M.A. (International Relations)
The two-year Masters Programme at the Department of International Relations is designed to encourage students to develop their critical faculties, both within and outside the field of international relations. The composition of its student community, drawn from across the South Asian region gives the programme a unique edge. Through an array of courses ranging from mainstream disciplinary orientations in IR and political science to the contemporary debates in social sciences, students are encouraged to engage with the wider world of politics that inform our intellectual and creative pursuits. The faculty provides an academic direction towards this aim through its teaching and supervision within the programme. The Masters programme at DIR is unique for its emphasis on developing the research orientation of students. The dissertation forms an integral component of the programme and provides them with an early opportunity and intellectual challenge to undertake an intensive exploration of a subject of their choice. This experience will be part of an ongoing conversation between disciplines, between theory and policy and between students and faculty. We welcome you to join us and be part of this exciting exchange of ideas.
Year – I: Semester – I
This course familiarises students with some of the major debates within the discipline. It introduces them to key interdisciplinary conversations between IR and other disciplines such as history, philosophy and sociology. Although the course content is largely theoretical, it refers to historical and contemporary developments as illustrative examples.
History of International Relations is an ever growing, stimulating and dynamic field of study. This course seeks to introduce students to not only contemporary international history but also to the significance of theoretical perspectives – from within IR – in making sense of the same in the study of world politics. The attempt is to encourage a dialogical process of enquiry and creativity in thinking about complex problems.
The intent of this course is to introduce students to various facets pertaining to this rich and burgeoning subfield of Political Science. A fundamental concern that informs this effort relates to how we can skill students of International Relations to think and argue comparatively. Commencing with an exposure to contending logics and methodological orientations within the field, the course introduces some key classics and exemplars within the field of Comparative Politics.
The basic objective of this course is to engage with fundamentals of political theory and International Relations. Concepts, debates and theoretical inquiries relevant for the study of international relations are emphasized upon. The course underlines an applied analytical approach and address challenges posed by issues in contemporary international relations.
Year – I: Semester – II
The course aims at introducing students to the dynamic field of security studies. It seeks to combine a comprehensive overview of the major theoretical debates in the field with an in depth understanding of the key issue areas that impinge upon the notion of security. The course provides a critical evaluation of the contemporary security studies discourse and examines the manner in which the field has responded to transformations in world politics.
The primary objective of this course is to explore and understand links between international relations and international political economy by keeping the phenomenon of globalisation in sight. The interrelationship between politics and economics is complex: there can be economic basis of political choice and sometimes there is primacy of ‘political’ to transform the economy. In view of this, the course will untangle the intricate interconnections between politics and economics to grasp the nature of contemporary international political economy.
Theory and Praxis in South Asia: The growing complexity of contemporary armed conflict in South Asia compels to push the confines of the discipline of International Relations beyond conventional/or ‘given’ analytical template both in theory and praxis. Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding is an expanding, innovative discipline which is opening new frontiers of learning. This course would provide dialogic space to review theories and practices from the field of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from the standpoint of Global South. The attempt is to facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas and strengthen Peacebuilding practice in South Asia.
The course considers a number of conceptual and policy questions and explores how South Asian as a region has been transforming with the globalization of its economy, the resurgent ethnic conflicts situated in a nuclearised security environment and the ever deepening connections with global and local extremism and terrorism. The students are introduced to facors and actors which have made South Asia ‘international’. International Relations theories are critically interrogated in terms of their applicability to the nuances present in the region.
Year – II: Semester – III
The investigation of phenomenon related to international affairs requires both normative and empirical approaches. The course covers issues relating to philosophical traditions, framing of research question, definition of research objectives, engaging with theories and concepts, qualitative and quantitative research design, literature survey, data collection, data analysis and report writing.
This course examines the nature and scope of international organisations (IOs), specifically against the backdrop of the contemporary era of global governance. It provides both the historical context as well as an introduction to the relevant theoretical approaches in IR for a nuanced understanding of IOs; assesses the work of IOs in contemporary world politics; and examines the oft-times fraught relationships of developing countries with institutions of global governance. While seeking to eschew simplistic North-South dichotomies, the course nevertheless highlights the matrices of power, which organize the international.
