KOREA University International Summer Campus:  
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION
Course number ISC 335
Room number Woodang Hall 306
TIME: 9am-10:40am

Instructor: James Raymond Vreeland (Georgetown University)
Email: jrv24@georgetown.edu
Global KU Frontier Spirit Office: Woodang Hall 310
Office hours: Mon-Thurs 10:45am-3:30pm
Global KU Frontier Spirit home page (click here)

This web-syllabus is designed to be used throughout the semester. Below you will find links to the readings for each of the 23 class sessions. Where possible, reading assignments have been linked to electronic versions available on the Internet. Otherwise, the assignment is available at the library. Students visiting this page for the first time should read through the entire syllabus. If you have any questions or comments about the web page or the course, please contact me.

Students: 75% of the readings listed below are simply suggested not required. I put them here just in case some day in the future students decide to do further research on anything we cover – so students should not be scared by the length of this syllabus. As for the required reading, there is at most one article per class. Some class sessions require you read only some web pages. I understand that we will be meeting 4 days per week and this does not allow ample time to do a lot of reading. Students should plan just to skim the readings marked "required" before class - the lecture will reinforce the main points of the readings (students are encouraged to return to the readings after class to reinforce the main points covered in lecture.

Be sure to click on the links throughout the syllabus – some of them bring you to fun stuff!

  • Course Description
  • Requirements
  • June 30: Introduction
  • July 1: What is the role of international organizations and do they really matter?
  • July 2: The IMF Part 1 – History and Background (Who controls the IMF?)
  • July 6: The IMF Part 2 – Why do governments enter into IMF programs and with what effects?
  • July 7: Regional Monetary Funds? (The Asian Monetary Fund)
  • July 8: Development organizations Part 1 – The World Bank
  • July 9: Development organizations Part 2 – Regional Development Organizations (The Asian Development Bank)
  • July 13: The United Nations Security Council Part 1 – The Permanent Five
  • July 14: The United Nations Security Council Part 2 – The Elected Ten
  • July 15: The United Nations Security Council Part 3 – Reform... a new permanent seat for Japan?
  • July 16: Review for Mid-term exam
  • July 20: Mid-term exam
  • July 21: Human Rights Part 1 – The United Nations Human Rights Conventions
  • July 22: Human Rights Part 2 – The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
  • July 23: Security Organizations – NATO
  • July 27: The Institutions of the European Union
  • July 28: The European Monetary Union
  • July 29: The World Trade Organization
  • July 30: What role do international organizations play in promoting democracy?
  • Aug 3: Whither global governance?
  • Aug 4: Review for Final exam
  • Aug 5: Final exam
  • Aug 6: What does it mean to "explain"?

    Course Description:

    What are International Organizations (IOs)? In this course we will examine various IOs, considering their historical origins, ostensible functions, the international and domestic political forces that impact their operations and their effectiveness.

    What role to IOs play in global politics? Some think their role is very small. Others argue that they fulfill their important stated purposes. Still others argue that governments use them to pursue their own private goals. In my research, I have argued that international organizations can be used to do the "dirty work" of governments – they can "launder" dirty politics – they can be scapegoats – in short, they can be the "dark knight" (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse).

    We will begin the course by addressing some overarching theoretical and methodological issues so that we have a core set of analytical tools we can apply to our study of specific IOs. From a theoretical perspective, we will consider various paradigms, such as realist, liberal, bureaucratic, and constructivist. From a methodological point of view, we will be concerned with questions of endogeneity and non-random selection. That is, separating the circumstances under which IOs take action from the inherent effects of their actions.

    Delving into specific IOs, we begin with the International Financial Institutions (the IMF and the World Bank). We then turn to the United Nations (Security Council, Peacekeeping Operations, Human Rights). We subsequently analyze IOs dealing with Europe (NATO, EU). Next we consider international trade organizations (the GATT/WTO and regional trade organizations). We end the semester by considering some broad themes regarding IOs, specifically the effects that they may have on the promotion of democracy and on how democratically (or not) they are governed themselves.

    As we examine each institution, we will keep several questions in mind:

  • Does this international organization represent anything more than the interests of its most powerful members?
  • How are the foreign policy goals of its most powerful members pursued – or not?
  • What role do domestic politics play when countries interact with the international organizations?
  • How does the pursuit of the private incentives of individuals working in IOs influence IO effectiveness?
  • What ideas and norms in international politics influenced the creation of the various IOs and what impact have the IOs in turn had on international ideas and norms?

