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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


Department staff contact details |


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


Finding your way around LSE: room numbering and accessibility|





Welcome to the International Relations (IR) Department.  As a Department we are now in our 87th year, making us one of the oldest as well as largest in the world.  Read more about the department|

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


The International Relations Department is pleased to present a new 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


Department of International Relations
Fred Halliday Memorial Lecture

"What is the Responsibility to Protect?"

Date: Monday 9 March 2015 6pm-8pm
Venue: Old Theatre, LSE

Speaker: Professor Michael Walzer, Emeritus Professor at Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, Princeton
Chair: Professor Christopher Hughes

As a professor, author, editor, and lecturer, Michael Walzer has addressed a wide variety of topics in political theory and moral philosophy: political obligation, just and unjust war, nationalism and ethnicity, economic justice and the welfare state. His books (among them Just and Unjust Wars, Spheres of Justice, The Company of Critics, Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad, and On Toleration) and essays have played a part in the revival of practical, issue-focused ethics and in the development of a pluralist approach to political and moral life. A new book, The Paradox of Liberation: Secular Revolutions and Religious Counter-revolutions will be out in March 2015.

Christopher Hughes is the Head of the Department of International Relations.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.


LSE Department of International Relations and Department of Anthropology Literary Festival discussion

The China Dream

Date: Tuesday 24 February 2015 Time: 7-8.30pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Professor William A Callahan, Chan Koonchung, Isabel Hilton
Chair: Dr Hans Steinmüller

The 'China Dream' is the keyword of contemporary propaganda discourse in the People's Republic. This panel discusses the immense variety of aspirations and dreams in contemporary Chinese society.

William A Callahan is Professor of International Relations at the LSE, and his recent publications include China Dreams: 20 Visions of the Future, and the documentary video, China Dreams: The Debate.

Chan Koonchung is a Chinese writer and critic. His novel The Fat Years- China in 2013 presents a dystopian future in which the dream of a 'harmonious society' has been realized. His latest book is The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver.

Isabel Hilton is a writer and broadcaster, and founding editor of Chinadialogue. She has worked with the BBC, the New Yorker, the Guardian, Granta, the Independent, among others. Her publications include Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar and The Search for the Panchen Lama. In 2009 she was awarded an OBE.

Hans Steinmüller is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at LSE. On the basis of long-term fieldwork in rural China he has published Communities of Complicity. Everyday Ethics in Rural China.

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2015|, taking place from Monday 23 - Saturday 28 February 2015, with the theme 'Foundations'.

All events in the Festival are free to attend and open to all. E-tickets will be available to book online after 10am on Tuesday 3 February via LSE E Shop.


Slacktivists - cover story of Science News|

A report on an article about the structure of online activism co-authored by IR Department's Dr Jens Meierhenrich has become the cover story of popular science magazine Science News.

You can read the original article here.|


Alexander Stubb is new Finnish Prime Minister|

Alexander Stubb, who has a PhD from the Department of International Relations, has become the new leader of the centre-right National Coalition Party, and now the new Finnish Prime Minister.  His supervisor, Sir William Wallace, has written a few words about Alexander for the IR blog 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|.

Main Entrance

LSE Politics and International Relations is ranked third in 2014 world university rankings by subject |

LSE Politics and International Relations has been ranked third in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2014 tables for Politics and International Studies.

The LSE scored 90.5 out of 100, following 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|.

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.

Cumberland Lodge Conference 2014
When it comes to Cumberland Lodge — a former royal residence, a picture just emerges where political elites were secretly whispering about how to formulate a grand strategy. This was what this year’s IR community were going to do at … Continue reading

New Book by IR Department PhD graduate Dr Kai Monheim
The new book on international negotiations by Dr Kai Monheim, a recent PhD graduate from the Department of International Relations, is due out on 5 November and available for pre-order now: How Effective Negotiation Management Promotes Multilateral Co-operation: The power … Continue reading

Tough trade-offs on the road to Paris: What hopes for a 2015 climate agreement?
Robert Falkner, Associate Professor of International Relations, has written a blog post for the LSE British Politics and Policy blog: A close reading of international climate politics points to subtle but important changes in the diplomatic process and the positions of … Continue reading

NEW BOOK: Cutting the Gordian Knot of Economic Reform
A new book Cutting the Gordian Knot of Economic Reform by Leonardo Baccini (of LSE International Relations Department) and Johannes Urpelainen (of Columbia University) is due to be published by Oxford University Press on 23 October 2014. Summary Why do … Continue reading

Workshop: ‘Modernity and International Relations: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It’
Workshop supported by the IR Department at LSE and the BISA Working Group on Historical Sociology and IR George Lawson (g.lawson@lse.ac.uk) September 2014 This one-day workshop examined the value of the ongoing hold of modernity on the international imagination. In … Continue reading

The Dominique Jacquin-Berdal Travel Grant awarded for 2014
The Dominique Jacquin-Berdal Travel Grant was established by the International Relations Department at the LSE in memory of Dr Dominique Jacquin-Berdal who was a lecturer in the Department from 1999 until her death in 2006. She taught on nationalism and … Continue reading


International Society, Global Polity: An Introduction to International Political Theory
|(Sage, 2014)
Chris Brown

This book provides an overview of the current state of the art in International Political Theory (IPT). It offers a coherent account of the field of IPT, placing both traditional and modern work in a clear and logical framework.

