IR454      Half Unit
Governing International Political Economy: Lessons from the Past for the Future

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr James Morrison CBG.8.06


This course is available on the MSc in International Political Economy, MSc in International Political Economy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in International Political Economy (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access) and demand is typically high.

Course content

History has always been central to the study and practice of international political economy. The field's most influential scholars and practitioners have repeatedly turned to history both to explain, and to offer a fresh perspective on, the great challenges of their times. This course is designed to help students cultivate that invaluable skill and habit of mind.

Tracing the evolution of the global political-economic order across the last several centuries, this course examines:

- canonical theorists' particular treatments of international political economy.

the on-going, timeless debate between these theorists.

the major shifts in the global political-economic order.

the interaction between theories and policy shifts.

A number of important questions will be considered, including:

- What role do ideas play in international relations?

To what extent can individual actors shape the global political-economic order?

Do circumstances determine which ideas and which leaders come to the fore? Or do men and women make their own history?

What does this history reveal that might help us to shape international politics today and in the future?


This course considers international order from the standpoint of both international security and international political economy. It will appeal to students who want to delve deeper into the history and evolution of the international system.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce an essay and deliver an in-class presentation.

Indicative reading

Keynes, JM. The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

Marx, Karl. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.

Angell, Norman. The Great Illusion.

Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism.


Essay (100%, 2000 words) in the LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication