Course syllabus

2020 Introduction to International Relations (E) / Contemporary Japanese Diplomacy (E)

[Lecture Course Basic Information]

Lecturer: Akira Okubo
Other Lecturers:
Course Type:


Semester: Spring
Year: 1
Course Periods:

Thursday 14:45-16:15

Credits: 2
Whether mandatory or not:
Classroom: Remote teaching. You are advised not to come to Uni during spring term.


Outline of Lecture Course

  This course will provide a general introduction to the study of International Relations (IR). It will cover the basic schools of thought in the field of IR, namely realism, idealism and constructivism, as well as key concepts such as the balance of power, the agency-structure problem, globalization, identity politics etc. The course will also touch upon various current issues, such as the threat of terrorism, the validity of humanitarian intervention and the rise of “populism”.

  The course will adopt a seminar style of interactive teaching; hence participants are required to complete the weekly required reading, participate in class discussions and give a presentation. Each class will begin by a student presentation on the required reading.

Course Objectives

  Upon completion of the course, participants are expected to have: (1) attained a general understanding of the subject of International Relations; (2) attained familiarity on various theoretical concepts to analyze global issues; (3) become able to provide a coherent presentation and discuss in a critical and academic manner.


  Chris Brown, Understanding International Relations, 5th ed. (London: Red Globe Press, 2019). ISBN: 9781137611703


Either paper book or Kindle etc. is fine. It is recommended that you purchase the textbook online via Amazon (any other online bookstore for that matter) or the University Co-op. For the University Co-op, see the following website:

Course Materials/Supplementaries

  Consult the bibliography of the textbook for further reading.


  Evaluation will be based on the following criteria.

  1. Participation in class discussions: 40%

  2. Quality of presentation: 30%

  3. Quality of end-of-term essay: 30%



Instructions for Out-of-Class Study   Complete the required reading and prepare for your presentation and class discussions.
Responding to Student Questions   By Email; or at my office (please make a prior appointment via Email).

Other Notes

  Participants are advised to purchase the aforementioned textbook in advance, since we will be using the textbook from the first class.

  I will be giving instructions via Canvas, so register using the URL at the bottom of this page. If you have any difficulties using Canvas, contact me using NUCT or through University admin.


Lecture Theme Lecture Course Description Learning outside the class Related page


  Explanation on how the course will be run, followed by assigning presentations.

  Complete the required reading and prepare for class discussion (the same instruction applies to subsequent classes).

Each class will cover one chapter of the textbook.

  Defining International Relations



  The Development of International Relations Theory in the Twentieth Century



  International Relations Theory Today



  Agency, Structure and the State



  Power and Security



  The Balance of Power and War



  Global Governance



  The Global Economy








  The International Politics of Identity




  The Individual and International Relations




  International (Dis)Order Today




  Discussion based on end-of-term essay




  Discussion based on end-of-term essay


 ※Students who wish to enroll as a member should access the URL below.
Log in using the Nagoya University ID and password, and click on "Enroll in Course".

Course summary:

Date Details