Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences
Department of International Relations and European Studies

Code Name Level Year Semester
IRES 202 Great Power Politics Undergraduate 2 Spring
Status Number of ECTS Credits Class Hours Per Week Total Hours Per Semester Language
Compulsory 4 2 + 1 126 English

Instructor Assistant Coordinator
Adis Maksić, Assist. Prof. Dr. Adis Maksic, PhD Adis Maksić, Assist. Prof. Dr.
[email protected] [email protected] no email

In the years after the end of the Cold War, many scholars believed that the age of great power politics may be over. Spread of democracy and dense economic interdependence suggested that coercive force may no longer be a dominant feature of international politics. Many argued that coercion would be replaced by cooperation in the pursuit of solutions to common problems, such as environmental degradation and economic instability. This course evaluates such claims to argue that great powers remain the critical actors in the international system. It seeks to develop a theoretical foundation for understanding the behavior of great powers, and illustrate the dynamics of their interaction under different structural and political conditions.

Identify and discuss traits that qualify certain states for the status of \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"great powers\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"

Identify and discuss multiple aspects of power

Understand different international systems, and discuss how they shape the dynamics of interaction between great powers

Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"offensive realism\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" paradigm in order to gain a more nuanced understanding of the structuring properties of international system

Understand the interplay of factors both external and internal to states in the structuring of the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"national interests\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" and the political behavior of great powers.

Understand how power seeking can lead to war.

Identify and discuss traits of the current international system in order to develop a new way of thinking about the politics of contemporary great powers.

Improve critical thinking skills.

Develop effective writing skills.

  1. Introduction: Realism, Liberalism and Power
  2. Offensive Realism: Anarchy and the Struggle for Power
  3. Offensive Realism: Wealth and Power
  4. Problematizing Power Beyond Realism
  5. The Primacy of Land Power
  6. Strategies for Survival
  7. Great Powers in Action
  8. Mid-Term Exam
  9. Offshore Balancers
  10. Balancing vs. Buck-passing
  11. The Causes of Great Power War
  12. The Rational Actor and Beyond: Understanding the 1962 US Naval Blockade of Cuba
  13. Post-Cold War International Order

  1. Contemporary Currents
  2. Course Summary


    • Interactive Lectures
    • Excersises
    • Discussions and group work
    • Assignments
    • Case Studies
    • Use of educational films
    Description (%)
    Method Quantity Percentage (%)
    Midterm Exam(s)135
    Term Paper115
    Final Exam140
    Total: 100
    Learning outcomes
      • Mersheimer, J. (2001) The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, updated ed. New York: Norton
      • Allison G. & Zelikow, P. (1999) Essence of Decision. Addison-Weseley
      • Chollet, D & Goldgeier, J (2008) America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11. Public Affairs

      ECTS (Allocated based on student) WORKLOAD
      Activities Quantity Duration (Hour) Total Work Load
      Lecture (14 weeks x Lecture hours per week)14228
      Laboratory / Practice (14 weeks x Laboratory/Practice hours per week)14114
      Midterm Examination (1 week)122
      Final Examination(1 week)122
      Preparation for Midterm Examination12020
      Preparation for Final Examination12525
      Assignment / Homework/ Project5420
      Seminar / Presentation3515
      Total Workload: 126
      ECTS Credit (Total workload/25): 5