International Politics

Download 55.15 Kb.
Size55.15 Kb.
Georgia State University

Department of Political Science
POLS 8400

International Politics

Spring 2008

GCB 1004

W 4:30-7:00
Dr. John S. Duffield


Office: GCB 1026, 404-413-6164

Office hours: T 9-10:30, W 2:30-4:00 and by appointment

This course introduces graduate students to leading scholarly traditions, debates, and general theoretical approaches to the study of international politics. The focus is on influential theories and paradigms that seek to explain a broad range of international political phenomena rather than more specific issues that are properly the subject of more specialized courses. The course will provide an overview of the theoretical literature in international politics to MA students and lay the foundation for more advanced theoretical study and research for actual and prospective Ph.D. candidates.
In addition, the course seeks to develop each student’s ability to assess critically theoretical scholarship in international politics. By the end of the course, students should be able to answer the following questions: What are the principal theoretical approaches? What do they purport to explain? What are their underlying assumptions and world views? How useful or effective are they? What are their main strengths and weaknesses?

POLS 8400 will meet one time per week and be taught as a seminar. Class meetings will typically consist of a guided discussion of the assigned readings and related materials.
Final grades will be based on the following:
o Attendance (10%) and participation (10%): One-third of a grade point (3.3%) will be deducted for each unexcused absence. The instructor should be notified of all absences in advance, except where this is clearly impossible. A student who misses more than three classes without permission may be dropped from the course. Students are expected (1) to read all assigned texts carefully and thoughtfully prior to the meeting at which they will be discussed, (2) to attend all class meetings (even if you don’t feel you have much to say, you will profit from listening to the discussion), and (3) to participate as actively as possible in class discussion. In addition, students will be responsible for leading the discussion for the assigned readings (one student per reading). Assignments will be determined one week in advance on a rotating basis, and each responsible student should bring copies for everyone of a one-page summary of the reading that addresses the following questions: (1) What does the piece attempt to do and why is it important? (2) How does the piece go about tackling the problem and how well-suited is this approach? (3) What are the principal findings or arguments of the piece, how significant are they, and how much confidence can we have in their validity?
o Four short critical analyses (50%): For each section of the course, you will submit a 4-6 page critical analysis. The paper may focus on a particular reading, issue, or theme. The paper is due at the last class meeting for that section of the course. Each paper is worth 15 points, but because not all students may have experience with this type of assignment, the paper with the lowest grade counts for only 5 points.
o Take-home final exam (30%): The final exam will be distributed at the last class meeting and will be due by 5 pm, Wednesday, April 30. You will be required to write two essays on issues that cut across the major paradigms discussed in class.
In evaluating student performance, I will employ the grading system described in the GSU Catalog:
A = Excellent (4.0)

B = Good (3.0)

C = Average (2.0)

D = Poor (but passing) (1.0)

F = Failure (0.0)
I will award grades on a plus (+) and minus ( ) scale in order to distinguish among performances of differing quality within these broad categories.

We will read most or all of the following books, which are on reserve in the library and available for purchase at local bookstores:
Michael Doyle, Ways of War and Peace: Realism, Liberalism, and Socialism (1997)

Robert Keohane, ed., Neorealism and Its Critics (1986)

Robert Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (1984)

Helen Milner, Interests, Institutions, and Information: Domestic Politics and International Relations (1997)

Martha Finnemore, The Purpose of Intervention (2003)
The other readings are on reserve or easily available through the indicated electronic database:

