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Department of International Relations

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International Relations Department
London School of Economics &
Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom


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NB: the Department is physically located in Clement House, 97-99 The Aldwych, London WC2.


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Welcome to the International Relations (IR) Department.  As a Department we are now in our 89th year, making us one of the oldest as well as largest in the world.  We are ranked 3rd in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2017 tables for Politics and International Studies.  Read more about the department

The International Relations Department is pleased to present our popular video: 

International Relations: An Introduction

Download link (right-click, save as)
Watch on YouTube

Featuring academics from the International Relations Department at the LSE, ‘International Relations: an introduction’ is a 10-minute film about the study of international relations, particularly at the LSE. The film looks at what we study, and why, and also at major themes and how to approach them, and debates Star Trek and whether there will ever be world peace.

Contributors: Professor William A Callahan, Dr Toby Dodge, Dr Jens Meierhenrich, Professor Iver Neumann, Professor Karen Smith, Dr Stephen Woolcock


Aspects of International Relations: International Political Economy
Featuring academics from the International Relations Department at the LSE, ‘Aspects of IR: International Political Economy’ is a 7-minute film about the study of international political economy, particularly at the LSE.
The film looks at what we study, and why, and also at the major themes in IPE, such as the financial crisis, climate change and globalisation of markets.  It debates how IPE fits into IR, and the rewards and value of studying IPE.
Contributors: Dr Julia Gray, Dr James Morrison, Dr Stephen Woolcock


LSE Politics and International Relations continues to be ranked third in 2017 world university rankings by subject

LSE Politics and International Relations has been ranked third in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2017 tables for Politics and International Studies.

The LSE follows Harvard University and Oxford University. Scores take into account academic and employer reputation surveys, along with citations per faculty. The methodology is explained in detail here.


Congratulations to Dr Kirsten Ainley, who has been awarded funding from the ESRC for a new strategic network on justice, conflict and development. Hosted by the CIS, this network will focus on one of the main ways in which states and the international community now approach conflict resolution.

Read more about the ESRC grant here.


The Global Transformation wins best book prize in historical international relations

The Global Transformation (2015), a book published by Professor Barry Buzan and Dr George Lawson, has won the Francesco Guiccardini Prize for Best Book in Historical International Relations awarded by the International Studies Association (ISA).

The award will be formally presented at the next meeting of the ISA in Baltimore in February 2017.

Professor Buzan and Dr Lawson were also in China recently giving talks at Fudan University and Zhejiang University, ahead of the launch of the Chinese edition of the book, which will be published in spring 2017.


LSE Research Festival 2016

Congratulations to the International Relations Department students who were winners and highly commended in the LSE Research Festival 2016!

Winner of the Photography category: When war becomes reality
David Brenner PhD candidate

Winner of the Headlined Abstract category: Political player or passive administrator? The Federal Reserve Board's rise to dominance
Caroline Tan MSc International Relations

Highly commended in the Headlined Abstract category: Keep calm and carry on: how developing countries' leaders help build collective resilience after terrorist attacks
Nathanael Chouraqui MSc International Relations

You can view their work here.


IR Department Public Lecture Series Lent Term 2017

The Department of International Relations is delighted to confirm an array of speakers for our Public Lecture series going into 2017.

Open to staff, students and members of the public, the IR Department will host talks from a variety of internationally renowned academics including; Professor Deborah Welch Larson from the University of California, who will be talking in January on 'Cognitive Approaches to Foreign Policy Analysis' as part of the ongoing Foreign Policy Analysis Lecture Series.

Later the same month, Professor Marie Thorsten, who is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for International Studies at LSE and Professor at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, will be giving a public lecture entitled 'Omission Accomplished: The Iraq Invasion in American and Japanese Security Narratives'.

We are also pleased to announce a Book Launch on 1 February, for Dr Rob Johnson's book The Great War and the Middle East.

For further information on our events, please visit the IR events webpage, or contact s.wise3@lse.ac.uk.


LSE SU Teaching Excellence Awards 2016 

The three members of the IR Department nominated for the LSESU Teaching Excellence Awards this year have all been Highly Commended. 

Tarak Barkawi - Highly Commended for Inspirational Teaching
Ida Danewid - Highly Commended for Sharing Subject Knowledge
Taylor St John - Highly Commended for Excellent Feedback and Communication.

Read more here.


IR Spotlight Newsletter

The Department of International Relations bi-annual newsletter, IR Spotlight, is an outreach initiative which aims to enhance the Department’s past, present and future community.

Released in January and June each year, IR Spotlight is a unique platform in which readers can gain an insight into the department’s innovative research, bright student body, and impressive alumni, through feature items, interviews and short articles.

The first issue is now available here.

