This course will examine the basic dynamics of international relations. It will explore how the countries and peoples of the world interact in this era of increasing global interdependence. Students will investigate both the roots of international conflict and the potential for international cooperation. These efforts will provide students with the ability to analyze and evaluate current international politics in a more thoughtful and comprehensive manner.
The course will begin with an overview of the basic structures, processes, and actors of the contemporary international system. It will also introduce important concepts in world politics such as power, anarchy, sovereignty, peace, security, conflict, and cooperation. In addition, it will consider how these basic features of international relations have evolved over time. With this background information in hand, students will investigate the politics associated with addressing different global problems such as war, weapons proliferation, arms control, nationalism, economic development, trade, human rights, and the environment. In the case of each issue covered in class, students will be challenged to consider the potential for both conflict and cooperation between countries.
Students must be prepared to complete the assigned readings before class each day so that they may actively and effectively participate in class discussion. This preparation will also enable each student to develop their own perspectives on the complex issues that will be addressed. In addition, students will have the opportunity to learn from each other through a series of group activities.
Smith, Courtney, "International Relations" (2001). Diplomacy Syllabi. 1.