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IR5414   World Politics After The Death of God: Between Apocalypse and Hope

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 11

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: Wednesday 11am-1pm

One of the major issues of 20th century (international) political thought was the challenge presented to liberal thought and democratic politics by the progressive secularisation and rationalisation of Western societies during the late 19th & early 20th centuries. The combination of radical technological advancement and grand-scale social and economic transformation marked the transition into an age of mass politics and industrialised violence. Philosophers like Nietzsche spoke of the 'death of God' and the advent of the era of European nihilism. This module will introduce students to the various diagnoses of modernity's civilisational malaise using the concepts of evil, tragedy, and hope as categorical indices that gesture towards what went wrong with, yet may still be salvable in, modernity. The second part will explore post-Nietzschean responses to the multiple crisis of modern politics that cross the borders of discourse between philosophy, political theory, and political theology.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1-hour lecture and 1-hour of fieldwork.

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

Re-assessment: Coursework = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr V Paipais
Module teaching staff: Dr V Paipais

Intended learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the debates in twentieth century post-Nietzschean political thought
  • Employ the concepts of evil, tragedy, and hope to describe and analyse the totalitarian tendencies in modernity
  • Classify and critically interpret the philosophical and theological responses to the twentieth century crisis of meaning
  • Identify and assess the political theologies underpinning the international political thought of prominent twentieth century post-metaphysical thinkers
  • Develop a nuanced understanding of the interaction between politics, philosophy and theology and critically examine how philosophical and theological discourses interpenetrate and critique each other.