Reshaping the International Order - Power, Conflict and Change in the Black Sea Region

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Course Information
Political Science
International Relations
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 

One course in international relations, political science, or post World War II European history


The current political crisis in Ukraine and the unilateral annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia clearly show that the end of the Cold War did not lead to a single European security order based on commonly shared norms and principles. Recent events in the Black Sea region do not only highlight increasing economic competition, cultural challenges, shifting power relations and a renewed flexibility of geopolitical structures. On a more fundamental political level the very constitution of international society and basic principles of international politics like for instance sovereignty and legitimacy are at stake. In this course we will analyze how these processes reshape the international system and the wider European political order. In addition, a focus on the Black Sea region also permits an assessment of the EU’s capacity to transform, influence and stabilize its geopolitical environment.       

Attendance policy: 

All IES Abroad courses require attendance and participation. Attendance is mandatory per IES Abroad policy. Any unexcused absence will incur a penalty of 3% on your final grade. Any student who has more than three (3) unexcused absences will receive an “F” as the final grade in the course. Absences due to sickness, religious observances, and family emergencies may be excusable at the discretion of the Center Director.

In the case of an excused absence, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the Academic Dean of the absence with an Official Excused Absence Form, as well as any other relevant documentation (e.g. a doctor’s note), and to keep a record thereof. This form must be turned in as soon as possible before the class in the case of a planned absence, or immediately after the class in the case of an unplanned absence, in order for the absence to be considered excused. It is also the student’s responsibility to inform the professor of the missed class. Students can collect and submit the Official Excused Absence Form from the office of the Academic Dean.

Tests missed during unexcused absences cannot be made up.

The use of laptop computers during class is not permitted. Cell phones are to be switched off.

Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures
  • Presentations
  • Seminar discussions
  • Case studies
  • Workshops
  • Simulations
Required work and form of assessment: 

Readings and active participation in seminar discussions - 25%       
Short Essays - 25%
Mid-term exam - 25%
Final exam - 25%

Seminar discussions
Seminar discussions are based upon the compulsory readings and teaching introductions to the subject given at each session. The lecturer will give an introduction and background to the topic and all students are expected to join the seminar discussions following the teaching introductions with (prepared) questions and points related to the readings. Additional material may also be distributed in class by the instructor in order to briefly develop relevant points raised.

Short Essays
5 short essays (3-4 pages each). These will be written on session-related topics (a list of questions will be provided for each short essay). The short essays will serve as a basis for seminar discussions and group projects. They are to be submitted in printed form on each respective session indicated in the syllabus.

Mid-term and Final
Essay questions, based on arguments, facts, compulsory readings and other material distributed in class.

Part I: The Wider Black Sea Region in a Global Context: Actors, Structures, and Processes
1 Introduction: The Black Sea Region in the 21st Century
  • De Waal (2010)
  • Hamilton and Mangott (2008)
  • King (2004)
  • Ruxandra (2012)
  • Sasse (2007)
2 International Law and the Constitution of International Society
  • Reus-Smit (1997)
  • Armstrong, Farrell and Lambert (2012)
3 Emerging Powers and Regions in the Post-Cold War International Order
  • Buzan and Wæver (2003)
  • Gvosdev and Marsh (2014)
  • Linden et al. (2012)
4 The Role of Culture and Identity in International Relations
  • Kratochwil (2006)
  • Lapid and Kratochwil (1996)
5 The Clash of Geostrategic Visions and its Implications for Political Practice
  • Browning and Joenniemi (2008)
  • Ciută (2007)
  • Murinson (2012)
  • Tsygankov (2003)
Part II: power, Influence and Competing Geopolitical Strategies in a Shared Neighborhood
6 Conceptualizing Power and Influence in International Politics
  • Barnett and Duvall (2005)
7 Europe's Transformative Power and the Limits of Expansion
  • Dannreuther (2006)
  • Grabbe (2006)
  • Popescu and Wilson (2009)
8 The Struggle for Power ad Influence in a "Shared" Neighborhood
  • Allison (2008)
  • Averre (2009)
  • Delcour (2010)
  • Kapanadze (2014)
  • Popescu (2014)
  • Popescu (2011)
  • Whitman and Wolff (2010)
9 European Union vs Eurasian Union: Competing Projects of Integration
  • Giragosian (2014)
  • Liik (2014)
  • Morozova (2009)
Part III: EU-Russia Relations: From Competition to Conflict?
11 What is Security? Processes of Securitization in International Politics
  • Wæver (1995)
12 The Geopolitics of Energy Security in the Wider Black Sea Region
  • Aalto and Korkmaz Temel (2014)
  • Dreyer and Grätz (2014)
  • Ericson (2012)
  • Westphal (2014)
13 Coercive Diplomacy and the Logic of Sanctions
  • Drezner (2000)
  • Drezner (2003)
  • Torstensen
  • Bull (2002)
14 EU/US Sanctions Against Russia: Effective or Symbolic?
  • Trenin (2014)
Part IV: Reshaping the International Order - between Constitutionalization and Fragmentation
15 Theorizing Change in the International System
  • Dessler (1989)
16 Beyond Geopolitics: Who Determines the Rules of the Game
  • Medvedev (2008)
  • Morozov (2008)
  • Tsygankov (2009)
17 Globalization and Sovereignty - Redefining Legitimate Political Authority
  • Cohen (2012)
18 At the Border of Order? Europe Between Unity and Division
  • Prozorov (2008)
  • Sakwa (2008)


