International Politics (Course number WWS 541)
This web-syllabus is designed to be used throughout the semester. Below you will find links to the readings for class sessions. Where possible, reading assignments have been linked to electronic versions available on the Internet. Otherwise, the assignment is available at the library and the bookstore. 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.
It is not the first time the world has witnessed a retreat from global cooperation. Just as President Donald Trump declared an “America first” foreign policy at his 2017 inauguration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced at his first inauguration “Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are secondary... to the establishment of a sound national economy. I favor as a practical policy the putting of first things first.”
But Roosevelt also vowed in that speech to “spare no effort to restore world trade by international economic readjustment.” Some years later, a new set of institutions embodied Roosevelt’s promised effort. In 1944, the world founded the IMF and the World Bank – to prevent the beggar-thy-neighbor policies that preceded the Great Depression. The following year, the United Nations was established – to provide a forum to prevent a repetition of the atrocities of World War II.
What are the root causes of international conflict? Are governments willing to sacrifice sovereignty to international institutions to prevent war? What role does global economic integration play in preventing war and promoting cooperation? Do domestic politics matter for international affairs?
This introduction to international politics examines theories and empirical evidence about (1) the causes of wars, (2) the international institutions designed to prevent them, and (3) underlying international economic forces that have provoked some of the world's worst crises.
Learning goals and pedagogy:
Recognizing the broad scope of the course goals, we will rely on multiple learning methods to reinforce the various take-away messages.
Requirements and assignments:
(I have an Excel file programmed to randomly select students, so come to class prepared.)
Details on the structure of each assignment will be provided in class as due dates (TBD) approach.
The body of the policy memo should be 4 pages. Note that this is considered LONG in most country capitals (e.g., Washington, DC.). But it is short by academic standards. Therefore, students will also submit appendices to their memos. The appendix should include figures, tables, notes, and (importantly) scholarly references. We will strive for concise writing (main body) that is backed up by theory and evidence (appendix).
All assignments should have 1 inch margins, be double-spaced, and have 12-point font.
The grade partly depends on how well-referenced the paper is. INCLUDE REFERENCES IN THE TEXT. Endnotes are fine – they do not count against the page limit. Include FULL CITATIONS AT THE END. Students MUST include a reference section. The reference section is considered part of the appendix and does not count against the page limit.
I will grade each assignment (weighted equally in the final grade), as well as the overall class performance, on a curve.
A Outstanding; meets the highest standards for the assignment.
A- Excellent; meets very high standards for the assignment.
B+ Very good; meets high standards for the assignment.
B Good; meets most of the standards for the assignment.
B- More than adequate; shows some reasonable command of the material.
C+ Acceptable; meets basic standards for the assignment.
Note that unjustified lateness will result in dropping the grade by 1/3 per day.
Course book available for purchase at the bookstore and on reserve at the library:
Class 2 (Sep 24): Triangulating peace
Class 3 (Oct 1): Civil war
Class 5 (Oct 15): Whence comes democracy?
Class 6 (Oct 22): Domestic politics and foreign policy
Class 7 (Nov 5): The trilemma
Class 8 (Nov 12): The IMF
Class 9 (Nov 19): The World Bank and regional development institutions
Class 10 (Nov 26): The political economy of the UN Security Council
Class 11 (Dec 3): Which country should lead the world?
Class 12 (Dec 10): Thinking big about governance reform