Foundations of World Politics (941M1)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

This module gives you a critical historical perspective on the modern international system. It engages with the major debates over its origins, expansion and crises from 1500 until today. And it explores key themes that are central to historicising the world we live in through topics such as (but not limited to):

  • the relations of histories and theories of world politics; the dangers of Eurocentrism and alternatives
  • the debate over the Westphalian origins of the modern state system
  • the relationship between New World slavery and capitalism
  • the industrial revolution and its uneven and combined development
  • the ‘Eastern question’ and the problem of orientalism
  • 19th-century European imperialism and its contemporary significance, the origins of fascism and total war, the (ongoing) process of decolonisation and its multiple dimensions
  • the Cold War, the ‘third world’ and the ‘end of history’.


100%: Practical (Workshop)


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.