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IR3205   Intelligence and International Relations in the 20th Century and Beyond

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 1

Planned timetable: Friday 10am - 12 noon and Friday 2pm - 4pm

This module explores the interplay between secret intelligence and international relations during the 20th century and beyond. It will do so by examining a series of historical case studies ranging from the two World Wars through the Cold War to the 'War on Terror'. In addition to an historical approach, the module will engage with the growing theoretical literature that underpins the study of secret intelligence. History, in other words, will serve as a window through which to explore aspects about the nature of secret intelligence - as forms of knowledge, as organisation, and as activity - as well as more specialist questions involving problems of intelligence collection, analysis, and oversight, the controversial question of ethics, as well as the oft complex relationship between so-called producers and consumers of intelligence.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass IR2005 and pass IR2006

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 2h seminar (x10 weeks)

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 70% coursework and 30% written examination

Re-assessment: 100% written examination


Module coordinator: Dr M U M K von Buelow
Module teaching staff: Dr Mathilde von Bulow

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understand and account for the growth and institutionalisation of secret intelligence during the 20th century and beyond
  • Identify and engage critically with the core theories that underpin the study of secret intelligence
  • Discern and explain key differences underpinning the intelligence cultures of key great powers
  • Think critically and imaginatively about the subject matter and construct coherent and independent arguments of their own, both orally and in writing
  • Compare and contrast explanations provided by the literature
  • Manage and engage with large and disparate bodies of information