If you would like to subscribe to have IR Spotlight emailed to you twice a year, please e-mail Sophie on  s.wise3@lse.ac.uk.


Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

We are proud that the LSE International Relations and Government submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 was ranked first in the UK for the percentage of its research graded world leading or internationally excellent. For full details click here.


Pippa Malmgren, LSE International Relations alumnus, talks to LSE Connect

Pippa received an MSc International Relations 1986 and a PhD in 1991 from the IR Department. She has an illustrious career as a political economist. She served as financial market advisor to the President in the White House and on the National Economic Council from 2001-2002. She was a member of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets and the Working Group on Corporate Governance. She dealt with Enron, Sarbanes Oxley as well the Anti-Money Laundering provisions of the Patriot Act and had responsibility for terrorism risks to the economy on the NEC after 9/11.

Read the interview here.


Professor Fred Halliday's papers available to view online

A collection of Fred Halliday's papers is now available to view via the LSE Archives.  The collection consists of over 350 files of personal effects, correspondence, memoirs, draft texts, travel-notes and work documents, all available for researchers to consult.  The collection should appeal to students of the history and politics of the Middle East and those with an interest in the more theoretical issues dealt with in the discipline.  A bibliography listing all of Halliday's academic works, both published and unpublished, has also been created.

Further information available here.


For more news for the IR Department, visit our News and Events page.

Implications of Brexit for the UK, the EU and the international system: a summary of the 2016 lecture series
submitted by Karen E. Smith, Professor of International Relations During Michaelmas Term 2016, Professor Karen E Smith of the International Relations Department organised a series of ten lectures on ‘Brexit: the implications for the UK, the EU and the international … Continue reading

Cumberland Lodge Conference 2016
For the LSE International Relations community, the last weekend of November is usually marked with a special event organised by the IR Department; the Cumberland Lodge Conference. It is a moment in which IR students from all levels of study—Undergraduate, … Continue reading

2015-16 MSc Dissertation Prizewinners announced
The International Relations Department is pleased to be able to announce the MSc dissertation prizewinners for the 2015-16 session: MSc International Relations Philip Windsor Dissertation Prize This was awarded jointly to Leo Barincou for his dissertation entitled The political determinants of … Continue reading

Find Policy: Quick Access to Research from Leading Think Tanks set up by IRD alumn
Think tanks offer a valuable addition to academic research. Between the day-to-day commentary of journalism and the year-on-year of academic publication, think tanks provide topical in-depth analysis on essential policy issues. Across the US and Europe, there are easily 50 … Continue reading

Remittances and Walls by Covadonga Meseguer
In one of the many boutades that candidate Donald Trump has provided us with during his campaign, he proposed to force Mexico to pay $5–$10bn for the construction of the border wall as a condition for the flow of remittances … Continue reading

Research Student Destinations: Elisabetta Brighi, Lecturer, PhD 2005
Dr Elisabetta Brighi Lecturer in International Relations, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster (permanent post) Thesis Title: Foreign Policy and the International/Domestic Nexus: The Case of Italy (2005) Supervisor: Professor Christopher Hill Dr. Brighi’s current research interests lie at … Continue reading



Political Trials in Theory and History
(Cambridge University Press 2017)
Edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Devin O Pendas

From the trial of Socrates to the post-9/11 military commissions, trials have always been useful instruments of politics. Yet there is still much that we do not understand about them. Why do governments use trials to pursue political objectives, and when? What differentiates political trials from ordinary ones? Contrary to conventional wisdom, not all political trials are show trials or contrive to set up scapegoats. This volume offers a novel account of political trials that is empirically rigorous and theoretically sophisticated, linking state-of-the-art research on telling cases to a broad argument about political trials as a socio-legal phenomenon.


Foreign Policy Analysis: New approaches - Second Edition
(Routledge, 2017)
Chris Alden and Amnon Aran

Building on the success of the first edition, this revised volume re-invigorates the conversation between foreign policy analysis and international relations. It opens up the discussion, situating existing debates in foreign policy in relation to contemporary concerns in international relations, and provides a concise and accessible account of key areas in foreign policy analysis that are often ignored.


The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt
(Oxford University Press, 2016)
Edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons

Uniquely located at the intersection of law, the social sciences, and the humanities, this book adopts a truly interdisciplinary approach to the difficult oeuvre of Carl Schmitt.  It highlights the trinity of Carl Schmitt's thought, i.e., the mutually constitutive relationship among his political thought, legal thought, and cultural thought, and it assembles virtually all leading scholars of Carl Schmitt from disciplines as diverse as art, law, literature, philosophy, political science, and history.