(R) = on ERes ( Password = lfrlyzgt


This course syllabus provides only a general plan for the course; deviations may be necessary.
Email: I communicate regularly with students by email. To facilitate this process, I will use your “” email address. If you do not check your GSU email account on a regular basis, please arrange for email to be forwarded from that account to the account that you normally use.
Academic Honesty: The Georgia State University policy on Academic Honesty applies to all assignments in this course. Students are responsible for being familiar with the policy, which is available at Forms of academic dishonesty include cheating on exams, unauthorized collaboration, multiple submissions, and plagiarism. Plagiarism includes any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submission of another student’s work as one’s own.
Withdrawals: The last day to withdraw from the course with the possibility of receiving a “W” is Monday, March 3, the semester midpoint. After that date, instructors must give a “WF” to all students who are on their rolls but no longer taking the class. Students who are involuntarily withdrawn may petition the department chair for reinstatement. “W”s and “WF”s can have serious adverse consequences. Hardship withdrawals may be granted after the midpoint when nonacademic emergency situations prevent a student from completing their course work. Hardship withdrawals are subject to restrictions, which are spelled out in the GSU Catalog.
Incompletes: An Incomplete (I) may be given to a student who for nonacademic reasons beyond his or her control is unable to meet the full requirements of the course. In order to qualify for an I, a student must (a) have completed most of the major assignments of the course (generally all but one) and (b) be earning a passing grade in the course (aside from the assignments not completed) in the judgement of the instructor. Further information on Incompletes is available in the GSU Catalog.

I. Introduction and Overview

What are international politics?

Theories of international politics

How to approach theoretical readings

II. Realism and Neorealism
1. Introduction and Classical Realism

What is Realism?

Goals of Realist theory: Explanation? Prediction? Prescription?

Principal forms of Realism

Elements and variants of Classical Realism

Michael Doyle, Ways of War and Peace, Introduction and Part One [assign 1 (Thucydides), 3 (Hobbes), 5; skip chapters 2 and 4; skim 175-91]

Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations, chaps 1-3 (3-35) (R)
For further reading:

Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis (1954)

2. Structural Realism/Neorealism: Kenneth Waltz’s Theory of International Politics

Motives: The value of systemic theories

Assumptions: Actors and system structures

Variables: Stability and capabilities

Explanations of international politics: What is the most stable system?

Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics, chs. 1 and 4-6 (reprinted as chs. 2-5 in Keohane 1986) and 8 (R)

3. Refinements and Extensions of Neorealism

Offensive realism

Balance of threat theory

Offense-defense balance

Contingent realism

Stephen Walt, “Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power,” International Security 9/4 (Spring 1985):1-43 [skim 19-32] (J)

Thomas Christensen and Jack Snyder, “Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks: Predicting Alliance Patterns in Multipolarity,” International Organization 44/2 (Spring 1990): 137-68 (J)

Charles Glaser, “Realists as Optimists: Cooperation as Self-Help,” International Security 19/3 (Winter 1994/5): 50-90 (J)

John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001): 1-54 (R)
4. Critiques of Neorealism

Empirical validity

Theoretical consistency

Robert Keohane, “Theory of World Politics: Structural Realism and Beyond,” in Keohane 1986 [skim 175-80]

Paul Schroeder, “Historical Reality versus Neo-Realist Theory,” International Security 19 (Summer 1994): 108-48 (J)

John Vasquez, “The Realist Paradigm and Degenerative versus Progressive Research Programs,” APSR 91/4 (Dec. 1997): 899-912 (J)

Jeff Legro and Andrew Moravcsik, “Is Anybody Still a Realist?” International Security 24/2 (1999): 5-55 (J)

David Lake, “Escape from the State of Nature: Authority and Hierarchy in World Politics,” IS 32/1 (Summer 2007): 47-79 (available from Project Muse through Electronic Journal Locator on GSU Library home page)

III. Institutionalism
1. Introduction and Precursors

Characteristics of institutionalism

Commonalities with realism

Differences with realism

Variants of institutionalism



Introduction to regime theory


David Mitrany, “The Functional Approach to World Organization,” International Affairs 24/3 (July 1948): 350-60 (J)

Ernst Haas, “International Integration: The European and the Universal Process,” International Organization 15, no. 3 (Summer 1961): 366-92 (J)

Stephen Krasner, “Structural Causes and Regime Consequences,” IO 36/2 (Spring 1982): 185-205 (J)

Stephen Krasner, “Regimes and the Limits of Realism,” IO 36/2 (Spring 1982): 497-510 (J)

Andreas Hasenclever, Peter Mayer, and Volker Rittberger, Theories of International Regimes, ch. 2, “Conceptual Issues: Defining International Regimes” (R)

John Duffield, “Neoliberal Institutionalism” (ms)
2. Functional Theory of International Regimes: Robert Keohane’s After Hegemony

Motivation: why develop a functional theory?

