Understanding International Relations


This course is a general survey of the main theories and concepts of the discipline of IR, as well as a brief outline of the history of world politics since Word War One. It proposes an intellectual history of the academic discipline of IR as situated in the evolution of the world political context. The objective pursued is to empower students to think, to give them the tools permitting them to form their own rigorous analyses about how world politics works and why it works the way it works. To put it bluntly, the aim of this course is to emancipate students in the Kantian meaning of sapere aude = dare to know (for yourself), that is, to incite them to go beyond common sense comments and normatively biased or ideologically oriented assessments of world politics typical of politicians’ speeches and media coverage.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

Students taking this course should know the major historical facts and processes in the world since WWI.


  • Battistella (Dario) et al., Théories des relations internationales, Paris : Presses de Sciences Po, 6th edition, 2019.
  • Baylis (John), Smith (Steve) & Owens (Patricia), (eds.), The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, Oxford: Oxford UP, 7th edition, 2016.

Educational formula

The course consists in lectures.

In brief

Year First year

Teaching languageEnglish

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 1.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activityLecture course

ValidationFinal written examination

Mandatory teaching



Forest Amandine [+]

Houdayer Corinne

Educational manager :
Battistella Dario [+]