This class will cover the major issues in international relations since the end of World War II. We will discuss a variety of topics from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. Some of the topics we will cover include: the causes of interstate war; ethnic conflict; foreign policy decision-making; economic development; the North-South gap; international trade, globalization; economic interdependence; the environment; population; the UN and other international organizations; and international law.
More than centering on US foreign policy or US history, the class will discuss these topics from a broad international perspective. Although this is by no means a history class, I will go over a fair bit of history to provide context for our current debates in international relations. Also, we will spend relatively little time discussing particular countries and their internal politics and problems, rather focusing on their relations with each other.
The goal for this course is to further your understanding of facts about international relations, but also to help you develop analytical tools for thinking about important questions in world politics regardless of the countries or issues involved. The political science approach to international politics is a mix of ideas and data, that is, conceptual tools that help us understand particular sets of facts about a wide range of topics. It is hoped that students will leave the course with a better understanding of world politics and how to think about world politics.