Required readings: 
  • Aalto, Pami and Dicle Korkmaz Temel (2014) ‘European Energy Security: Natural Gas and the Integration Process’, Journal of Common Market Studies 52: 4, pp. 758-74.   
  • Allison, Roy (2008) ‘Russia resurgent? Moscow’s campaign to “coerce Georgia to peace”’, International Affairs 84: 6, pp. 1145-1171.
  • Armstrong, David, Theo Farrell, and Hélène Lambert (2012) International Law and International Relations, 2nd edition. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Averre, Derek (2009) ‘Competing Rationalities: Russia, the EU and the “Shared Neighbourhood”’, Europe-Asia Studies 61: 10, pp. 1689-1713.
  • Barnett, Michael and Raymond Duvall (2005) ‘Power in International Politics’, International Organization 59: 1, pp. 39-75.
  • Browning, Christopher S. and Pertti Joenniemi (2008) ‘Geostrategies of the European Neighbourhood Policy’, European Journal of International Relations 14: 3, pp. 519-551.
  • Buzan, Barry and Ole Wæver (2003) Regions and Powers. The Structure of International Security. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ciută, Felix (2007) ‘Parting the Black Sea (Region): Geopolitics, Institutionalisation and the Reconfiguration of European Security’, European Security 16: 1, pp. 51-78.
  • Cohen, Jean L. (2012) Globalization and Sovereignty. Rethinking Legality, Legitimacy, and Constitutionalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Dannreuther, Robert (2006) ‘Developing the Alternative to Enlargement: The European Neighbourhood Policy’, European Foreign Affairs Review 11: 2, pp. 183-201.
  • Delcour, Laure (2010) ‘The European Union, a security provider in the eastern neighbourhood?’, European Security 19: 4, pp. 535-49.
  • Dessler, David (1989) ‘What’s at Stake in the Agent-Structure Debate?’, International Organization 43: 3, pp. 441-73.
  • De Waal, Thomas (2010) The Caucasus. An Introduction. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 
  • Dreyer, Iana and Jonas Grätz (2014) ‘After Ukraine: Enhancing Europe’s Gas Security’, CSS Policy Perspectives 2: 1, pp. 1-4.
  • Drezner, Daniel W. (2000) ‘Bargaining, Enforcement and Multilateral Sanctions: When is Cooperation Counterproductive?’, International Organization 54: 1, pp. 73-102.
  • Drezner, Daniel W. (2003) ‘The Hidden Hand of Economic Coercion’, International Organization 57: 1, pp. 643-59.
  • Ericson, Richard E. (2012) ‘Eurasian Natural Gas: Significance and Recent Developments’, Eurasian Geography and Economics 53: 5, pp. 615-48.
  • Giragosian, Richard (2014) Armenia’s Strategic U-Turn (Policy Memo). London: European Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Grabbe, Heather (2006) The EU’s Transformative Power: Europeanization through Conditionality in Central and Eastern Europe. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gvosdev, Nicolas K. and Christopher Marsh (2014) Russian Foreign Policy. Interests, Vectors, and Sectors. Los Angeles and London: Sage Publications.
  • Hamilton, Daniel and Gerhard Mangott (eds.) (2008) The Wider Black Sea Region in the 21st Century: Strategic, Economic and Energy Perspectives. Washington, D.C.: Center for Transatlantic Relations.
  • Kapanadze, Sergi (2014) Georgia’s Vulnerability to Russian Pressure Points (Policy Memo). London: European Council on Foreign Relations.
  • King, Charles (2004) The Black Sea. A History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Kratochwil, Friedrich (2006) ‘History, Action and Identity: Revisiting the ‘Second’ Great Debate and Assessing its Importance for Social Theory’, European Journal of International Relations 12: 1, pp. 5-29.