Definitions: cooperation and regime

Explanation of regime formation and persistence

Application to post-war regimes/cooperation

Limitations of theory and application


Robert Keohane, After Hegemony, chs. 1-6, 9 [assign 4-6, 9]

3. Extensions, Critiques, and Responses

Alternative cooperation problems and variations in institutional form

Purposes and uses of international organizations

Obstacles to regime formation and compliance


Lisa Martin, “Interests, Power, and Multilateralism,” IO 46/4 (1992): 765-92 [skip 783-91] (J)

Kenneth Abbott and Duncan Snidal, “Why States Act Through Formal Organizations,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 42/1 (Feb. 1998): 3-32 (J)

Joseph Grieco, “Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation,” IO 42/4 (Autumn 1988): 485-507 (J)

John J. Mearsheimer, "The False Promise of International Institutions," International Security 19/3 (Winter 1994/94): 5 49 [skip 27-46] (J)

Lisa Martin and Robert Keohane, "The Promise of Institutionalist Theory." International Security 20/1 (Summer 1995): 39 51(J)

IV. Liberalism
1. Introduction and Classical Liberalism

Liberalism: Explanation or Prescription?

Common Denominators: Non-state actors, domestic politics

Complex Interdependence


Doyle, Ways of War and Peace, Part Two [assign Locke/Bentham; Smith/Schumpeter, Kant; skim 284-99]

Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, “Realism and Complex Interdependence,” ch. 2 of Keohane and Nye, Power and Interdependence (1977): 23-37 (R)

Andrew Moravcsik, “Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics,” International Organization 51, no. 4 (Autumn 1997): 513-53 [skim 525-32] (J)

2. Rational Liberalism

Interests vs policy preferences

Role of domestic political institutions

Role of information


Helen Milner, Interests, Institutions, and Information, chs. 1-4 [skim 76-95] and 9

Each student will also be assigned one of the four case study chapters
3. Transnationalism

Transnational actors

Epistemic communities

Transnational advocacy networks


Joseph Nye and Robert Keohane, “Introduction” and “Conclusion,” International Organization 25/3, Transnational Relations and World Politics (Summer 1971): 329-49 and 721-48 [skip 737-47] (J)

Peter Haas, “Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination,” IO 46/1 (1992): 1-35 (J)

Thomas Risse-Kappen, ed., “Introduction,” Bringing Transnational Relations Back In, 3-33 (R)

Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, “Introduction,” Activists Beyond Borders (1998), 1-38 (R)

V. Social Constructivism

1. Introduction to Social Constructivism


Normative approaches in regime theory

Common denominators: Endogeneity of actor interests and identities

Conventional versus critical/post-modern constructivism

Friedrich Kratochwil and John Ruggie, “IO: A State of the Art of the Art of the State,” IO 40/4 (Autumn 1986): 754-75 (J)

Martha Finnemore, “Norms, Culture, and World Politics: Insights from Sociology’s Institutionalism,” IO 50/2 (1996): 325-47 (J)

John Gerard Ruggie, “What Makes the World Hang Together?” IO 52/4 (Fall 1998): 855-885 (J)

Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy is What States Make of It,” IO 46/2 (Spring 1992): 391-425 (J)
2. The Construction of International Norms

Martha Finnemore, The Purpose of Intervention (entire) [assign chs. 2, 3, and 4]

3. Refinements and Critiques
Martha Finnemore and Katherine Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” IO 52/4 (Autumn 1998); 887-917 (J)

Thomas Risse, “Let’s Argue: Communicative Action in International Relations,” IO 54/1 (Winter 2000): 1-39 (J)

Dale Copeland, “The Constructivist Challenge to Structural Realism: A Review Essay,” International Security 25 (Fall 2000): 187-212 (J)

James Fearon and Alexander Wendt, “Rationalism vs Constructivism: A Skeptical View,” in Carlsnaes, Risse, and Simmons, eds., Handbook of International Relations (2002): 52-72 (R)

Download 55.15 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page