The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)
Edited by Robert Falkner

This book presents an authoritative and comprehensive overview of international policy on climate and the environment. It brings together a global team of experts from the fields of environmental politics, international relations, economics, and law, who explore current debates and the latest thinking in the search for global environmental solutions. The volume reviews the key environmental challenges, concepts, and approaches; examines the role of global actors, institutions, and processes; and considers the links between the global economy and global environmental politics.


Chinese Economic Diplomacy:
Decision-making actors and processes
Shuxiu Zhang
(Routledge, 2016)

Chinese Economic Diplomacy provides an understanding of the processes and practices of China’s economic diplomacy, with multilateral economic negotiations as the primary basis of analysis, specifically the UN climate change talks and the WTO Doha Round trade negotiations. It examines how early economic diplomacy in global governance contributed to the varied and evolving nature of its present-day decision-making structures and processes. Demonstrating how China’s negotiation preferences are driven by networks of political actors in formal and informal domestic and systemic environments, it also highlights the capacity of international negotiation practices to alter and re-shape China’s approach to multilateral economic negotiations. As a consequence, the book presents a framework for understanding China’s economic diplomacy decision-making processes that is systemically constructed by domestic and international agencies.


Taming the Imperial Imagination
Colonial Knowledge, International Relations, and the Anglo-Afghan Encounter, 1808–1878
Martin J Bayly
(Cambridge University Press, 2016) 

This book marks a novel intervention into the debate on empire and international relations, and offers a new perspective on nineteenth-century Anglo-Afghan relations. Martin J. Bayly shows how, throughout the 19th century, the British Empire in India sought to understand and control its peripheries through the use of colonial knowledge.

Addressing the fundamental question of what Afghanistan itself meant to the British at the time, he draws on extensive archival research to show how knowledge of Afghanistan was built, refined and warped by an evolving colonial state.

This knowledge informed policy choices and cast Afghanistan in a separate legal and normative universe. Beginning with the disorganised exploits of 19th-century explorers and ending with the cold strategic logic of the militarised 'scientific frontier', this book tracks the 19th-century origins of contemporary policy 'expertise' and the forms of knowledge that inform interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere today.


ISIS: A History
Fawaz A Gerges
(Princeton University Press, 2016)

The Islamic State has stunned the world with its savagery, destructiveness, and military and recruiting successes. What explains the rise of ISIS and what does it portend for the future of the Middle East? In this book, one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam and jihadism sheds new light on these questions as he provides a unique history of the rise and growth of ISIS. Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling account of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS.

An authoritative introduction to arguably the most important conflict in the world today, this is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the social turmoil and political violence ravaging the Arab-Islamic world.

"A specific, timely, well-rendered exegesis of the unfolding global threat."--Kirkus (starred review)

Read review here.


Undertaking Discourse Analysis for Social Research
Kevin C Dunn and Iver B Neumann
(Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2016)

Kevin C. Dunn and Iver B. Neumann offer a concise, accessible introduction to discourse analysis in the social sciences. A vital resource for students and scholars alike, the book combines a theoretical and conceptual review with a “how-to” guide for using the method. In the first part, the authors discuss the development of discourse analysis as a research method and identify the main theoretical elements and epistemological assumptions that have led to its emergence as one of the primary qualitative methods of analysis in contemporary scholarship.

Then, drawing from a wide-range of examples of social science scholarship, the authors provide an indispensable guide to the variety of ways discourse analysis has been used. They delve into what is gained by using this approach and demonstrate how one actually applies it. They cover such important issues as research prerequisites, how one conceives of a research question, what “counts” as evidence, how one “reads” the data, and some common obstacles and pitfalls. The result is a clear and accessible manual for successfully implementing discourse analysis in social research.


Future War
Christopher Coker
(Polity Press 2015)

Will tomorrow's wars be dominated by autonomous drones, land robots and warriors wired into a cybernetic network which can read their thoughts? Will war be fought with greater or lesser humanity? Will it be played out in cyberspace and further afield in Low Earth Orbit? Or will it be fought more intensely still in the sprawling cities of the developing world, the grim black holes of social exclusion on our increasingly unequal planet? Will the Great Powers reinvent conflict between themselves or is war destined to become much 'smaller' both in terms of its actors and the beliefs for which they will be willing to kill?

In this illuminating new book Christopher Coker takes us on an incredible journey into the future of warfare. Focusing on contemporary trends that are changing the nature and dynamics of armed conflict, he shows how conflict will continue to evolve in ways that are unlikely to render our century any less bloody than the last. With insights from philosophy, cutting-edge scientific research and popular culture, Future War is a compelling and thought-provoking meditation on the shape of war to come.


For more publications by members of the IR Department, visit the pages on Staff Publications: new booksolder books and Staff Publications: articles and chapters.