as lenses through which to view the study of the inter-relations of these two subjects with specific reference to theories of contemporary state-building and state formation.

The course will offer an historical and country-specific perspective to answer the question: ‘Do states form nations or vice versa’? Consequently, state-building in early modern Europe and Latin America will be analysed and an investigation as to why some states are defined as failed states will be undertaken against sovereign state criteria. This will lead in to an analysis of the origins and dimensions of the concept of colonialism and decolonisation and the roles played by various countries around the world.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course students will understand:

  • The fundamental skills required to actively engage in the study of Politics and International Relations and to continuously reassess the current political climate around the world.
  • The main challenges facing experts, academics and professionals in the
    international arena of Politics and International Relations
  • The characteristics and implications of warfare between the Congress of Vienna and World War II and its relation to the development of international humanitarian law
  • How humanitarian law and international human rights law provide fundamental legislation and rules for the laws of military engagement between nations
  • Assessed liberalism as a western construction and its influence on ‘non-democratic’ parts of the world

Course Outcomes

Monday Lecture 1: Introduction to the study of Politics and IR
Seminar 1: Inference in comparative politics
Tuesday Lecture 2: Realism v constructivism
Seminar 2: Liberalism v Institutionalism
Wednesday Lecture 3: Does war build states?
Seminar 3: Do states form nations or vice versa
Thursday Lecture 4: Traditional warfare and humanitarian war
Seminar 4: Colonialism
Friday Lecture 5: Decolonisation
Seminar 5: Presentations, course review and action planning


Assessment Methods

1 x Written Assignment (500-750 words)

1 x Group Presentation


Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

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