Fall 2009 Course Description

The Nature of the International System

Instructor(s): Francis Gavin
Course: P A 387G - The Nature of the International System
Unique Number: 63025
Day & Time: Mondays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.314
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

Description: What forces and factors drive international relations? What are the dangers and opportunities in world politics? Who/what are the most important institutions and actors in the global landscape? What methodologies and theories are most useful for analyzing the international system? Last but not least, how have the answers to these questions changed over time? How has the international system evolved into its current, 21st century form? These are just a few of the core questions that will animate this course.

The Nature of the International System will introduce students to a rigorous analysis of international affairs, teaching them how to identify the factors that motivate foreign policies and private decisions, and to examine the instruments used in the conduct of international relations from a perspective of both theory and practice. As a historian, I will focus on how these issues emerged and evolved over time, in order to provide a richer background and context to our discussions of current and future international relations. We will also learn about and compare different theoretical and methodological approaches to international relations. In doing so, the course will also introduce and explore a number of crucial concepts and issues, including war and peace; international economics; demography, scarcity and sustainability; authority, sovereignty and legitmacy; international law and human rights; global governance and international institutions; and identity, ideas and culture

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