The text moves from conventional accounts of the society of states to non-state-centric understandings of global politics. The first part covers international law, war, human rights and humanitarianism. The second part looks at the new human rights regime, the responsibility to protect, the ethics of war and global justice.

Each chapter includes annotated reading lists, highlighting directions you can take to further your reading.

International Society, Global Polity is perfect for students taking courses on International Political Theory, International Theory, Global Ethics and Global Justice.


Cutting the Gordian Knot of Economic Reform: When and How International Institutions Help
|(Oxford University Press, 2014)
Leonardo Baccini and Johannes Urpelainen 

Why do leaders of countries opt to join international institutions that constrain their freedom to enact domestic policy? In this book, Leonardo Baccini and Johannes Urpelainen address this enduring question of international relations by looking at liberal economic reforms.

Baccini and Urpelainen argue that international institutions help to cut this Gordian knot by allowing leaders to credibly commit to liberal policies while also creating domestic political support for reform. The book takes a comparative look at developing countries that have engaged in treaties with the US and EU to develop a full theory of when and how leaders enter into international institutions to effect economic reform. The book employs a mixed-method approach combining quantitative analysis and four case studies.

Cutting the Gordian Knot of Economic Reform is the first work to provide a theory on the design of international institutions, the circumstances that cause leaders to form international institutions, and the effects of international institutions on economic reform.


Credit Ratings and Sovereign Debt: The Political Economy of Creditworthiness through Risk and Uncertainty
|(Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
Bartholomew Paudyn

At the heart of the struggle to constitute the 'politics of limits' – the parameters defining the budgetary realities facing governments – is the growing antagonistic relationship between the imperatives of private (financial) markets and public democracies. Through a new analytical instrumentality, this interdisciplinary account problematizes credit ratings and the problem of sovereign debt to show how the authoritative knowledge underpinning the political economy of creditworthiness is constructed through the deployment of the discursive practices of risk and uncertainty. Unpacking the 'black-box' of sovereign ratings, as a socio-technical device of control and governmentality, we better understand how their authoritative capacity/utility are constituted through their performative effects, which create the conditions and subjectivities that serve to validate and regenerate a disinflationary fiscal normality/rectitude. Political judgment is censured through depoliticizing risk techniques; as a (fallacious) analytics of ratings helps elevate quantitative expertise and relegates competing, qualitative approaches in the design of a neoliberal politics of limits. This exacerbates the asymmetry between epistocracy and democracy, which prompts attempts to reclaim lost fiscal sovereignty.


European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World, 3rd Edition
|(Polity, 2014) 
Karen E. Smith

The European Union finds itself at a critical juncture; not only has the deepening crisis in the eurozone weakened the EU’s internal structure, it has impacted significantly on its international image and external relations. The third edition of European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World offers a clear and detailed analysis of the complexities and challenges of contemporary European foreign policy-making.

This accessible and thoroughly researched book will be a valuable resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students of European politics, foreign policy analysis, international relations and related disciplines.


China and Mozambique: From Comrades to Capitalists
(Jacana, 2014)
Edited by Chris Alden & Sergio Chichava

The wide range of reactions to greater Chinese involvement across Africa has varied from enthusiastic embrace by elites to caution from businesses, trade unions and civil society, and even hostility from some local communities. As a once-modest presence in Africa, China has rapidly grown to become one of Africa's top trading partners. Two-way trade surged from just over US$10 billion in 2000 to nearly US$200 billion in 2012.

China and Mozambique moves beyond the conventions of general surveys on China-Africa relations to explore real content and experiences of China's relationship with Mozambique. This book unpacks the complex and sometimes contradictory policies of this relationship, looking at Chinese investment in the Mozambican banking sector and at elite business alliances in agriculture and infrastructure.

A fuller sense of bilateral relations is offered through the focus on this emblematic case; it drills down into the heart of a relationship

For all orders, email orders@onthedot.co.za| 


Men At War: What Fiction Tells us About Conflict, from the Iliad to Catch-22
|(Hurst, 2014)
Christopher Coker

Since Achilles first stormed into our imagination, literature has introduced its readers to truly unforgettable martial characters. In Men at War Christopher Coker discusses some of the most famous of these fictional creations and their impact on our understanding of war and masculinity. Grouped into five archetypes—warriors, heroes, villains, survivors and victims—these characters range across 3000 years of history, through epic poems, the modern novel and one of the twentieth century’s most famous film scripts.

Great authors like Homer and Tolstoy reveal to us aspects of reality invisible except through a literary lens, while fictional characters such as Achilles, Falstaff, Robert Jordan and Jack Aubrey are not just larger than life, they are life’s largeness; and this is why we seek them out. Although the Greeks knew that the lovers, wives and mothers of soldiers are the chief victims of battle, for combatants war is a masculine pursuit. Each of Coker’s chapters explores what fiction tells us about war’s hold on the imagination of young men and the way it makes—and breaks—them. War’s existential appeal is also perhaps best conveyed in fictional accounts, and this too is scrutinised.


Can War be Eliminated?
|(Polity, 2014)
Christopher Coker

Throughout history, war seems to have had an iron grip on humanity. In this short book, internationally renowned philosopher of war, Christopher Coker, challenges the view that war is an idea that we can cash in for an even better one - peace. War, he argues, is central to the human condition; it is part of the evolutionary inheritance which has allowed us to survive and thrive. New technologies and new geopolitical battles may transform the face and purpose of war in the 21st century, but our capacity for war remains undiminished. The inconvenient truth is that we will not see the end of war until it exhausts its own evolutionary possibilities.


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