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Comparative Regionalism


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




Regionalism is a defining feature of contemporary international relations. It is claimed that we live in a world of regions. But why do states cooperate? How can we distinguish between old and new regionalism? How are external actors involved in regional issues? How and to what extent does regional cooperation contribute to global governance? Given the variety across regional organizations, how can we theorize and compare? This course explores these questions, and in so doing, it looks into the origins, evolution and effects of regional integration and cooperation. It thus, offers theory and case-studies in comparative regionalism in different parts of the world.

The course is split into two parts (each has 6 weeks). The first part of the course (first 6 weeks) discusses: (1) theory of regionalism; (2) origins and impact of regional integration; (3) open regionalism (the EU) and theories; (4) Eurasian regionalism (the CIS, EEU, SCO). The first 6 classes (6 weeks) discuss the topics above within the context of specific case-studies in Europe and Eurasia. This first half of the course examines comparatively such regional organizations as for example, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The first six weeks will focus on origins as well as on the impact of these regional integration projects. To this end, the course analyzes the tools employed by regional organization for democracy promotion (e.g., well-studied stick-and-carrot mechanism of democracy promotion) and less known mechanisms of autocracy diffusion (e.g., such mechanisms such as rhetoric endorsement, electoral monitoring, the redistribution of resources and even military interventions to suppress revolution).

The second part of the course discusses how and to what extent regional organizations and regionalism can be compared. This will set the basis for critically analyzing and comparing the development of regionalism in Latin America and Africa, while also investigating the relations between regional blocs and organizations through the notions of inter- and trans-regionalism. The final sessions will focus 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 grade for the 1st part (weeks 1-6) of the course composes 50% of final grade. It is calculated based on regular participation in discussions, team-working, individual presentations (can be substituted by group presentations in case course host high number of students), and midterm exam.

  • Participation in discussions (30% of 1st part grade; 15% of final grade)
  • Individual Presentations (34% of 1st part grade; 17% of final grade). Instructions on presentation, format and length will depend on the final number of participants). Presentation will be based on one or a few readings suggested by the professor or chosen by a student and approved by the professor.
  • Mid-term exam (10 questions) (36% of 1st part grade; 18% of final grade)

The grade for the 2nd part of the course (weeks 7-12) composes another 50% of final grade. This will be a weighted average of the following criteria:

  • Active class participation = 15%. 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. (If you encounter difficulties participating in class, please discuss these with the professor).
  • In-class presentation = 40% (25% for presentation, 15% for leading the discussion). This requires students to give a 20-30-minute presentation (individually or in groups of two or three, depending on number of student enrolled). The presentation will draw on the required readings of the session and students will then lead the discussion based on three questions.
  • Take-home exam = 45%. The take-home exam will be completed in a 48-hour period during exams week.