Examination of the basic theoretical concepts in international relations. Introduces the student to systemic, domestic, and individual levels of analysis for assessing foreign policy decisions.
Fariborz Mokhtari ()
Dates: June 29 - August 7, 2015
Why do nations fight? Why do wars occur? How could governments facilitate cooperation to avoid conflict? How could peace be maintained? How do ethics, expediency, and national interest influence international affairs? How do national power, international politics, and sovereignty interact? Is the international system inherently pre-programmed for conflict? Is every nation in a struggle for survival, thus fearful of others? Is the quest for dominance the only choice available to assure survival? These are basic questions addressed in an introductory course on International Relations. Theories of international relations could be grouped in two schools of thought. One is Liberalism that views states to be the main actors in international politics, that internal characteristics shape states? behavior, and that economic interdependence, democracy, and international organizations constitute more compelling influences on states than power calculations. The other is Realism that also sees states as main actors in international relations, but finds human nature, the global structure of state relations, and the struggle to survival, as the main motivators of international relations. We begin our quest to understand international relations with ?Classical Realism? which dominated the study of politics among nations from the 1940s for three decades and re-emerged in the 1990s.
Please consider the date on which the course ends before you plan a vacation or buy tickets for a family cruise. Do not ask to shorten the course & do not ask for an early final exam.
Evaluation will be based on three modes of assessment: test of assigned readings, problem-solving, and class participation. The ?problems? will be IR challenges that are in the news, and students may suggest the cases. Each student will attempt to address the problem in a brief three paragraph written statement as the Secretary of State (or Foreign Minister). The cases will be discussed in class as well. There will be two examinations in this course. The first, a test, will receive 20% of the grade for the course. The second, the final exam, will receive 40% of the grade. The current foreign policy problems to be addressed in writing?perhaps as frequently as once a week?receive 20%. The remaining 20% will be allocated to class participation. Please note: participation necessitates presence in class and informed engagement in discussion. Class attendance is thus crucial since make-ups for missed assignments and discussions will be impractical. To discourage late submission of take-home assignments, an assignment submitted late will be subjected to a 50% grade penalty.
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