The purpose of this module is to make students aware of the diversity of approaches to international theory. Within International Relations (ir) theory there exist highly divergent interpretations and applications of key concepts (e.g. power, the state, agency, structure, and world order) as well as contested views about the practical purpose underpinning theories of world politics. As a result, it will be possible to recognise not only how international theory informs policy-making and practice but also, perhaps, how truly contested the underlying assumptions of world politics are.
In order to make often complex theories in International Relations more accessible to students, Adam David Morton and I try to engage students through different teaching methods. In 2011/12, this included the launch of a poetry competition. After all, Roland Bleiker has himself emphasised the role of the poetic image in challenging dominant modes of thinking and practice within International Relations.
The first winner in 2011/2012 was Zubeda Mir.
In 2012/13 we had three winners: Alex Chalkley, Jamie Jordan and Elio Calcagno.
BISA teaching award:
Both Adam David Morton and myself were jointly awarded the 2012/13 British International Studies Association (BISA)-Higher Education Academy (HEA) Award for Excellence in Teaching International Studies linked to our co-taught MA module Theories & Concepts in International Relations.
In making the award, the BISA Teaching and Learning Committee wrote:
‘For their range of interventions and innovative teaching practices on their MA module on IR theory and concepts, Professor Bieler and Dr Morton are worthy recipients of the award for teaching excellence. They have clearly demonstrated the ability and means to teach a difficult subject well and their suite of innovations, including the use of film, music, mini-roundtables, poetry competitions and online resources and tools, provides ample and multifaceted opportunities for their students to engage with the subject and to deepen their learning and appreciation. They are commended in particular for their use of everyday objects as a way into complex theories and their development of a subject-specific pedagogical approach, as well as their work to disseminate their teaching practice through blogs and publication.’