ONLINE COURSE: Regionalisms - Varieties of Hegemony around the World

There are global politics, yet there are also powers which form regional structures of governance. The world's regions differ widely in how they deal with governance, but are still closely connected to a global hierarchical system. How are these concepts developed and how do they work and form issue area alliances? The perspective of comparative area studies in this course will lead to a deeper understanding of regional governance, as well as foreign policy and its impact on pivotal states in regional politics.

Course periodJuly 19, 2021 - Aug. 13, 2021 Session II
Category Social Sciences, Politics & History
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

max. 15 participants in class

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points after successful completion of the online course. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the online course a Transcript of Records will be issued by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Application deadline May 15, 2021, or when participant quota is reached
Course fee650.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)

Online Course Fee


This course will try to understand the hierarchies of power in the world regions and how they translate into regional orders of different degrees of stability. As an introductory course in comparative area studies, it will look at the geography of power, its ideas and concepts, issue areas and institutions, as well as the instruments and resources that define the character of a system of regional governance – all from the perspective of a European Germany.

We will look at the different forms hegemony can take. The world regions differ widely in how they conceive, design and enforce regional governance. Regional powers play an important role in this structure, as they dispose of outsized power resources and enjoy some degree of influence, both within regional organizations and outside of it: They choose to be the good or the bad guys of regional governance. The way they deal with secondary powers in their neighborhood is the most important predictor of regional stability.

As regional powers are also interesting (but difficult) partners for international cooperation, this begs the question how powers such as Germany can influence the regional behavior of what it calls “Gestaltungsmächte“ („shaping powers”) from outside their world regions.

Applying the German concept of “partnership”, the course will identify and analyze the various forms of issue area alliances used with regional powers (e.g. Brazil or Russia) and regional organizations (e.g. the African Union), what kind of challenges they face – and, ultimately, what the world has to gain from it.


Preliminary Syllabus (PDF)

Course structure

The course content is equivalent to an on-site course offering 45 contact hours.

The study time includes:

  • virtual class room lessons with the lecturer and the fellow students (50%)
  • group exercises (25%)
  • assignments and self-study (25%)


Track C

Weekly schedule of virtual class room sessions:

  • Course days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Time: 4.15 pm - 6.30 pm (Berlin time, UTC+2)
    10.15 pm – 0.30 am (Beijing time, UTC+8)
    0.15 am – 2.30 am (Sydney time, UTC+10)
    9.15 am – 11.30 am (Chicago time, UTC-5)
Language skills English: B2
Motivation Letter about one page in English
Student Profile

Undergraduate students of all relevant subjects with a strong interest in the course topic.

This course is taught in English, including readings in English. For the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class a language level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required.

Participating students need to be at least 18 years old.

Mr. Christian E. Rieck

Christian E. Rieck is Reader in Contemporary History and International Relations at the University of Potsdam and Senior Analyst for Regional Powers and Regional Integration at the Global Governance Institute in Brussels. He also teaches at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid.

Previous posts in applied research include the foreign policy think tank at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the European Foresight Program at the technology think tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, the Latin American Institute of the German Institute for Global and Area Studies GIGA, as well as a Carlo Schmid Fellowship in the area of competition policy at the United Nations in Mexico City.

Christian also teaches international relations, global governance and foreign and development policy at renowned universities in Brussels, Strasbourg and Potsdam – and is a tutor at the Academy for International Cooperation at GIZ in Bonn. He was a member of the Think Tank 20 process of the G20.

The area studies specialist holds a postgraduate degree in Latin American Studies by the University of Oxford. Before that he studied law and economics in Bayreuth and Seville, then European and international public law at HU Berlin as well as at the European University Institute in Florence. His prize-winning work on European integration was awarded, among others, the Prize on the Future of Europe from the German Council on Foreign Relations.

CoordinatorPierre Steuer/ Carmen Opolski/ Sanja Müssig
Contact detailsInternational Department
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin

This course can be combined with: