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POSC 272 Syllabus

INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Political Science 272

 

Spring 2005 Prof. Kenneth W. Grundy
  223 Mather House, x. 2646
  e-mail address: kwg@po.cwru.edu
  Office Hours: M-W-F: 10:30-11:30
  or by appointment

 

The purpose of this course is to help students develop a curiosity about world affairs, to provide them with sufficient factual (historical and contemporary) background to enable them to discuss current issues intelligently, and to expose them to a variety of sources of information about world affairs. In the process it is hoped that students will gain an ability to be selective and critical about news sources on the subject. Finally, for students who wish to continue their study of political science and international relations, diverse models, analytical perspectives and techniques will be discussed and evaluated. The result will be a vocabulary and base for understanding world events into the future.

The reading assignments from POSC 272 are not burdensome, a grand total of around 600 pages. Because of this, you are expected to read carefully all assignments before the class in which that subject is to be covered and to share your ideas and your information with others. You are expected to read all of that material, as well, since you will be tested on its contents. Reading assignments and classroom coverage do not always overlap. Sometimes the readings elaborate on points made in class. At other times, they present entirely new material. DO BOTH. The professor reserves the right to pop an unannounced quiz, should he feel that the class is lagging in preparation or should he just feel mean-spirited that day. Absence will earn you a zero for such a quiz. Don’t be afraid to plug new information into the concepts you read about in the texts. Today’s newspaper, last week’s “60 Minutes,” a surfing run on the Web, or this week’s Time magazine might help you make sense of some academic jargon or scholarly idea, just as class work should help you better understand current events. Hopefully, they will knit together as the semester progresses. This class is what you make of it, what you put into it. To make this fun, you will have to come to class alive from the neck up, every single day. Notice that I said that you will have to come to class. The instructor will monitor attendance, and repeated absences will be noted and lead to reduced grades. The instructor regards anything more than 4 unexcused absences as excessive. If for some reason you are unable to attend, the instructor expects to be notified in advance or else to be presented with an acceptable excuse afterward — medical, family, interview, legitimate sports or extra-curricular activities. You know the requirements. You know the deadlines. Now prove that you can manage your own affairs.

Mere diligence and industry alone in executing reading assignments is insufficient to ensure a particular performance level on examinations, for, alas, even this early in the twenty-first century considerable variations in intelligence, perception, imagination, and comprehension among individual students continue to persist in their arbitrary and fortuitous way. The readings merely register varying levels of content and sophistication to which the student is exposed, and a student’s final performance rests upon the application of diverse intellectual talents to the factual material and ideas to which the student is exposed.

Grades will be determined on the basis of five components:
Mid-term examination 20%
Media/news assignment 20%
Reaction paper 10%
Final examination 40%
Class attendance & participation 10%
Assignments will be explained in class and in the handouts that accompany this syllabus. When you have questions about the materials or the assignments, ask them. I’ll do my best to answer.

Required Text:

John T. Rourke, International Politics on the World Stage. 10th edition.
Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2005. (paperback)

Course Outline:

I. THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: THEORIES AND APPROACHES
Rourke, Chapters 1-5.

II. THE EVOLUTION OF THE CURRENT STATE SYSTEM
Rourke, Chapters 6 & 7.

III. THE ACTORS: HUMAN NATURE AND STATE BEHAVIOR
A. The Individual
B. The Nation
C. The State
D. The Interstate Organization
E. The INGO and the BINGO
Rourke, Review Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7; read Chapter 8.

IV. STATE BEHAVIOR: CAPABILITIES
Rourke, pages 227-241.

V. TECHNIQUES OF NATIONAL POLICY: DIPLOMACY, PROPAGANDA, ECONOMIC POLICY, ALLIANCE, SUBVERSION, INTELLIGENCE, ESPIONAGE, MILITARISM
Rourke, pages 241-264 and Chapters 10-12 & 14.

VI. LIMITATIONS ON NATIONAL POLICY
A. The Balance of Power
B. Moral Self-Restraint and “World Public Opinion”
C. International Law
D. International Organization
E. Diplomacy
Rourke, Chapters 9, 13-16 (review Chapter 7).

VII. CONTINUITY, CONFLICT, AND CHANGE IN THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER
A. The Geographical Redistribution of Power
B. The Psychological Redistribution of Power
C. The Economic Redistribution of Power

Page last modified: February 2, 2015