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MA Seminar Series - Burning Issues: Geopolitics Today

To start off your MA year PAIS offers a set of general lectures on several key perspectives to discuss contemporary world politics today. The seven lectures and discussions are scheduled in the early evenings. All will be led by Stuart Elden.

Series content


Each concept will be discussed in relation to recent and contemporary events. These will, in part, depend on the events in the news during the time the module is taught. It is likely to include issues such Syria, Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, the US/Mexico wall, North Korea, Yemen, migration and Ebola. The purpose of the seminar series is to introduce students to a range of concepts and their applicability to understand current events and to develop their own ways of analysing international politics. The seminars aspire to be genuinely global in their coverage.



There is no assigned reading for these lectures, though the following suggestions may be helpful:

Jason Dittmer and Jo Sharp (eds.) Geopolitics: An Introductory Reader, London: Routledge, 2014.

Deborah P. Dixon, Feminist Geopolitics: Material States, London: Routledge, 2015.

Klaus Dodds, Global Geopolitics: A Critical Introduction, London: Routledge, 2004 or his Geopolitics: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd edition, 2019.

Jenny Edkins and Maja Zehfuss (Eds) Global Politics: A New Introduction, Routledge, 3rd edition, 2013.

Stuart Elden, Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2009 or, for deeper historical background, The Birth of Territory, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Colin Flint, Introduction to Geopolitics, London: Routledge, 3rd edition, 2016.

David Storey, Territories: The Claiming of Space, London: Routledge, 2012.

Many readings for other modules will be relevant, and other texts specific to each seminar topic will be discussed as we go.

You may also be interested in events organised by the Political Geography research group set up by PhD students in the department.


Session Dates, Rooms and Titles

All sessions will be held from 6pm.

Please note room change: S2.77

Refreshments will be available from 5.45pm. The tentative schedule for 2019 is as follows:

  • 8 Oct - What is Geopolitics? powerpoint
  • 15 Oct - States, Nations, Territories powerpoint
  • 22 Oct - Borders and Walls powerpoint
  • 29 Oct - Humanitarian Intervention
  • 12 Nov - The Ongoing 'War on Terror'
  • 19 Nov - Environmental, Health and Resource Geopolitics
  • 26 Nov - The Geophysics of Geopolitics