GOV f360N • Introduction to International Relations
10:00 AM-11:30 AM
This course surveys theoretical approaches to the study of international relations (IR). Why do nations go to war? Why do states trade with one another, form alliances, or join international organizations? Do the forces of 'globalization' threaten national sovereignty? We confront these issues every day when reading the paper or watching the news, but seldom put them in the context or try to understand the larger patterns that characterize international relations. The readings in this course work toward developing an understanding of recurrent patterns in world politics. Although much of the material we read is somewhat abstract, our goal is to apply contending theoretical perspectives to practical questions and issues in order to draw conclusions relevent to broader policy debates. Among the many topics addressed in the course are the historical development of relations among states, the nature of the international system, security dilemmas, trade and economic interdependence, the North-South conflict, and the challenges of global terrorism and weapons proliferation. This course is designed for undergraduates with an interest in government, international affairs, and public policy. Previous training in political science is not required; we will cover the essential material and relevant literature as we progress. The course has a lecture format, but we will often break for small group discussions and in-class exercises.