Introduction to International Relations
This course provides an introduction to key contemporary international problems and the means to analyze them. Major parts of the course cover such topics as the dynamics of conflict and cooperation, the processes of foreign policy decision-making, major international economic issues, and basic future trends in global politics. The course also provides an overview of the primary perspectives and analytical approaches for studying world politics. The overall objective is to give students sufficient awareness of the interaction of political, technological, economic, and social factors to permit a critical appreciation of the contemporary international environment and ways of thinking about the future.
Your final course grade is calculated as follows:
Class Attendance 5%
Class Presentation 10%
Take Home Assignment 5%
Research Paper 20%
Midterm Exam 25%
Final Exam 35%
You are expected to attend class regularly and take notes. I will take attendance each class period at the beginning of class. Attendance and participation in class will account for 5% of your final course grade. You will be allowed to miss one lecture throughout the semester that will not count against your final attendance grade. I will use material for lecture that is not covered in the readings. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to get the lecture notes from a classmate. I will not, under any circumstances, give my lecture notes to students.
Each student will be required to lead a debate on a given topic with one other student. The class presentations are scheduled on four days: February 13th, February 27th, April 3rd, and April 17th. You will sign up for one of the topics listed on the syllabus. I will give each student a copy of two short articles that outline both sides of the debate over the given topic. In addition to presenting one side of the debate in class, you will need to summarize your position in a 1-2 page paper that will be due the day of your presentation.
Take Home Assignment
There will be no classes the week after spring break (March 16-March 20) because I will be attending a conference in Minneapolis. During this period, I expect you to complete a brief assignment that will be handed out on Wednesday, March 4th. It will be due in class on Monday, March 23rd.
You will write a five-page essay in response to a question that will be distributed at least three weeks before the paper is due. In the paper you will make an argument and support it with evidence from the readings and class discussion. Your goal is to demonstrate sophisticated analytical and critical thinking about the topic in question. The research paper is due on Friday, April 10th. I will not accept late papers under any circumstances and you will receive a zero if you do not turn in the research paper on time.
There are two exams in this course, a midterm exam and a comprehensive final exam. The format of the exams is a combination of short answer and essay questions. The midterm exam is scheduled on Monday, March 2nd, and the final exam is scheduled on Friday, May 1st from 7:30-9:30am. Make-up exams will be given only to students with medical or personal emergencies (death in the family). If an emergency arises, you will need to contact me before the exam or you will receive zero credit. I will be strict on this policy.
Kegley, Charles W., Jr. and Eugene R. Wittkopf. 1997. World Politics: Trend and Transformation. New York: St. Martins Press.
Vasquez, John A. and Marie T. Henehan. 1992. The Scientific Study of Peace and War: A Text Reader. New York: Lexington Books.
Outline of Topics and Weekly Readings
Wednesday, Jan. 7, Introduction and Overview of Course
Friday, Jan. 9, A Theoretical Approach for the Study of International Relations
Monday, Jan. 12, Realism and Neorealism
Wednesday, Jan. 14, Liberalism and Idealism
Friday, Jan. 16, The Modern State System
Monday, Jan. 19 , No Class, Martin Luther King Day
Wednesday, Jan. 21, International and Internal Determinants of Foreign Policy Behavior
Friday, Jan. 23, Conceptualization and Measurement of Conflict
Monday, Jan. 26 , Power and Instruments of Power
Wednesday, Jan. 28, Balance of Power and Polarity I
Friday, Jan. 30, Balance of Power and Polarity II
Monday, Feb. 2, Hegemony
Wednesday, Feb. 4, Alliances and Great Power War
Friday, Feb. 6, Capability Distribution, Uncertainty, and Major Power War
Monday, Feb. 9, Power Transition Theory
Wednesday, Feb. 11, Arms Races and War
Friday, Feb. 13, Student Presentations
Topic 1: Has the world become a more dangerous place since the end of the Cold War?
Topic 2: Is it wise to expand NATO membership?
Monday, Feb. 16, Coercive Diplomacy and Bargaining
Wednesday, Feb. 18, Rational Choice Theories of War
Friday, Feb. 20, Great Power Politics
Monday, Feb. 23, Liberal Paths to Peace
Wednesday, Feb. 25, Ethnic Conflict and Nationalism
Friday, Feb. 27, Student Presentations
Topic 3: Is Islamic fundamentalism a threat to political stability?
Topic 4: Is nationalism destructive?
Monday, Mar. 2, MIDTERM EXAM
Wednesday, Mar. 4, Inside the State: The Limitations of Realism
Friday, Mar. 6, Liberalism, Mercantilism, and Hegemony
Monday, Mar. 9, No Class, Spring Break
Wednesday, Mar. 11, No Class, Spring Break
Friday, Mar. 13, No Class, Spring Break
Monday, Mar. 16, No Class, International Studies Association Meetings
Wednesday, Mar. 18, No Class, International Studies Association Meetings
Friday, Mar. 20, No Class, International Studies Association Meetings
Monday, Mar. 23, Bretton Woods
Wednesday, Mar. 25, International Trade
Friday, Mar. 27, European Union, North American Free Trade Agreement
Monday, Mar. 30, International Organizations/United Nations
Wednesday, Apr. 1, International Monetary Policy
Friday, Apr. 3, Student Presentations
Topic 5: Should China be admitted to the World Trade Organization?
Topic 6: Is the current trend toward global economic integration desirable?
Monday, Apr. 6, North-South Gap
Wednesday, Apr. 8, Theories of Underdevelopment
Friday, Apr. 10, Multinational Corporations
Monday, Apr. 13, Globalization I
Wednesday, Apr. 15, Globalization II
Friday, Apr. 17, Student Presentations
Topic 7: Should the developed North increase aid to the less developed South?
Topic 8: Should foreign policy makers minimize human rights concerns?
Monday, Apr. 20, The Demography of World Politics
Wednesday, Apr. 22, The Ecology of World Politics
Friday, Apr. 24, Toward the 21st Century
Friday, May 1, FINAL EXAM, 7:30-9:30am