Skip to content

Module Catalogue

Breadcrumbs navigation

IR4584   Speculative Fiction and Global Politics

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: Thurs 1-3pm Thurs 3-5pm

This module uses the genre of speculative fiction (which includes fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, and weird fiction) to explore global politics. It introduces students to some of the key dilemmas of global politics – war, scarcity, climate change, human rights – through works of fiction. It also asks students to consider deeper assumptions about global politics – free will, liberty, progress, narrative. Students will develop the skills to recognise the presence of global politics in material beyond the academic literature of International Relations. The module involves reading fictional works, literary criticism and viewing films and programmes. Students should be aware that this is a reading-intensive module.

Relationship to other modules

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

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 seminar (X11 weeks)

Scheduled learning hours: 54

Guided independent study hours: 253

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

Re-assessment: Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr W B Vlcek
Module teaching staff: Prof Anthony Lang, Dr William Vlcek

Intended learning outcomes

  • Apply the major theoretical approaches used in global politics to a range of themes present in popular culture;
  • Recognise the role played by narrative in the shaping of global political action and governance;
  • Cogently explain the explicit and implicit presence of politics in popular culture;
  • Understand the use of speculative fiction to develop and analysis alternative forms of global political life;
  • Learn to read multiple forms of speculative fiction (novels, short stories, films, programmes) in a social and politically critical way;
  • Expand the assumptions of what constitutes global politics.