    Thus, we are concerned with the political economy of international organizations. As in other courses in political economy, we will grapple with centralized versus decentralized mechanisms of allocation, where the two mechanisms often interact. In International Political Economy, we consider the ways in which the various centralized and decentralized mechanisms of allocation within specific countries have effects across borders. The market forces and government policies in one country affect those in other countries – for example, there are economic, security, and environmental externalities.

    From this point of view, IOs can be considered responses to failures of decentralized mechanisms of allocation at the international level, or, simply put, responses to international market failures. IOs are thus supranational centralized allocation mechanisms, which may or may not effectively achieve their ostensible goals. When evaluating whether these centralized mechanisms of allocation achieve their intended goals, it will be important to consider not just their inherent effects, but also an important counterfactual: what the world would be like in their absence? Note, the course makes no a priori judgments about the value of IOs, and students are encouraged to think critically about the constellation of IOs in the world. The course requires only that students consider both centralized and decentralized mechanisms of allocation as viable solutions to international problems – there is no assumed ideological preference for one approach over the other.

    The challenges of trying to understand the interests, institutions, and information of actors in an international context are great, and much remains to be learned. The course is designed not just to familiarize students with IOs, but also to stimulate their curiosity about questions that really have yet to be answered satisfactorily. An important goal of the course is also the equip students with the analytical tools required to address such questions.


    Requirements:

    The course grade will be determined by class participation & attendance (5%), the mid-term exam (50%), and the (non-cumulative) final exam (45%). Students are expected to prepare for the exam by coming to class, studying their notes from class, and doing the required reading. Readings (only those marked "required") should be skimmed before class - they will be reinforced through lecture. For each class, copious amounts of "suggested further reading" are provided. Students are *NOT* expected to do the "suggested further reading." It is provided for you in case you ever decide to do further research on a topic in the future.


    Course Outline

    June 30: Introduction
    Class 1 Lecture notes

    July 1: What is the role of international organizations and do they really matter?
    Class 2 Lecture notes

    July 2: The IMF Part 1 – History and Background (Who controls the IMF?)
    Class 3 Lecture notes

    July 6: The IMF Part 2 – Why do governments enter into IMF programs and with what effects?
    Class 4 Lecture notes

    July 7: Regional Monetary Funds? (The Asian Monetary Fund)
    Class 5 Lecture notes

    July 8: Development organizations Part 1 – The World Bank
    Class 6 Lecture notes

    July 9: Development organizations Part 2 – Regional Development Organizations (The Asian Development Bank)
    Class 7 Lecture notes

    July 13: The United Nations Security Council Part 1 – The Permanent Five
    Class 8 Lecture notes

    July 14: The United Nations Security Council Part 2 – The Elected Ten
    Class 9 Lecture notes

    July 15: The United Nations Security Council Part 3 – Reform... a new permanent seat for Japan??
    Class 10 Lecture notes

    July 16: Review for Mid-term exam
    Class 11 Lecture notes

      READING ASSIGNMENT:
    • None! Study for the exam :-)

    July 20: Mid-term exam

    July 21: Human Rights Part 1 – The United Nations Human Rights Conventions
    Class 13 Lecture notes

    July 22: Human Rights Part 2 – The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
    Class 14 Lecture notes

    July 23: Security Organizations – NATO
    Class 15 Lecture notes

    July 27: The Institutions of the European Union
    Class 16 Lecture notes

    July 28: The European Monetary Union
    Class 17 Lecture notes

    July 29: The World Trade Organization
    Class 18 Lecture notes

    July 30: What role do international organizations play in promoting democracy?
    Class 19 Lecture notes

    Aug 3: Whither global governance?
    Class 20 Lecture notes

      REQUIRED READING ASSIGNMENT:
    • None! Study for the exam :-)

    Aug 4: Review for Final exam
    Class 21 Lecture notes

      REQUIRED READING ASSIGNMENT:
    • None! Study for the exam :-)

    Aug 5: Final exam

    Aug 6: What does it mean to "explain"?
    Class 23 Lecture notes