Topic outline

  • Course Description

    The seminar (CONT), a corrolary to the Theories of International Relations lecture course (JPM945), will introduce students in depth to several streams of theorising in the field of International Relations inspired by continental theory. The readings around which class discussions will be organised combine original articulations of concepts and theories by Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Bruno Latour, or Judith Butler and examples of their use in interrogating the ‘international’.

    All sessions are foreseen to take place in Pekařská and streamed through Teams. (If attending online, connect to the session here.) Please follow the university's current pandemic regulation for any changes.

    The deadline for exam paper submissions (for more information, see below) is January 16, 2023.

  • 1. Introduction: (Post-)Whats (October 13, 2022)

    • (A) George, Jim and David Campbell. 1990. Patterns of Dissent and the Celebration of Difference: Critical Social Theory and International Relations. International Studies Quaterly 34(3).

      (B) Latour, Bruno. 1991. We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard: Harvard University Press (pp. 1-48).

  • 2. Genealogy (November 10, 2022)

    • (X) Neumann, Iver. 2016. Deep Hanging Out with Michel Foucault. Richard Ned Lebow, Peer Schouten and Hidemi Suganami, eds. The Return of the Theorists. London: Palgrave (pp. 329-336).

      (A) Foucault, Michel. 1977. Nietzsche, Genealogy, History. Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

            (Ax1) Folkers, Andreas. 2015. Daring the Truth: Foucault, Parrhesia and the Genealogy of Critique. Theory, Culture and Society 33(1).

      (B) Bartelson, Jens. 2015. Towards a Genealogy of ‘Society’ in International Relations. Review of International Studies 41(4).

            (Bx1) Bartelson, Jens. 2010. The Social Construction of Globality. International Political Sociology 4(3).

            (Bx2) Barkawi, Tarak and Mark Laffey. 2002. Retrieving the Imperial: Empire and International Relations. Millenium 31(1).

    • Receive a grade

      A brief test on the assigned reading. Please complete the test by 10 p.m. on Nov. 9, 2022. (The test will be available for completion from 12 a.m.)

  • 3. Governmentality (November 24, 2022)

    • (X) Lemke, Thomas. 2002. Foucault, Governmentality, and Critique. Rethinking Marxism 14(3).

      (A) Foucault, Michel. 1991. Governmentality. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon and

      Peter Miller, eds. The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (pp. 87-104).

            (Ax1) Foucault, Michel. 2008. The Birth of Biopolitics. London: Palgrave (pp. 27-50).

            (Ax2) Foucault, Michel. 2009. Security, Territory, Population. London: Palgrave (pp. 115-134).

            (Ax3) Selby, Jan. 2007. Engaging Foucault: Discourse, Liberal Governance and the Limits of Foucauldian IR. International Relations 21(3).

      (B) Elden, Stuart. 2007. Governmentality, Calculation, Territory. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25(3).

            (Bx1) Offenhuber, Dietmar. 2018. Maps of Daesh: The Cartographic Warfare Surrounding Insurgent Statehood. Geohumanities 4(1).

            (Bx2) Ryan, Barry. 2019. The Disciplined Sea: A History of Maritime Security and Zonation. International Affairs 95(5).

    • Receive a grade

      A brief test on the assigned reading. Please complete the test by 10 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2022. (The test will be available for completion from 12 a.m.)

  • 4. Exception (January 12, 2023)

    • (X) Prozorov, Sergei. 2014. Agamben and Politics: A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (pp. 93-125).

      (A) Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. State of Exception. Chicago: Chicago University Press (pp. 1-40).

           (Ax1) Huysmans, Jef. 2008. The Jargon of Exception: On Schmitt, Agamben and the Absence of Political Society. International Political Sociology 2(2).

      (B) Butler, Judith. 2004. Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso (pp. 50-100).

           (Bx1) Minca, Claudio. 2015. Geographies of the Camp. Political Geography 49(1): 74-83.

           (Bx2) Odysseos, Louiza. 2007. Crossing the Line? Carl Schmitt on the ‘Spaceless Universalism’ of Cosmopolitanism and the War on Terror. Louiza Odysseos and Fabio Petito, eds. The International Political Thought of Carl Schmitt. London: Palgrave (pp. 124-143).

