DHP D202: Contemporary Critical Theory on International Issues
This course is grounded in the key proposition of critical theory: that the categories and ideas we use to make sense of the world can and should be situated historically and within power relations. Drawing on a number of post-World War II theorists from traditions that might be described as postmodern, post-Marxist, feminist or postcolonial, the course challenges the concepts that frame analysis of contemporary international relations issues. The course is structured around five key themes: refugees, trauma and truth-telling, violence as a productive force, new forms of empire, and ecological ruins. Exploration of each theme will be guided by a series of theoretical texts, alongside narrative forms (memoir and film) and more empirically grounded studies. Students are expected to bring insights from their research interests and their previous work experience to deepen the exchange between theoretical and narrative texts, and practical issues. The course is designed to increase students’ confidence and ability to weave theoretical issues and approaches into their analyses of contemporary issues; and to stimulate an ethical discussion of how we conceptualize and engage with complex contemporary global issues.