Course code EDS381

EDS381 Feminist and Critical IR Theory

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Kirsti Stuvøy
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel.
Course frequency: Biannually, even years. The course is offered spring 2022.
First time: Study year 2014-2015
Preferential right:
M-IR students; M-DS students.
Course contents:
This course addresses theoretical perspectives that gained ground in the study of international politics as the cold war came to an end. It seeks to understand the theories in conjunction with change and continuity in international relations during this period. For that purpose, this course engages themes such as gender and security; the making of a global policy agenda on women, peace and security; humanitarian intervention and ethical foreign policy; geopolitical change; urban security and migration. These themes direct attention to a key challenge that feminist and critical IR theories address: where are people in international political practice and in the theorization of international relations? The course develops methodical and analytical techniques aimed at capturing the interconnection of local experiences and contexts with global policy agendas. 
Learning outcome:

In this course students develop a solid understanding in international relations by learning how to understand, critique and question post-cold war international political developments. The focus in this course are on feminist and critical theories of international relations. The selection of readings is conceptual, analytical and empirical, and to be supplemented by students' independent search for sources on global politics. Through this course, we will strive to achieve that students have the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge and competence:

  • Students can give an overview of key international political issues in the post-cold war era and how these are assessed in critical IR theories
  • Students can explain the development of the women, peace and security agenda in international politics and discuss critical assessments of this development
  • Student can explain key aspects in the core IR literature on feminist and critical approaches and apply these perspectives in scholarly discussions with peers as well as in writing assignments
  • Student are trained in communicating in writing and orally, to peers, the complexities of global politics, challenges to sovereignty, security, etc.
  • Students can reflect critically on new thinking and ways of approaching global political change and solutions to global challenges

Writing skills, oral presentations and researching techniques:

  • Students conduct assignments in which they present and discuss feminist and critical IR theory orally and in writing
  • Students attend team work and prepare a presentation and discussion of contemporary global political developments using IR theory
  • Students can use peer-to-peer methods to give feedback on the written assignments and oral presentations of other students and gain experience on how to use this to improve their own work 
  • Students have conducted independent search for literature and other sources and learned how to assess sources and use them in independent analysis
Learning activities:

Organisational Form: The course is organised into three parts that build upon each other. During the first part (three weeks), there is a combination of one weekly lecture (2x45min) and one seminar (2x45min). This provides overview of main concepts, theories and key changes in international politics in the post-cold war era. The fourth week is a project week (part two). The project week is completed with an oral presentation day (week after submission of report to be completed during project week). In the following six weeks, there are two weekly meetings (2x2x45min). Before coming to these meetings students use the course literature to prepare for discussion on assigned topics (provided in course outline at the beginning of the semester). Preparation is key to focused and interesting discussion from which we all will benefit. At the end of this course, a summary lecture with discussion is organised. 

In sum, the learning activities in this course include lectures, seminars, group-work, report-writing, oral presentation, individual essay, self-study and active participation.

Teaching support:
Office hours and procedures are established at the first class meeting. A course outline is handed out at the same time. 
Full overview of readings will be provided in the online learning plattform Canvas.
General knowledge of international relations theory, and/or undergraduate courses in relevant social sciences.
Recommended prerequisites:
This course is designed for master students in international relations and development studies and students involvement lie at the core of this course. This implies responsibilities, but also opportunities for students. You must come prepared to each weekly class. When you do, we all will benefit from focused discussion and can learn from one another.
Mandatory activity:
1. Groupwork with completion of report and oral presentation. Sign-up at the beginning of course.
2. Hand in note on individual literature search  
Individual termpaper of 6000 words. Further details regarding topic are announced during course. 
Nominal workload:
250 hours.
Entrance requirements:
General knowledge of international relations theory, and/or undergraduate courses in relevant social sciences.
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:

Students will spend their time on learning activities such as: 
1 Lectures and seminars - comprising approximately 40 hours class-time during the term. 
2 Group work, report-writing and oral presentation comprise a large proportion of the time students use on learning in this course. Students receive feedback on these learning-activities. 
3 Individual literature search strengthens students preparation for the individual assignment in the course. This is a significant activity for the individual learning and students receive feedback. 
4 Individual preparation for class and final exam paper.


External examiner grades a selection of the individual assignments.
Examination details: Term Paper: Letter grades