  • Lapid, Yosef and Friedrich Kratochwil (eds.) (1996) The Return of Culture and Identity in IR Theory. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner.
  • Liik, Kadri (ed.) (2014) Russia’s “Pivot” to Eurasia. London: European Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Linden, Ronald H. et al. (eds.) (2012) Turkey and Its Neighbors. Foreign Relations in Translation. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner.
  • Medvedev, Sergei (2008) ‘The Stalemate in EU-Russia Relations. Between “Sovereignty” and “Europeanization”’ in Ted Hopf (ed.) Russia’s European Choice. New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 215-232.
  • Morozov, Viatcheslav (2008) ‘Sovereignty and democracy in contemporary Russia: a modern subject faces the post-modern world’, Journal of International Relations and Development 11: 2, pp. 152-180.
  • Morozova, Natalia (2009) ‘Geopolitics, Eurasianism and Russian Foreign Policy Under Putin’, Geopolitics 14: 4, pp. 667-686.
  • Murinson, Alexander (2012) Turkish Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century (Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 97). Ramat Gan: The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
  • Popescu, Nicu (2014) Ukraine: four crises, one country (Brief N° 16). Paris: EU Institute for Security Studies.
  • Popescu, Nicu (2011) EU Foreign Policy and Post-Soviet Conflicts. Stealth intervention. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Popescu, Nicu and Andrew Wilson (2009) The Limits of Enlargement-Lite: European and Russian Power in the Troubled Neighbourhood. London: European Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Prozorov, Sergei (2008) ‘Russian postcommunism and the end of history’, Studies in East European Thought 60: 3, pp. 207-230.
  • Reus-Smit, Christian (1997) ‘The Constitutional Structure of International Society and the Nature of Fundamental Institutions’, International Organization 51: 4, pp. 555-89.
  • Ruxandra, Ivan (2012) New regionalism or no regionalism? Emerging regionalism in the Black Sea area. Burlington: Ashgate.
  • Sakwa, Richard (2008) ‘”New Cold War” or twenty years’ crisis? Russia and international politics’, International Affairs 84: 2, pp. 241-267.
  • Sasse, Gwendolyn (2007) The Crimea Question: Identity, Transition, and Conflict. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
  • Torstensen, Anne and Beate Bull (2002) ‘Are Smart Sanctions Feasible?’, World Politics 54: 3, pp. 373-403.
  • Trenin, Dmitri (2014) The Ukraine Crisis and the Resumption of Great-Power Rivalry. Moscow: Carnegie Moscow Center.
  • Tsygankov, Andrei P. (2003) ‘Mastering space in Eurasia: Russia’s geopolitical thinking after the Soviet break-up’, Communist and Post-Communist Studies 36: 1, pp. 101-127.
  • Tsygankov, Andrei P. (2009) ‘Russia in the Post-Western World: The End of the Normalization Paradigm?’ Post-Soviet Affairs 25: 4, pp. 347-369.
  • Wæver, Ole (1995) ‘What is Security? – the Securityness of Security’ in Birthe Hansen (ed.) European Security 2000. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Political Studies Press, pp. 222-254.
  • Westphal, Kirsten (2014) Russian Energy Supplies to Europe (SWP Comments 16). Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik.
  • Whitman, Richard G. and Stefan Wolff (eds.) (2010) The European Neighbourhood Policy in Perspective: Context, Implementation and Impact. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.