Our virtual summerschool

In this Summer School on International Relations in a Post-hegemonic World, you will take stock of the current state of International Relations – as academic discipline and as our empirical field of study . As early stage researchers at MA, PhD or early postdoc level, you will receive high-quality feedback and input on your ongoing research project – provided by some of the finest faculty in IR from across Europe – and beyond. We are grateful to these colleagues to want to contribute to the Summer School.

By reading and discussing some of the key conceptual, theoretical as well as empirical issues confronting students of contemporary international relations, you will acquire hands-on expertise on how to handle and put to use the different perspectives from which one can view contemporary world politics. These invited experts in the three sub-domains of international cooperation and institutions, international security and international political sociology will first share some of their general views in plenary lectures. Subsequently, they will put these to use, as well as draw on their year-long experience in supervising research in IR in smaller break-out sessions, where they will provide you with personalized feedback on your own individual research projects.

The scientific discipline of IR is the cross-roads of intellectual engagement and scrutiny of a world in transition, and perhaps, yes, a post-hegemonic world. Of course, characterizing the current world order as post-hegemonic is an epistemological choice, as hegemony, and its corollary, is a typical essentially contested concept. It is exactly the purpose of this Summer School to come terms with such fundamental decisions in word usage, concept and theory development. Conceptual choices, or even simple choice of words, is indeed constitutive of what we enquire into, what we seek to understand, grasp and/or explain. And hence, not the clash of essentialist affirmations, but rather the open, reflective search for the right wording, framing and theoretical angle and the motivated construction of conjectures and hypotheses will be the guiding rod to navigate you through the variegated disciplinary field of IR and its contemporary questions.

In order to name some of these challenges facing us today – whether conceptual, theoretical or empirical: the power and impotence of states; the persistence of weak and failed states; where to locate ‘power’ when the theoretical simplification of hegemony is not helpful enough; the paradox of resilient and crumbling multilateralism; the decline of armed conflict and the increase in other, hybrid forms of law- and warfare; the role of non-state actors in different policy fields; the simultaneity of global value chain integration and anti-globalization backlash in politics; the return of multinational oligopolies with a vengeance; strategic autonomy in a world dependent on global supply chains (see COVID vaccines); polycentrism and irresponsibility in climate policies; inequality among people(s) and processes of inclusion and exclusion in global governance; shifting and contested orders of authority and hierarchy in world politics, as well as power struggles and their normative implications.

Given such a full bag of preoccupations, we hope you will bring along a lot of enthusiasm to virtual Antwerp! Do come into the virtual class-room well prepared, with a critical reading of the assigned readings ready in your head. Do submit intriguing resumes of your research projects for your peers and the discussants to comment on. And do bring along an open-minded critical attitude to engage more broadly with your fellow participants and of course all the guest lecturers. If so, we are confident all involved will greatly benefit from the exchange of expertise and views over the course of this July week.

With our kind regards,

The organisers

Dirk De Bièvre, Tom Sauer and Jorg Kustermans, Research Group on International Politics, Universiteit Antwerpen

Daniela Irrera (Catania), Nikitas Konstantinidis (IE Madrid), Nora Stappert (Leeds), Andreas von Staden (Hamburg) and Dirk De Bièvre (Antwerp), steering committee of the ECPR Standing Group on International Relations (SGIR)

Online learning environment

The summer school will be hosted via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, the collaborative online learning platform of the University of Antwerp. Participants need to have a stable internet connection, a headset, a computer and a webcam. The summer school offers a variety of teaching methods. Most sessions will be held “live” in the CEST time zone as to enable interaction and debate. Moreover,  several breakout sessions will assure the exchange of knowledge and perspectives among the participants. These breakout sessions will be held on MS Teams. 


For Whom? 

This summer school is designed for Master, PhD and Post-doctoral students.


From 12 July - 15 July

Registration fees?


What do you need to prepare? 

​For the registration, all participants are asked to write a short abstract of their research proposal/paper to complete their registration and indicate their preferred session for review of their papers (i.e. international cooperation and institutions, international security, or international political sociology). Once registration is closed and the abstract is confirmed, participants are asked to upload their finalised research proposal/paper by the 25th of June so that our guest speakers and participants have enough time to read the proposals and prepare their feedback by the time the Summer school starts. The research proposal should not be more than 5 pages (more detailed instructions will be provided later).

Study credits (ECTS)

Successful completion of the summer school can be awarded with 3 credits according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Credits will be awarded on the basis of preparatory readings, active participation during the course, submission of the final essay and participation in the final feedback session (in September). Recognition of the credits in your home curriculum should be agreed upon with your home institution. In this regard, a course information sheet can be provided.

Participants are expected to follow both the plenary sessions as well as actively participate in the afternoon break-out sessions. Participants who pass the evaluation will receive a certificate of successful completion. Participants who follow the sessions, but don’t hand a final revised paper or participate in the September feedback session will receive a certificate of attendance.