Department of Politics and International Relations Department of Politics and International Relations

Department of Politics and International Relations

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Upcoming events:

2-4 September 2019

Language, Culture and Decolonisation
Convenors Professor David Boucher Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Johannesburg, and Cardiff University ( Dr Ayesha Omar, Department of Politics University of Witwatersrand (

6-8 November 2019

The Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC), in conjunction with the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg, present: Doctoral/Postdoctoral School and Research Symposium: Analyzing Regional Social Cohesion: Theoretical and Methodological Training for Advanced Research.
University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Politics and International Relations

Why study Politics and International Relations?Politics colours everything that happens around you every day: at home; in your social life; in your community; in your work; in your country and in the world at large. Politics is about who gets what, where and when, but are you aware of how much it affects you?  This major offers you the best of both domestic politics and international relations issues and affords you the necessary critical skills to understand and meet these challenges all in an effort to improve the human condition.
Possible careers include:
  • The diplomatic service and other government institutions
  • Research and analysis (for think tanks and other organisations such as SAIIA, SIRR, HSRC)
  • Work for the World Bank, SADC, the UN and other regional and international organisations
  • Journalism (political or otherwise)
  • Marketing
  • Policymaking
  • Gender activist
  • Banking sector
  • Political risk assessors
  • The tourism industry
  • Multinational Corporations such as Coca Cola and MTN
  • Development agencies/banks
  • International non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch
  • Military and/or intelligence sector
  • Professor; Associate Professor; Senior lecturer; Lecturer; Junior lecturer, Adjunct senior lecturer
Majors and elective modules to combine with your major include:
  • Sociology
  • History
  • Development Studies
  • Public Management and Governance
  • Philosophy
  • Economics
  • Journalism, Film and Television
  • Psychology

Postgraduate studies:

Click here to learn more

Call for Papers Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference




Johannesburg, South Africa, 20-21 January 2020

On 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, ushering in the collapse of the Soviet Union and an end to the Cold War. These events had far-reaching consequences globally. In Southern Africa, where classic Cold War proxy war scenes had been playing out since the mid-1970s, the geopolitical scene changed dramatically as a result of these events. Soviet support was withdrawn from Africa and with it, the perceived communist threat that dominated the South African Apartheid regime's policies since the 1960s. The Apartheid regime subsequently became the first country to dismantle and destroy its small indigenously developed nuclear weapons arsenal, which it had developed since the 1970s as a deterrent and as a tool to ensure the survival of apartheid. Former Soviet states Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan followed hot on the heels of South Africa. These (now independent) states inherited thousands of nuclear weapons when the Soviet Union imploded, and opted to disarm. By 1996, all strategic nuclear weapons on the territories of these states had been transferred to the Russian Federation. All four states had also joined the NPT and Africa became a nuclear weapons free zone. During those same years, more additional steps towards disarmament were implemented than in any previous period since the beginning of the nuclear age, from the signature of START I in 1991 and START II in 1993 to the Indefinite extension of the NPT at the 1995 RevCon and the signature of the CTBT in 1996.

Yet, thirty years after the unprecedented period of seven years during which four states opted for nuclear disarmament, international efforts to reduce nuclear risks are in deep turmoil and many observers fear that the global non-proliferation regime is fraying. Since the end of the Cold War, three more states (India, Pakistan and North Korea) have become nuclear-armed states and remains outside the NPT, along with Israel. The Iran nuclear deal faces serious challenges that could lead to its collapse. The second summit between the USA and North Korea ended with no agreements reached and wide gaps persisting on what exactly denuclearization means. In February 2019, the USA and Russia suspended their compliance with the INF Treaty. The USA announced it would resume research and development of weapons prohibited under the treaty. Russia, in turn, resumed work on new nuclear-armed hypersonic missiles and land-based systems. The knock-on effect of these decisions was an announcement by Ukraine that it now had a right to develop intermediate-range missiles to counter Russian nuclear-capable missile systems in the Crimea and Russian aggression towards Europe.

2020 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the NPT entering into force. The aim of the two-day conference in Johannesburg on 20-21 January 2020 is to reflect on global nuclear non-proliferation since the end of the Cold War and consider the challenges facing the non-proliferation regime. Interested presenters should upload abstracts of no more than 500 words here by 30 September 2019.

The conference will be followed by a visit to the Pelindaba National Nuclear Energy Center and some archives on Wednesday 22 January.

​​​​​​​​​​​Leadership with integrity, Creative thinking, A new generation

Politics is personal! Politics is ubiquitous! Politics is about power relationships and authority. The study of politics is exciting. It focuses on past events and current events, institutions, theories, ideas and identities at the local and the international levels. Political Science is divided into sub-disciplines: Political theory, Comparative politics, African politics and International Relations. A degree with Politics as a major will sharpen your thinking and communication skills and enable you to understand and improve the world you live in.  

Departmental Vision

A leading Politics and International Relations Department, anchored in Africa, producing cutting edge local, national, regional and internationally oriented research; delivering high calibre students who will rethink and reshape the political landscape; creating expertise and engagement on African and world politics, consolidating strategic partnerships that will stimulate intellectual growth and facilitate global reach.

Leadership is not about the next election, it's about the next generation.
Simon Sine