Leonhardt organized a Geopolitics course at Maastricht Summer School between 2014 and 2019. The course took place at Maastricht University and attracted students from around the world.

The Geopolitics Summer School course first addressed the differences between geopolitics, geo-economics and geostrategy. This course further helped students understand and apply key geopolitical concepts such as national power, national identity and national security. The Geopolitics Summer School course further focused on geopolitical scenario planning, which assists organizations to better anticipate geopolitical uncertainty.

Due to the COVID-pandemic, the Geopolitics Summer School of Leonhardt has been cancelled for 2020 and 2021.

Are you interested in geopolitical discourses, geopolitical frames and the role of images in geopolitics? Then please check Leonhardt’s Online Summer School Course on Media Representations and Research Methods. It will be organized by Maastricht Summer School again. You find more information about this course below.

Overview of Media Representations and Research Methods Summer School

The tweets of US-President Donald Trump, the heated social media debate on Greta Thunberg and the many angles on migration stress the pivotal role of texts and images in our societies. This course teaches you the analytical skills to study the possible meanings of textual and visual media representations. Interactive lectures offer you concepts and methods to examine what combinations of words and/or visual elements mean in terms of a broader debate in society. These lectures further help you to understand how national identities and power relations affect the interpretations of media representations. Your individual assignment concerns a short paper, in which you apply a method to study one or two news articles, cartoons or social media posts. Specially for this Summer School, Dr Leonhardt van Efferink developed a template that helps you to write a well-structured course paper. On top of this, he offers individual feedback in class and active personal tutoring by e-mail. Finally, his support includes a simple framework to develop focused, consistent and transparent research questions.

Course Duration and Dates

This is an online two week course running from the 2nd of August until the 13th of August, 2021. The course will be scheduled in Central European Time [CET] so it is possible that some time slots are not ideal for people in certain time zones. However, when scheduling the courses, we will try to take into account the different time zones as much as we can.


The number of credits earned after successfully concluding this course is the equivalent of 2 ECTS according to Maastricht University’s guidelines. For further information see the MSS terms and conditions

Goals of Media Representations and Research Methods Summer School

1. Designing an analytical framework to study media representations with textual and/or visual elements (e.g. newspaper/magazine articles with photos, cartoons and social media posts).
2. Developing a research method that draws on critical discourse analysis, social semiotic analysis and/or news framing analysis, in line with your research objectives.
3. Explaining the role of the national and ideological contexts in which (social) media content is being produced.
4. Understanding the complexity of text-image relations and their role in meaning-making processes.
5. Producing a research design and dataset for your thesis or dissertation that is manageable.

Instruction language



Dr Leonhardt van Efferink has been an enthusiastic Course Leader at Maastricht Summer School since 2013. His courses always bring together students with many national backgrounds. Leonhardt does not only enjoy teaching, but also moderating high-level discussions between his students. During his Summer Schools, he effectively raises skills levels by combining engaging classes with motivating e-mail tutoring. Leonhardt has over 20 years of research experience in country risk and geopolitics. He worked in the financial sector as country risk analyst and now works as self-employed expert for companies, government agencies and international organisations. Leonhardt is specialised in the analysis of economic/political risk drivers, geopolitical trends/scenarios and textual-visual frames/discourses.

Review of Media Representations and Research Methods Summer School

“I found Leonhardt very well familiar with all the dynamics of his class room, as he very efficiently caters to the need of all his students coming from different social, cultural and educational backgrounds.” Sadia from Pakistan
“Leonhardt is a great lecturer who knows his subject matter. I found his inclusive approach particularly useful in teaching media analysis techniques.” Koen from Belgium
“Not only did Leonhardt demonstrate a high level of expertise in the subject, but he also helped his students understand difficult concepts in a very accessible way, effectively bridging the gap between theory and practice, and fostering fruitful discussions in class.” Carolina from Brazil


1. Strong motivation and good command of English are essential to get a pass for the course.
2. Basic knowledge of textual and visual analysis is recommended.
3. Aimed at Bachelor/Master/PhD students in Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Journalism, International Relations and Political Sciences. Moreover, various professionals and students with other backgrounds also successfully completed earlier editions of this course. If in doubt, please contact Maastricht Summer School.

Suggested literature of Media Representations and Research Methods Summer School

Dr Leonhardt van Efferink has based this course on publications in various languages (see overview below for some examples). You are not required to do pre-course reading. However, if you would like to do so, you are advised to select one of the publications below. You can also contact Leonhardt for tailor-made reading advice.
1. Caple, H. (2013) Photojournalism. A Social Semiotic Approach.
2. Dahinden, U. (2006). Framing. Eine integrative Theorie der Massenkommunikation.
3. D’Angelo, P. (ed.) (2018) Doing News Framing Analysis II. Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives.
4. Geise, S., & Lobinger, K. (eds.). (2013). Visual Framing. Perspektiven und Herausforderungen der visuellen Kommunikationsforschung.
5. Machin, D. (2007) Introduction to Multimodal Analysis.
6. Machin, D. and Mayr, A. (2012) How to do Critical Discourse Analysis.
7. Richardson, J. (2007) Analysing Newspapers. An Approach from Critical Discourse Analysis.
8. Royce, T. D. (2006). Intersemiotic Complementarity. A Framework for Multimodal Discourse Analysis. In T. D. Royce, & W. Bowcher (Eds.), New Directions in the Analysis of Multimodal Discourse (pp. 63-109).
9. Van Gorp, B. (2010) Strategies to take the Subjectivity out of Framing Analysis. In P. D’Angelo, & J. A. Kuypers (Eds.), Doing News Framing Analysis. Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives (pp. 84-109).
10. Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (eds., 2016) Methods of Critical Discourse Studies.

Teaching methods

▪ Lectures ▪ Presentations

Assessment methods

▪ Attendance ▪ Final Paper ▪ Participation ▪ Presentation

How to Apply for Media Representations and Research Methods Summer School?

To apply for this Summer School course, please visit the DreamApply website

Geopolitics Summer School

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