An Introduction to the Department

The Department of International Relations and Governance Studies combines a strong interest in bringing world historical developments in conversation with international relations theorizing. While conscious of developments in the Anglo-American mainstream, the Department is inclined to pursue genuinely wide-ranging empirical and theoretically anchored accounts of international politics across diverse issue areas – development, security and the environment. Twenty first century Asia qualifies as a special theatre of attention in this regard from our vantage point.

We seek to reflect on old and new empirics and theory building efforts both from the past and present in International Relations (IR). The Department has an interest in applying and testing historical and theoretical insights generated within the discipline as well as drawing on heuristics from the humanities and allied social and behavioural sciences to help us think more imaginatively about a range of global collective action problems. These encompass a wide variety of international concerns ranging from (though by no means restricted to) climate change questions, intellectual property regimes, cyber security governance, inequality and social policy and global refugee politics. It also entails an active interest in international institutional design and global governance aspects (for e.g., the reform of the UNSC), an assessment of the role of non-state actors, discourses around rising powers, systemic power transition scenarios and comprehensive traditional and non-traditional security dilemmas.

A dimension germane to the research and teaching sensibilities of the Department is a thoroughgoing normative engagement with questions relating to epistemic and economic imbalances between the global North and the South, facets relating to war and peace, accounts of global cooperation, utopias and dystopias in world politics and the evolving content of global justice. As the vast menu of issues suggest, research and teaching in IR has never been more enticing and challenging simultaneously. The Department's faculty is keen and well equipped to step up to the plate. Starting in 2018, the Department will offer a B.A. (Research) in International Relations. Eventually, it will also offer full-fledged Masters and Doctoral Programmes in International Relations.