International Relations: Getting Started

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African Union (AU)

African Union flag

An association of fifty-five African states that have ratified or acceded to the Constitutive Act of the African Union. The African Union was launched in 2002, following the disbandment of the Organisation of African Unity. The African Union sees its mission as to achieve a united and strong Africa through promoting integration and peace.

Source: A Dictionary of African Politics

Getting Started

Use this guide to discover books, journals and articles from databases, and websites related to the vast field of International Relations. 


What is International Relations?

United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland   

International Relations (IR) is the study of relations between nationals focusing on political, economic, social and cultural exchanges. It encompasses many different fields of study, including but not limited to: terrorism, globalization, international security, religion, history, diplomatic relations, sustainability, human rights, and global finance. 


The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics defines IR as:

"The discipline that studies interactions between and among states, and more broadly, the workings of the international system as a whole. It can be conceived of either as a multidisciplinary field, gathering together the international aspects of politics, economics, history, law, and sociology, or as a meta‐discipline, focusing on the systemic structures and patterns of interaction of the human species taken as a whole."

Source: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (4 ed.)

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