Department of International Relations

PhD International Relations


Compulsory Courses :


Advanced Theory of International Relations+

Course objectives: The intent of this course is to invite research scholars (M.Phil/PhD during the Monsoon Semester) to reflect on the state of the art theorizing of International Relations (IR) drawing on a range of contemporary concerns. These encompass Anglo-American ethnocentrism in IR, decoding race, class and gender in IR, the play of emotions and collective memories and the significance of specific contexts and issue areas in determining the lenses through which we view world politics.While critically interrogating mainstream IR theories, it seeks consciously to acknowledge the politics and sociology of IR knowledge production in or-der to foster more critical and anchored theoretical inquiry.(Read More)

Advanced Research Methods+

Course Objectives: The primary objective of this course is to present multiple methodological pathways to MPhil/PhD scholars embarking on their respective research project. Contemporary social science offers a wide array of choices in terms of structuring the study of world politics. These encompass both qualitative and quantitative modes of inquiry that help frame sustainable research designs, and bring to bear relevant evidence to substantiate one’s claims. Using published research as illustrative aids, students would have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with these multiple modes of inquiry.(Read More)


Optional Courses :



Feminist International Relations+

Course Objectives:Using gender as the central category of analysis, feminist International Relations (IR) scholars have argued that masculine values associated with men (such as autonomy and rationality) define the scope and limits of political practice and discourse in international relations. This, it is argued, makes women, feminine values and indeed non-hegemonic masculine values invisible in the field of IR. Taking this problem of marginalization as their starting point, feminist scholars have made substantive interventions in theory-building as well as empirical analysis in the field of IR. Most strands of feminist IR have an explicit normative agenda wherein knowledge production is directed towards making the discipline gender inclusive, and transforming international practices and processes that are oppressive.(Read More)

The International Politics of Culture+

Course Objectives:The course permits a close inspection of world politics by revealing its many entanglements with culture. In doing so, it problematises the easy categorisations of internal and external domains that organise to a significant degree, contemporary analyses in IR. The course is an interdisciplinary one, drawing as it does upon debates located in disciplines such as sociology and history. Admittedly, many of the issues addressed in the course have developed into distinct nodes of enquiry within IR; indeed, it stands to benefit from insights thus developed. Nonetheless, it offers an exploration into key practices that have influenced the way states and societies organise themselves, especially in ways that imbue notions like power and territoriality with meaning. It approaches the structure-agent debate from multiple vantage points- popular mobilisation, media interventions and cultural flows, among others- to examine culture as providing both, the cause and context to world politics. The course aims at familiarising students with some of these major processes that not only impact the theory and practice of international politics, but also serve as useful signposts for further interdisciplinary enquiries.(Read More)

Peace and Conflict Studies+

Course objectives: Given the growing complexity of contemporary armed conflict in South Asia there is need to push the confines of the discipline of International Relations beyond conventional/or ‘given’ analytical template both in theory and practice. This course will provide a dialogic space to review theories, models and skills for theorizing causes of conflict and developing peace initiatives that can respond to deep-rooted contemporary conflicts particularly in South Asia. The attempt will be to build a healthy synergy between research, theory and perspectives ‘from the field’. The multi and interdisciplinary nature of the field of peace and conflict studies compels for a need to draw from the fields of sociology, psychology and other social sciences. The attempt is to facilitate firstly, an understanding of social theories that may prove useful in conflict analysis, secondly evaluate the usefulness of these social theories from the standpoint of practice, thirdly to assist students to develop critical acumen to construct useful theories for conflict analysis and transformation The pedagogy for the course would be elicitive, participatory and would draw on multiple formats for the teaching -learning process.(Read More)

Great Powers in the International System+

Course Objectives:The category of the ‘great power’ emerged in the lexicon of international politics al-most two centuries ago. Since then, a considerable amount of ink and intellectual en-ergy has been expended in better understanding this category of states. However, a perusal of contemporary scholarship of this much-invoked concept reveals that a great deal of confusion and uncertainty exists. For instance, who exactly is a great power? Can the great powers be identified ‘objectively’ on the basis of certain indicators or can they only be determined historically? How exactly does a state attain the status of a great power? Are capabilities sufficient for the attainment of great power status or is recognition also required? If recognition does play an important role in this regard, then who accords recognition to the state in question? Is it the existing great powers or the international community? This course seeks to expose students to the literature on the great powers to help them reflect on, and develop their opinions, as regards great powers in international politics. Not only will such an exercise help them better understand this concept but it will also enable them to make better sense of interna-tional politics - both of the past and the present.(Read More)

International Politics of Non-State Actors:+

Course Objectives:This course is designed for the M.Phil programme being offered by Department of International Relations, South Asian University. The primary objective is to facilitate critical enquiry on the significance and relevance of studying non-state actors in world politics. Approaching the subject through a theoretical prism, and engaging with key debates on the subject, the emphasis is on underlining the ‘social dimensions’ of international relations, whereby the role of norms, ideas, individuals, networks and collectives are studied. While cases ranging from human rights, women movement, conflict induced grievances, disarmament, environment, internal displacement, amongst others, would be studied,the syllabus in due course would also address questions related to ethics, morality, justice, interests and rational choice in international politics.(Read More)

Global Security Governance+

Course Objectives: This course is designed to explore the scope of global institutions and networks in responding to contemporary security concerns in world politics. Broadly, it focuses on three aspects of global security governance. First, the course reviews key concepts underlying the subject such as security, governance, globalization, sovereignty, authority, legitimacy, agency and power. It also puts the notion of ‘global security governance’ in context of historical milestones of the 20th and 21st century. The second aspect relates to the key actors, intergovernmental and non-governmental, engaged in global security practices including the United Nations (with particular emphasis on the Security Council). As an advanced course, it does not provide introductions to various sets of actors but examines these together, for instance, as ‘strategic complexes’ (Duffield 2001). Finally, the course critically reviews the ways in which global actors and networks collectively respond to both traditional (e.g. nuclear proliferation) and non-traditional (e.g. health) security issues.(Read More)

Rethinking the Political Economy of Regionalism+

Regionalism is regarded as one of the most important phenomenon influencing contemporary international relations. This can be inferred by the fact that practically all the countries of the world are members of at least one regional organisation/trading bloc. With this, there have been qualitative changes in the regional integration arrangements and therefore, this process requires serious academic attention. The basic objective of this course is to academically engage with the concepts and theories that explain the process of regional integration; as to understand its impact on international relations. Different aspects of regionalism, including political, economic and social dimensions, the debate on globalisation and regionalism, and the relationship between borders, border-regions and regional-integration; will also be discussed in this course. For a better and comprehensive understanding, this course includes case studies of Europe and South-East Asia. In the course, we will also discuss challenges and prospects of South Asian integration. (Read More)

Maritime South Asia and the Indian Ocean+

Course Objectives: Adequate understanding of multifaceted challenges facing Maritime South Asia–one of the most diverse and complex sub-regions of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)-- is at times compromised by excessive focus on Continental South Asia. It needs to be appreciated that ‘South Asia’ comprises three littoral states namely India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, two island states of Sri Lanka and Maldives and three ‘landlocked’ states of Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan with transit rights under the Law of the Sea. (Read More)

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