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5117332 Critical Geopolitics and Border Theories, 5 Cp 
Code 5117332  Validity 23.02.2012 -
Name Critical Geopolitics and Border Theories  Abbreviation Critical Geopol 
Credits5 Cp  Date of expiry  
TypeAdvanced Studies Subject 
ClassStudy Unit  Hours  
Study right   Grading0-5 
Recommended scheduling 
Organisation Geography (Geography and Human Geography) (J) 

James Scott 

Learning outcomes 

This course will provide targeted discussion and analysis of theoretical foundations of border studies and geopolitics as critical social science disciplines. The course will discuss the historical genesis of these theories as well as their applications in the contemporary world. Students will be motivated to read and discuss key works that have characterised the state of art and to contribute their insights into the politically charged debates related to borders and geopolitics (e.g. migration, citizenship, responses to regional conflicts, European Union policies). In this way, theoretical perspectives will be related to practical and policy aspects of borders.

After completing the course the student

  • has gained a deeper critical understanding of geographical knowledge and its production
  • is aware of political agendas, interests and power relations that inform different geopolitical ideas
  • has a deeper understanding of border-making processes as formal (political) as well as everyday practices.

Furthermore, the students will receive training and competence in discussing, presenting and writing their research and thus actively applying theoretical knowledge of border studies and geopolitics.  


One major focus of the course will be on the critical analysis of contemporary border-related and geopolitical issues that involve processes of conflict and co-operation, both within the European Union and in neighbouring states. We will devote particular attention to regions near the EU’s external frontiers as case studies of co-operation. Another major substantive element of the course is the analysis of the European Union’s Neighbourhood Policy and how it is affecting relations with neighbouring states such as Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Morocco, etc. In pursuing a critical geopolitics of borders we will attempt to ‘de-code’ the policies of the EU and neighbouring states.

Modes of study 

The course consists of a seminar setting in which there will lectures and text discussion (20h) and seminar presentations (4h) (3 credits); and a written essay (2 credits). Regular attendance is expected and participants will be required to write a seminar presentation and paper based on lectures, class readings and their own text-based research.

Study materials 

Class readings of core texts and current journalistic and internet media treatments of borders and geopolitical issues will be made available online at the beginning of the course.

Evaluation criteria 

0-5. Students must prove that they are able to discuss and apply theories in border studies and geopolitics by presenting an oral seminar and submitting a written assignment to be evaluated 0-5. Active attendance at lectures is required.


James Scott





Further information 

Language of instruction is English.


Letter (J, K) in front of the name of the course/exam indicates the campus on which teaching or exam takes place: J = Joensuu, K = Kuopio.

Present and future teaching
Functions Name Type Cp Teacher Timetable
Registration ended J: Critical Geopolitics and Border Theories  Lecture and exercise course  James Scott 
04.02.19mon 12.00-14.00
06.02.19wed 12.00-14.00
07.02.19thu 14.00-16.00
11.02.19mon 12.00-14.00
13.02.19wed 12.00-14.00
14.02.19thu 14.00-16.00
18.02.19mon 12.00-14.00
20.02.19wed 12.00-14.00
21.02.19thu 14.00-16.00
25.02.19mon 14.00-16.00
13.03.19wed 12.00-18.00

Future exams
No exams