In this master's track, students are stimulated to think critically about geopolitics by combining cutting-edge theoretical developments in the study of power, space, and connectivity.
Geopolitics has historically been understood within International Relations as the study of space and power, particularly in relation to conceptions of territory. Controversially, it has been assumed by some in the past to be a science that determines order in the world. This track analyses geopolitics from a different angle. It focuses on understanding how spaces are produced as a result of making things connect and disconnect. When the Panama Canal was opened e.g., it transformed existing spatial orders. It changed the terms of who connected, what was to be connected, how would that connectivity take place, at what speed, and very importantly, it radically changed power relations between the north and south of the Western hemisphere, the relations between the American East and West coasts, and global trade across the Pacific.
In this track, students are stimulated to think critically about geopolitics by combining cutting-edge theoretical developments in the study of power and space and by understanding the implications of employing different approaches for understanding connectivity such as the network. Courses use an extensive range of contemporary and historical case studies.
“The course offered me the philosophical insights and practical examples to see the real working of geopolitics, specifically through infrastructure and global trade.”
"For me, geopolitics is a topic that combines history, geography, global economy and human interaction. The topic interested me before I followed Geopolitics & Connectivity, but I never really knew how to analyse and interpret the world through Geopolitics. Only after I followed this track and wrote my Master Thesis on geopolitics, I really understood why the topic had interested me so much before.
The course offered me the philosophical insights and practical examples to see the real working of geopolitics, specifically through infrastructure and global trade. Subjects like the power of maps, the influence of infrastructure projects like the Panama Canal (and its effect on economies throughout the world) and the linkage between logistics and political influence had one important thing in common. They all pointed to space and how it is constantly strategised.
Besides all this, the course helped me to decide what I sought for in a possible job. For me, success in finding a job in the field of International Relations really depends on how good you are in explaining your interests and connecting a professional position to that interest. Geopolitics & Connectivity was an important part in my process to exactly that."
“I think it is important for students of IR not only to be able to talk about geopolitics, but also to thoroughly think about it.”
"The rise of China, wavering American support for NATO, Russia encroaching on its neighbours – talk about geopolitics has a strong presence both in the news and in public debate. I think it is important for students of IR not only to be able to talk about geopolitics, but also to thoroughly think about it. The new MA-track Geopolitics & Connectivity will allow you to do just that, by integrating innovative thinking about space, power, order, and connectivity in the study of geopolitics.
I myself greatly benefited from the research seminar Geopolitics & Connectivity. In an enthusiastic and inspiring fashion, IR staff members guide students through a wide range of geopolitical problems: from the historical creation of global empires, to contemporary debates about geologistics and geopolitical strategy. This has allowed me to think critically about the relation between geopolitics and connectivity.
The insights I have obtained in this course are invaluable for me as a student of IR, but also professionally. Both the empirical knowledge I have acquired in Geopolitics & Connectivity and the ability to think about geopolitics in an innovative fashion, are central to the PhD position I aim to obtain."
“Geopolitics and Connectivity helped me to understand the the bigger picture and the small details of International relations at the same time.”
“Geopolitics and Connectivity helped me to understand the the bigger picture and the small details of International relations at the same time. If forces you to think of the small details that may seem insignificant but influence the big picture a lot. I acquired skills how to dig deeper into topics and find out things that are underlying main topics. In addition, Geopolitics & Connectivity helped me to get familiar with different research methods and referencing sources.
Currently, as one of the members of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of European Union organising team, we need to be aware of the Geopolitical topics of Europe and even further. Also, a dedicated and very helpful staff makes the studying process even more interesting.”
“Learning how to think and engage with problematizations is not only useful in the professional environments. It also fosters our creativity and reflexivity in our solutions.”
“This track revolves around a fascinating idea: that every national border, every map, every international treaty, as well as every transoceanic journey, and migration corridor, produces a specific political order in the world.
This helped me understanding that aspects that we now see as natural, such as the using the Greenwich prime meridian, moving freely across the Schengen Area or consuming products manufactured in Asia or Latin America, are actually effects of political orders, power relations, and historical forces. This is a highly valuable idea for anyone who is interested in making sense of a in a heavily interconnected world and its multiple dimensions.
In my experience, Geopolitics and Connectivity has proved to be valuable both in practical and academic spheres. Learning how to think and engage with problematizations is not only useful in the professional environments. It also fosters our creativity and reflexivity in our solutions. On the other hand, this seminar also exposed me to an extensive body of critical, interdisciplinary, and challenging literature. The latter provides a solid foundation to think and write about our world.”
Are you a non-EU/EEA student from Mexico, Russia, China, India, or Indonesia, starting a Master's programme at the Faculty of Arts? If so, you could qualify for the University of Groningen OTS/Talent Grant, Faculty of Arts, a partial scholarship which helps you to finance your studies.
Read more about the OTS/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts.