University of Vermont

UVM Course Directory

POLS 051 – Intro International Relations

Credits: 3.00

Course Description: Examines the major theories of international relations, important concepts in the study of international relations (such as the balance of power and democratic peace theory), dilemmas leaders face when formulating foreign policies, and current international events.

Section Description: What causes conflict in the international system? How can cooperation between countries be attained? The first part of this course will address these questions and more as we explore key concepts in international relations by examining the work of both classic and contemporary writers. We will cover the field's major schools of thought (realism, liberalism and constructivism) and address specific questions, such as whether the US is likely to remain the world's top power, what does China's rise mean for the U.S., and does democracy promotion work? The second part of the course will examine instances of major wars, applying the concepts learned in the first part of the course. We will also look for parallels between these wars and ongoing conflicts to gain insight into current events. The final part of the course will address global problems and the ability of states to work cooperatively to solve them. Starting with a discussion of international political economy, we will explore a variety of topics, from terrorism to climate change. As we do, we will focus our discussions on whether and how states can cooperate in a world where might often seems to make right. In this course, you will: 1) learn how to interpret current events, think about how they will play out, and relate them to events of the past, 2) learn how to evaluate theories, read analytically, and argue persuasively, 3) explore dominant theories of international relations, become acquainted with classic texts in the field, and read contemporary arguments on how to deal with some of the world’s most pressing problems and 4) increase your ability to make a difference in the world by gaining a more nuanced understanding of the problems plaguing our world.

CRN: 14776

Section: B

Enrolled/Seats: 58/58

Days Time Location
TR 10:05 - 11:20 LAFAYETTE HALL L403

Instructor(s): Melissa Margaret Willard-Foster

Meeting Dates: 13 Jan 2020 - 01 May 2020