Module Identifier IPM5630  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Mike Williams  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Seminar   1 x two hour seminar per week over one semester  
Assessment Presentation     10%  
  Essay   3,000 words   30%  
  Essay   750 words   20%  
  Essay   major essay proposal 250 words   10%  
  Exam   3 Hours   30%  


On completion of the module students should be able to identify and explain the core tenets associated with the theory of realism. They should also be able to differentiate the various versions of realism such as between the classical realism of Hans J. Morgenthau and the neorealism of Kenneth Waltz. The connections that exist between classical representatives of realism, such as Thucydideds, Machaivelli, and Rousseau, and contemporary academic realists should be understood. Thus in addition to being able to identify the core themes and principles of realism, students should possess the theoretical sophistication to detect the subtle differences that exist among the seminal thinkers most often identified with the realist tradition. Students should also develop the analytical skills to assess the merits and flaws of the realist view of international politics. On completion of the module, the ability of students to develop, support, and defend an argument will be enhanced. More generally, oral presentation skills in both a formal and informal setting will be developed. Finally, students will develop and improve their writing skills as they complete a scholarly essay on a particular facet of realism.


Realism remains a - perhaps the - dominant way of thinking about international politics. The aim of the module is to assess Realism, to examine different understandings of what it means to be a Realist, and to explore the relationship between Realism and other forms of contemporary international relations theory. The module will examine the notion that rather than there being one singular and coherent version of realism, there actually are a variety of realisms. This examination will be facilitated by close readings of both classical and contemporary representatives of the so-called realist tradition. By engaging in careful reading of many of the classical realist texts, the course aims to develop students' understanding of the realist tradition. The historical context in which the various versions of realism developed will also be examined. Finally, the relationship between the theory of realism and the practice of international politics will be explored.