#1, Overview

An Overview of the Course
1. course description
2. textbook
3. requirements
1. course description
a. introduce principles of
international politics
i. class assumes no previous
background in the field, but at
least some awareness of current
events and interest in them
ii. course can be an introduction
into higher-level ones in IR or in
other disciplines linked to
international studies
iii. lectures and discussion sections balance among formats for
iv. curriculum
includes an introduction to
major theoretical perspectives
in the field, linked to both
historical evidence and current
events as relevant
v. LOTR used to facilitate learning – a very complete world with
its own international relations
b. begin with foundations
i. talk first about states, which are
the major players in
international politics
ii. nature of foreign policy – basic
actions of states
iii. the realist approach – the
standard within the field for over
a century – is introduced
iv. the major contemporary variant
of realism, structural realism, is
singled out for further attention
v. continue with perspectives on,
and a description of, foreign
policy, in terms of both process
and action
vi. will cover both national
security and political economy
vii. emphasis on US, given
greater familiarity, but not
viii. find this happens naturally
because of US’ central role in
20th century
c. power politics is next
i. we will cover the exercise
of power among states
ii. interstate bargaining will
receive in-depth treatment
iii. e.g., we explore the
connection of domestic and
international politics
d. turn next to strategic
i. assess how
preferences of states
affect what happens
between and among
ii. this includes
subjects ranging from
deterrence to ethnic
iii. success in international politics is not
always about power, but instead often about
tactics, as in the case of US and North
Korea regarding nuclear weapons and
economic assistance
iv. the roles played by preferences
and perceptions among actors will
take us beyond the foundations of
the field, which focus exclusively
on states as actors
e. international organizations
i. explore limits to state power as well through a focus on
international organizations, a topic of increasing interest in
ii. global (UN) and regional (EU) in focus
finish with specific attention
to interstate war
i. look at the causes
of war from a range
of perspectives
ii. focus on
democracy and peace
as the major area of
research right now
on the causes of war
2. textbook, etc.
a. one book for purchase
b. useful items (e.g., syllabus,
review sheets) can be
downloaded from Blackboard
lectures/book are not substitutes for each other
3. requirements
a. mid-term exam will be in essay
format, -- 30%
b. final exam, also in essay format,
is -- 50%
c. attendance, class participation and
exercises -- 20%
-- note -- cellphones, misuse of
computers, lateness etc., will cause
a reduction in your final grade