University of Vermont

UVM Course Directory

POLS 150 – International Security

Credits: 3.00

Course Description: Theoretical and empirical examination of the security of the international system and the states within it, with particular emphasis on 21st century security challenges. Prerequisite: POLS 051.

Section Description: Why do nations go to war when fighting is costly for everyone involved? Why do the weak sometimes challenge the strong, and why do the weak occasionally win? Can the spread of nuclear weapons be stopped and, equally important, should it be? Can terrorists, insurgents and rogue leaders be deterred, or are they too irrational to back down? These are some of the questions we will be addressing this semester as we explore the field of international security. We will begin the course with a brief review of the theories of conflict you would have encountered in POLS 051. We will then examine the origins of specific conflicts, both historical and contemporary, with the goal of assessing the ability of dominant IR theories to explain these phenomena. Finally, we will turn to some of the field’s most recent debates on such issues as nuclear weapons, asymmetric warfare, terrorism and counter-insurgency. The goal of this course is to acquaint students with the central issues and debates that drive the field of international security, as well as to give them a solid theoretical footing from which to judge the threat and use of force today.

CRN: 13065

Section: A

Enrolled/Seats: 40/40

Days Time Location
TR 13:15 - 14:30 LAFAYETTE HALL L302

Instructor(s): Melissa Margaret Willard-Foster

Meeting Dates: 13 Jan 2020 - 01 May 2020