    • Receive a grade

      A brief test on the assigned reading. Please complete the test by 10 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2023. (The test will be available for completion from 12 a.m.)

  • 5. New Materialism (December 22, 2022)

    • (X) Fox, Nick and Pam Alldred. 2008. New Materialism. P. A. Atkinson et al., eds. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Research Methods. London: Sage.

      (A) Latour, Bruno. 1999. On Recalling ANT. The Sociological Review 47(1).

            (Ax1) Callon, Michel. 1986. Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay. John Law, ed. Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge. London: Routledge (pp. 196-223).

            (Ax2) Law, John. 1999. After ANT: Complexity, Naming and Topology. The Sociological Review 47(1).

            (Ax3) Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the Social. Oxford: Oxford University Press (pp. 1-17).

            (Ax4) Connolly, William. 2013. The ‘New Materialism’ and the Fragility of Things. Millenium 41(3).

      (B) Schouten, Peer. 2014. Security as Controversy: Reassembling Security at Amsterdam Airport. Security Dialogue 45(1).

           (Bx1) Salter, Mark. 2008. The Global Airport: Managing Space, Speed, and Security. Mark Salter, ed. Politics at the Airport. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (pp. 1-28).

            (Bx2) Peter Adey. 2004. Secured and Sorted Mobilities: Examples from the Airport. Surveillance and Society 1(4).

    • View Receive a grade

      A brief test on the assigned reading. Please complete the test by 10 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2022. (The test will be available for completion from 12 a.m.)

  • 6. Gender, Knowledge and International Relations (January 5, 2023)

    • (X) Radford, Marie and Gary Radford. 1997. Power, Knowledge, and Fear: Feminism, Foucault, and the Stereotype of the Female Librarian. The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy 67(3).

      (A) Butler, Judith. 1999. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London: Routledge (1-21).

      (Ax1) Okeke, Philomina E. 1996. Postmodern Feminism and Knowledge Production: The African Context. Africa Today 43(3).

      (Ax2) Grisard, Dominique. 2014. History of Knowledge, Terrorism and Gender. Historical Social Research 39(3).

      (Ax3) Weber, Cynthia. 1998. Performative States. Millennium 27(1).

    • View Receive a grade

      A brief test on the assigned reading. Please complete the test by 10 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2023. (The test will be available for completion from 12 a.m.)

  • Requirements and Assessment

    The final grade shall be a composite of preparatory activity (10%), class participation (10%), presentation (30%) and final exam (50%). Preparatory activity shall consist in the successful completion of brief tests on reading assigned to the entire class (A and/or B). These tests must be completed by the due date indicated in the Moodle. Presentation (10 minutes) shall consist of a critical overview of one other piece of reading (Ax or Bx) and linking it to the argument of the reading to which it is linked in the syllabus. The assignment of presentations to be prepared by students shall be done during the introductory session. (No presentations are scheduled for this session.) Handouts (1 page) are to be prepared and sent to by the presenting student by email at least one day in advance. The final exam will take the form of a submitted research paper (2,000 words, excluding references). Students are expected to use relevant secondary literature to support their argument and follow all standards of academic writing when preparing their paper. They may choose one of the following topics and submit the paper by January 16, 2023:

    1) How can the West‘s intervention in Afghanistan (2001-2021) be conceived as an ‘assemblage’ and explored from the perspective of new materialism?

    2) Explore the global responses to COVID-19 from the perspective of Foucalt’s biopolitics.

    3) Analyse the narratives surrounding Russia-Ukraine War (2022-) from feminist perspectives. 


    In line with Opatření děkanky 17/2018, the following grading scale is used:

    91% and more                        A

    81-90%                                   B

    71-80%                                   C

    61-70%                                   D

    51-60%                                   E

    0-50%                                     F

    Attendance is mandatory, but allowance is made for absence of no more than two sessions, one of which must be the introductory session. Students who miss the introductory session are requested to contact the lecturer without delay at to arrange the distribution of class assignments. Students are furthermore requested to report their absence in the other sessions in advance.