The objective of the course is to acquaint students with the complex ways in which the cultural and political realms interact. It undertakes a critical enquiry into the academic and political endeavors that offer cultural interpretations of world politics in both historical and contemporary contexts. The course is intended to equip students with the analytical skills to problematise the immediate contexts in which some of the major issues of international politics are embedded.
Regional integration is a dynamic process involving a number of nation states and several interconnected issues, ranging from politics to socio-economic compositions, thus attracting the attention of academia, particularly of those interested in international relations. The objective for the course is primarily to make students well versed in concepts and theories of regional integration. Several case studies are also included in the course for comprehensive understanding of the subject. Among the case studies, South Asia will be the main focus.
The course is an introduction to understanding international negotiations and diplomacy. Theories of international negotiations backed by practical examples from South Asia and beyond are taught to underline linkages between theory and the practice of diplomacy. Given that there are various factors influencing the behavior of state actors, it is important that inter-disciplinarity is encouraged. Thus, the course intends to study a variety of actors and engage with issues which range from ‘high’ politics to that of ‘low’ politics. Issue areas like environment, business, arms control, territorial and social conflict, for instance, would be identified to study various approaches, actors, styles and types of negotiation in an applied context.
Past and Present: This course is situated within the broad framework of grand strategy. Students are introduced to both Western and Asian thinkers and the classics range from 5th century B.C to as recent as the 20th century. The overarching purpose of the course is to assess how some key concepts in international relations such as war, justice, power, leadership and statecraft have been understood and envisaged by some leading brains at various points of time. The twenty-first century is plagued with various traditional and non-traditional security challenges. While some of the challenges are specific to contemporary times and quite distinct from those posed in the past, the nature of threats posed to the state (internal and external) indeed remain the same. Students focus on four classics in the course of eight weeks to contextualize the strategic thought within the broad frame of strategic themes of past and present.
Year – II: Semester – IV
This course brings together three seemingly isolated events under the lens of IR: the Bhopal gas tragedy (1984), the Rwandan genocide (1994) and Hurricane Katrina (2005). Following the reflectivist turn in IR, it examines the broader (global) political context and implications of the three case studies, and the knowledge frames that have shaped our understanding of these crises. The course offers students the opportunity to acquire an informed understanding of these three events – spread across three decades and three continents – that led to a devastating loss of human lives.
The course is premised on the understanding that IR as a discipline stands to gain from a conversation with recent advancements in the fields of neurosciences, evolutionary biology, behavioural economics (and its offshoot - neuroeconomics), political and social psychology. A fundamental question this course seeks to address is what implications recent developments in understanding the human mind carry for deciphering politics. Themes covered in the course include human decision making, identity formation, political learning, the limits of human rationality, organizational psychology, collective violence and non-anthropocentric instances of cooperation.
International Relations as a discipline was established in the context of the devastations caused by World War One. The basic and initial objective of this discipline was to study wars to find out why they recurred notwithstanding notable changes in the social, political, economic, and the moral realms. This course introduces students to wars as a phenomenon in the international system. Not only will this course examine the various reasons why wars break out in the international system but it will also engage with insights and theories drawn from other disciplines. The course aims to examine the relationship between wars on the one hand and societies, state formation, and ethics.
This interdisciplinary course is designed to situate India in World Affairs during the Cold War and the Post-Cold War phases. While locating India within the broader world, it will simultaneously relate India to a wide range of complex issues and events concerning India’s foreign policy. In essence by handling several specific and yet significant events as well as realities concerning India’s foreign policy since India’s independence empirically, the course will initiate a dialogue with the existing schools of thought in international theory.
In recent times, the study of the religious and political thought in Islam has been one of the most contested subjects in the social sciences. In the broader field of international relations, this discourse has gained currency mainly in the post-cold war epoch and the events of 9/11 and its aftermath, proved to be a catalyst to this effect. Such widespread interest toward the subject, explicitly visible in diverse spectrum of the society has been engendered by the radicalization of Islam and the growing unhealthy interface that has developed between Islam and violence, as a result of the globalization of Jihad. The course also seeks to explore the moderate and multidimensional traditions in Islam.
All courses are for four credits each. The Dissertation to be done in the fourth semester is for eight credits.