Syllabus 2016

Dr. J. Mitchell
Fr 800
Office Hours TTh 930-1100 & F 730-8
[email protected]
Spring 2016
Office: ST 227
This course encompasses an advanced inquiry to the origins, evolution, and current status
of theoretical approaches to the study of international relations. Theories that inform
political science can be expected to provide the foundation for the study and conduct of
public affairs. This is true, in particular, for international affairs. Whether or not
expectations conform with reality is not always altogether certain. This course will
provide the student with a study of international relations theories and their empirical
It is important that the student stay abreast of current events involving international
relations. This should not be a difficult task given the tremendous amount of attention
present being paid in the media to events across the globe. The fact that the United States
is in the midst of a war against terror provides an additional challenge in effort to
accurately determine prevailing theoretical constructs.
Students will demonstrate a global perspective choosing disciplinary theories,
concepts and, frameworks to organize and analyze international political
Viotti and Kauppi, International Relations Theory 5e (VK)
Art/Jervis, International Politics (AJ) optional.
Readings for both texts can be found online. Simply search for the articles assigned.
READINGS-You should complete them before the class meetings.
EXAMS-There will be a take-home examination distributed on March 11. It will be due
on March 18. The final exam will be distributed on May 6. It will be due May 13.
PAPER-A 15-page (2500 word minimum) paper will be due on April 22. Topics will be
discussed in class. You will also present your study in class when the paper is submitted.
No late papers will be accepted
GRADING-The grade will be based 25% on the mid-term and 35% on the paper and,
30% on the final 10% of your grade will be based on classroom participation which
might include the occasional quiz.
I would prefer to keep the class as laissez-faire as possible. For example, there is no class
attendance policy. There is a participation grade and one should probably attend class in
order to earn a favorable participation assessment. Still, attendance is your choice. There
are requirements which may or, may not, be deal breakers for you.
1) Cell phone activity is not allowed in class at all. Please make the cell phones
disappear once class begins. They are not to reappear until class ends.
2) Students are required to be prepared to discuss a current event on a daily basis.
Every student must be prepared with a current event daily and is liable to be
called on to offer one involuntarily.
3) Cooperative conduct is expected including keeping chat with classmates during
class to a minimum.
Week 1
January 29
Introduction to the Study of International Relations Theory
review any introductory text in IR with attention paid to
theory, levels-of-analysis, and history. We will also
examine the tenets of realism.
Week 2
February 5
Realism Examined
This week we further investigate the contours of realism
and the conduct of international relations and statecraft.
We will investigate the viability of realpolitik as a modality
for strategic behavior and attendant criticism.
VK, chs. 1
AJ, preface (particularly acknowledgements) & pp. 1-7
Week 3
February 12
Realism II
VK, ch. 2
AJ, Part I
Week 4
February 19
Liberalism: Interdependence and Global Governance
focus here will be on the task of forging cooperative
relationships among actors in a pluralist global
environment. The assumption here is that there exists a
complex conglomeration of participants in global affairs
whose salience is inextricably bound up in the challenge
of mitigating anarchy.
VK, ch. 3
Week 5
February 26
Liberalism II
AJ, pp. 76-132
Week 6
March 4
Economic Structuralism
This section will investigate the belief that the world is not,
of necessity comprised of atomized units absent a central
identity or focus. This image views world affairs as
part of a bigger picture, with the behavior of actors almost
wholly contingent upon the larger systemic environment.
VK, ch. 4
Week 7
March 11
Mid-Term Week
Review and Exam
Week 8
March 18
Force in Global Affairs
As recent events have indicated, the utility of the use of
force is still with us. Often that struggle is asymmetric and
not among traditional actors. The nature and uses of force
will be the focus.
AJ Part II
Week 9
March 20
International Political Economy
International relations are comprised of political and
economic activities, among others. We will look at
the nature of IPE this week.
Week 10
April 8
Issues in International Affairs
This week we will look at world order issues, the
type that, at least theoretically, ought to engage
international actors collectively
AJ Human Rights and Global Governance
Week 11
April 15
The English School
VK, chapter 5
Week 12
April 22
Constructivism I
VK, chapter 6
Week 13
April 29
Critical Theory
VK, chapter 7
VK, chapter 8
Week 14
May 6
Final Examination
Normative Theory I
VK, chapter 9
Exam distributed
Due May 13