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Comparative Politics of Regionalism


Credits: 4 ECTS

First semester

Elective Courses




Regionalism is a defining feature of contemporary international relations. Moreover, it is claimed that we live in a world of regions. But why do states cooperate at the regional level? How can we distinguish between old and new regionalism? How and to what extent does regional cooperation contribute to global governance? Given the variety across regional organizations, how can we theorize and compare them? The course explores these questions, and in so doing, it investigates the origins, evolution and effects of regional integration and cooperation.

In all, the course aims to provide a critical comparison of the development of regionalism across the world. Apart from discussing the main theories of regionalism, the course pays special attention to methodological issues pertaining to the study of comparative regionalism. It also focuses on the relations between regional blocs and organizations through the notions of inter- and trans-regionalism, and on a relatively new and heatedly debated topic, that of the proliferation of regional organizations and the increasing overlap of regionalism, all of which will certainly feed our final discussion on the complex relations between dynamics of integration and disintegration and the opportunities and challenges regionalism and regional cooperation face today.


The final grade of the course will be a weighted average of the following criteria:

  • Active class participation = 10%. This requires students to complete the required readings prior to class, to engage in class discussions, contribute their interpretations of the materials being studied and analysed, and to respond to questions posed both by the professor and other students.
  • Written assignments = 10%. This requires students to do short quizzes and tests at home or in class (these may be unannounced) based on the weekly readings.
  • In-class individual presentations = 25% (15% for presentation, 10% for leading the discussion). This requires students to give at least one 20-minute presentation. The presentation will draw on the required readings of the session and students will then lead the discussion based on three questions.
  • Build up to final paper = 15%. Students will submit a paper discussing the topic for their final research paper. This first paper should explain the chosen topic; provide an outline of the final paper and some references in the literature. It should be between 500-1000 words. Students will also present this proposal in class to allow for the incorporation of feedback both from instructor and from peers.
  • Final paper = 40%. The final paper will focus on a topic of your choice from the range of themes discussed in class. This means that there should be a clear connection to concepts, theories and methods discussed in class. Final papers are expected to be about 3000-3500, to include a title page, a chapter structure and scholarly sources.