International Relations from Below

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    International Relations from Below

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    International Relations, International Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    After successful completion of this course, you are able to:
    (1) recognize and understand key historical and anthropological theories and analytical concepts in the study of migration, diaspora and transnational relations and apply these concepts and theories to ethnographic and historical case studies.
    (2) understand and analyze social relations and political organization in spaces of ambiguous sovereignty in (early) modern and contemporary history.
    (3) identify anthropological and historical methodological tools in the study of human mobility and spaces of ambiguous sovereignty in (early) modern and contemporary history, apply them to relevant primary sources and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these tools for the study of human mobility and state sovereignty.
    (4) evaluate the purpose of anthropological theory for historians and humanities scholars in general, and of historiography for anthropologists and other social scientists working in the fields of migration and international relations.

    International relations are usually studied from a top-down perspective. This advanced course develops a bottom-up historical perspective on both the agents of international interactions (migrants and diaspora) and the places where migration and diaspora have rendered state sovereignties ambiguous and complex. Each week, we address one way in which we can study international relations, migration, diaspora and spaces of ambiguous sovereignty from a historical and anthropological perspective. We look at old and new methods, theories and source materials in this field, ranging from archival sources to novels and ethnography. The course covers (early) modern and contemporary history and is arranged around the following themes: travels, people, objects, places, ideas, voices and sounds.

    Seminars, excursion, individual research and writing.

    Essays (40%), position pitch (20%), position paper (40%)

    At least one year of history, cultural studies or relevant social sciences with at least one methodological course completed in archival study and/or oral history (for history students) and/or ethnography (for anthropology students) and/or qualitative research methods (for cultural studies and social sciences students)

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.