Post-colonial IR theory POLITIC4170

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces students to the arguments of post-colonial International Relations theory, the effect of post-colonial movements on international politics and prompts them to reflect on the significance of these perspectives and arguments at the global, local and personal levels. The course first outlines the metatheoretical critiques of (traditional and critical) IR theory forwarded by post-colonial theorists. In particular it engages with post-colonial theory's critique of 1) the historical narrative of IR theory, 2) IR's silences (especially on the issues of race and empire) and 3) IR's Eurocentric character. The course then engages with the empirical, analytical and normative arguments made by post-colonial theorists. Finally, it examines the significance of the agency of post-colonial actors in the process of international historical change.


This course may not be running this year. For further information, please check the Politics Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





A 1,500 word summary of weekly reflective log (25%)

A 1,000 word critical analysis of a journal article (25%)

An essay of 2,500 words evaluating the post-colonial critique of an issue from the list (50%)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

First, the course aims at familiarising students with the arguments of post-colonial IR theory. Secondly, through the analysis of the theoretical, empirical and normative arguments of scholars and through the examination of the effects of post-colonial movements across the globe, the course aims at giving students the necessary tools to evaluate the theoretical merits and practical implications of post-colonial perspectives and movements. Finally, the course aims at getting students to reflect on the role of these arguments and perspectives at the personal, local and global levels.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Outline and evaluate the main theoretical and meta-theoretical arguments of post-colonial IR theory;

■ Apply post-colonial analyses to contemporary issues in international politics;

■ Explain and evaluate the contribution of post-colonial perspectives and movements to international politics;

■ Critically discuss the role of post-colonial perspectives at the personal, local and global levels.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.