Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 1: Fragmented Identities, Rising Powers and International Security Threats [Summer School]


Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 1: Fragmented Identities, Rising Powers and International Security Threats [Summer School]Period: 3-7 July 2017

Program: Click Here to Download Course Program

The civil war in Syria, BREXIT and the unexpected election of Donald Trump as American president all underline the continued importance of national identity, power and security. This course teaches you the skills necessary to study how different ideas about these key concepts can affect geopolitical conflicts.

How stable and uncontested are the identities of nation-states such as Spain, Turkey and Ukraine? Why do we see conflicting perspectives on the power of China, Germany, India, Russia and the United States? And in which ways can the security threats to the world, its regions and particular countries be assessed? To answer these questions, you do two individual assignments in which you analyze a political speech and a think-tank report from a country of your choice. In the first group assignment, you try to measure the global power of one of the aforementioned countries. The second group assignment concerns the writing of scenarios about international security threats, based on the future identities and power relations of China, Germany, India, Russia and the United States. You present all your findings in class. Interactive lectures and roundtable discussions help you prepare for your assignments. The companion course is Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 2: Geographical Factors, Geostrategy and Scenario Planning Tools.


▪ Designing an analytical framework to study the role of identity, power and security in geopolitical conflicts

▪ Understanding how a nation-state can be seen, and why one single, widely accepted definition does not exist

▪ Recognizing patterns in how politicians and experts present us their views on the world, regions and countries


▪ Strong motivation and good command of English are essential to get a pass for the course.

▪ Basic knowledge of (geo)political ideas and/or trends is recommended.

▪ Aimed at Bachelor/ Master/ PhD students in Political Sciences/ International Relations/ Geography/ History/ Economics/ Business/ Media Studies/ Journalism/ Cultural Studies/ Linguistics. Professionals with various backgrounds benefitted as well from taking previous editions of the course. If in doubt, please contact Leonhardt for personal course selection advice.

Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 1: Fragmented Identities, Rising Powers and International Security ThreatsRecommended literature

▪ Guibernau, M. (2007) The identity of nations. Polity Books.

▪ Jarvis, K. and Holland, J. (2015) Security. A critical introduction. Palgrave.

▪ Smith, M.A. (2012) Power in the changing global order. Polity Books.

▪ Storey, D. (2011) Territory. The Claiming of Space. Routledge.

You are further recommended to read some of these blog posts by Leonhardt.

Please note that it is not required to do some reading before the course. If you like to read something, select a book that is closest to your research interests or ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice. For more suggested reading materials, check the following reading lists.

Teaching methods

▪ Lectures ▪ Presentations ▪ Work in subgroups

Assessment methods

▪ Attendance ▪ Participation ▪ Presentation


▪ Analytical Skills ▪ Geopolitical Concepts ▪ Nation-States ▪ National Identity ▪ Global Power ▪ International Security ▪ Geopolitics ▪ Political Speeches ▪ Think Tank Reports

Accommodation: please visit Maastricht Housing website

Funding: not available

Language: English


Related GeoMeans Summer School Courses:
Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 2: Geographical Indicators, Geostrategy and Scenario Planning Tools

▪Country Risk Analysis 1: Political Risk Indicators, Geo-Economics and Report Writing

▪Country Risk Analysis 2: Macro-Economic Risk Indicators, Causal Chain Tool and Recession Scenarios for China


  1. What are the fees for the summer school?

    • Leonhardt van Efferink

      Thanks for your question. A one-week course cost €600 this year.

      • Dear Dr. van Efferink

        Are there any seats left on the course?

        • Leonhardt van Efferink

          Dear Talal,
          Thanks for your interest in this course. I am afraid the application process for the 2017 edition has already been closed. I do however also give guest lectures on location, such as this one at Cambridge University: Please let me know if this is an option for you, and if so, I will get into touch by e-mail.
          Kind regards,

          • Dear Leonhardt,

            Many thanks for your prompt response. I am interested in a course similar to the one you run at the Summer School. Would the guest lectures be as extensive as the course run at the summer school? Would you consider giving a similar course at Oxford, Cambridge or London?

            Maybe we could discuss this by email?

            I look forward to hearing from you

            Best Wishes


          • Leonhardt van Efferink

            Dear Talal,
            I have given similar courses at other univerisities as well, so let’s discuss this further by e-mail as you suggest. I just sent you a message.
            Kind regards,

  2. Is the accommodation included in the 600€ costs of one-week course?

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