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POLS104 International Relations - Introduction

Key elements of modern international relations. Origins and dynamics of the Cold War system, regional developments, the emerging post-Cold War world, perennial international issues and contending analytical perspectives.

The aim of this paper is to introduce students to the field of post-war international relations. Strictly defined, the subject of international relations is concerned with the study of relations among the world's national governments and non-state actors. But such relations cannot be understood in isolation from the context of the international system where they are formed.

The focus, therefore, will be on the rise and decline of the bi-polar system, the emergence of the new post-Cold War order and the persistence of certain international issues throughout the period in question. It is hoped not only to equip students with an enhanced awareness of what has happened in the international arena, but also promote an understanding of how and why these events have occurred.

Paper title International Relations - Introduction
Paper code POLS104
Subject Politics
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Schedule C
Arts and Music
The study of Politics at 100-level does not require any specific previous study. An interest in national and international affairs is an advantage.
Teaching staff
Professor Robert Patman
Paper Structure
The paper is divided into five parts dealing with the international stage, the Cold War system, regional conflicts, enduring Issues, and the evolving post-Cold War era.
Teaching Arrangements
The paper is taught through formal lectures and interactive tutorials.

There is no single textbook that covers the entire paper. However, a number of texts collectively provide much of the essential general reading. Recommended books included Joshua Goldstein and Jon C. Peverhouse "International Relations", and Andrew Heywood "Global Politics".

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students will gain:
  • The ability to critically assess arguments put forward by international relations scholars
  • The capability to relate arguments to evidence in an international context
  • The capacity to analytically compare opposing arguments on international questions and develop reasoned, independent perspectives
  • Obtain intellectual grasp of the major contours of international relations since 1945

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 9-14, 16-22
Tuesday 11:00-11:50 9-14, 16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 10-14, 19, 21-22
A2 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 10-14, 19, 21-22
A3 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 10-14, 19, 21-22
A4 Thursday 09:00-09:50 10-14, 19, 21-22
A5 Thursday 12:00-12:50 10-14, 19, 21-22
A6 Thursday 16:00-16:50 10-14, 19, 21-22
A7 Friday 10:00-10:50 10-13, 19, 21-22
A8 Friday 11:00-11:50 10-13, 19, 21-22
A9 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 10-14, 19, 21-22
A10 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 10-14, 19, 21-22