PLSC 300D: The Scientific Study of War
MWF 1:40pm / LSC
This course provides an introduction to and overview of the concepts and approaches related to the causes of war, conflict, and peace in the international system. The main topics of the course are: (1) an introduction to understanding war as a social science topic, (2) the origins of the demands and disputes that can lead to war, (3) the escalation of these, (4) the expansion of war, (5) the consequences of war, and (6) the possibility of peace. The goal is to understand the typical path to war. Why do some states choose force while others do not? What do we know about conflict from both data based investigations and traditional case based studies? We will also be covering recent relevant security issues and debates. We will not be covering internal or civil wars since these are wars of a different “type” and require a different theoretical background. This course will treat war as a natural phenomenon that must be understood before it can be mitigated. Doing so requires scientific investigation. You should not be in this class if you are unwilling to accept the idea that war can be understood scientifically.
PLSC 351: Latin American International System
TTh 10:00am / LSC
This course examines how the international system has affected Latin America, as well as how the region fits into and has reacted to that system. During the semester we will look at Latin America's international interactions historically from the independence period in the 1820s through the post-Cold War period. We will concurrently focus on the foreign policy options of the nations in the region, considering their possibilities and limitations. At the end of this course, you will have a solid understanding of how US influence, revolutionary insurgencies, trade, the illicit narcotics traffic, human rights concerns, and international organizations have both positively and negatively affected Latin America.
PLSC 353: International Law
Wed 4:15pm / LSC
This course will introduce students to the study of international law. Emphasis will be placed on both international legal concepts and theoretical issues, as well as the application of international law in the analysis of several case studies. Topics will focus on the development and use of international law in the conduct of international relations, with special emphasis placed on such current topics as laws of war, law of the sea, diplomatic immunity and human rights.
PLSC 356: Intervention in World Politics
Tue 4:15pm / LSC
This course focuses on the hotly debated topic of "intervention" in world politics: the purposeful and calculated use of political, economic, and military instruments by one country to influence the domestic or foreign policies of another country. Among the tools of intervention to be examined include economic and military aid, economic sanctions, covert intervention, paramilitary intervention, and direct military intervention. During the course of the semester, we will explore the evolution of United States interventionist practices in all regions of the world. Our time-frame of analysis will be the post-cold war era (1989-present), with a special emphasis on evolving policies under the new Obama administration (January 2009-present). As a result of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and their aftermath, this course particularly focuses on contemporary U.S. interventionist practices in South Asia (especially Afghanistan and Pakistan) and the larger Middle East region (most notably Iran and Iraq). We will also be examining U.S. responses to the “Arab spring” and regime changes that have taken place in the North African countries of Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.
PLSC 363: International Politics
MWF 2:45pm / LSC
This course is an advanced exploration of the field of international relations, with a strong focus on IR theory. Students will explore both the theoretical core, and the most recent and interesting developments in IR theory. The course will focus strongly on connecting theoretical discussions to real-world political events and developments within the international system. Theoretical topics will include realism, liberalism, constructivism, the English School, poststructuralism, Marxism/critical theory, postcolonialism, feminism, and green theory; along with substantive topics such as war, international organizations, globalization, terrorism, or democracy. The goal is to enable students to assess and critique cutting-edge developments in IR theory and help them draw connections between theories of international relations and the actual conduct of world politics.
PLSC 364: UN & International Organizations
TTh 11:30am / LSC
This course focuses on the major concepts and theories in the study of international organizations (IOs). In order to illustrate various theoretical approaches, we will use more than a dozen organizations (such as the U.N., the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organization). Although the course does not involve large-scale simulations (as PLSC 367: Model United Nations) it will offer a variety of smaller scale interactive activities that are intended to illustrate bargaining and negotiations among states in various IOs.