Syllabus for Political Science 251
Introduction to International Politics
Christopher L. Ball, Lecturer
Dept. of Political Science
Office Hours: Tu. 2:10-4:10 pm & by appt.
517 Ross Hall
This course examines the political, economic, and ideological factors that shape international politics. The course focuses on relations among sovereign territorial states, but will also study other actors and structures that affect these relations. The course approaches international relations in a historical and theoretical perspective. Scholars of international relations disagree – sometimes quite heatedly – about the best explanations for the patterns of conflict and cooperation among states. This course will introduce you to the central debates and their implications for various historical and contemporary issues.
All students must do the assigned reading. I reserve the right to distribute unannounced in-class quizzes on the assigned readings for the week. In addition to course readings, students should follow current events. The New York Times, The Washington Post or National Public Radio (NPR) news broadcasts (on WOI 640 AM and KTPR 91.1 FM) are excellent daily news sources. I will also post items on the course website.
The main course website is at this URL: <http://www.public.iastate.edu/~pol_s.251>. I will post slides displayed in class, relevant links, and information about the course. There is a WebCT site as well. This will be used to post assigned articles, host a discussion forum, and post grades.
Class Participation: All students should be prepared to participate in class discussions. I will call on students in class by name on a rotating basis. Responses to these questions count toward class participation. Participation is worth 10% of the course grade. Participation in the WebCT discussion forum counts toward your participation too.
Each student has a D as his or her default grade. If students participate well, their grades will be increased. Students who fail to participate or who do so poorly will get a D. Students are not expected to perform Periclean orations, but everyone should be prepared to discuss the assigned readings, current events, and question that I pose. Criticisms of points made in readings, by fellow students, and by yours truly are welcome, and debates may emerge among students. Students should respect their classmates’ contributions, and refrain from partisan or parochial philippics. The purpose of these discussions is not to win imaginary debating points, but to learn beyond solitary reading and unexamined listening.
In-Class Quizzes: There will be 10 in-class short-answer quizzes. Students will be graded on the top 8 quizzes, so each is worth 6.25%, or 50% of the course grade. This scoring system permits students to miss two quizzes without any grade penalty. The quizzes are on most Thursday’s; the dates are noted below. They will take 20 minutes.
Final Exam: A cumulative final exam is worth 40% of the course grade. It will be a longer version of the quizzes.
The final grade will be calculated as follows:
· Participation: 10%
· In-class Quizzes: 50%
· Final Exam: 40%
Each component will be assigned a letter grade, converted to a grade point, and multiplied by its percentage weighting. I do not accept make-up assignments, re-writing of papers, or extra-credit work.
exams is failure for the course.
ISU advises: “If a student has a disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Disability Resources (DR) office for information on appropriate policies and procedures. DR is located on the main floor of the Student Services Building, Room 1076; their phone is 515-294-6624.”
There are three books for purchase at the University bookstore and on reserve at Parks Library. Other articles will be posted to WebCT or the course website.
Lauren, Paul Gordon, et al. Force and Statecraft: Diplomatic Challenges of Our Time. 4th ed, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Mingst, Karen A. Essentials of International Relations. 3rd ed, New York: Norton, 2004.
Sagan, Scott Douglas and Kenneth N. Waltz. The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed: With New Sections on India and Pakistan, Terrorism, and Missile Defense. 2nd ed., New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2003.
9 & 11 Jan.
Mingst, chap.1 & 2 (to p.28)
Lauren, et al., chap.1 & 7
16 & 18 Jan. (Quiz #1)
Mingst, chap. 3
Hobbes, Rousseau, & Kant excerpts at http://www.public.iastate.edu/~pol_s.251/classics.htm
23 & 25 Jan.
IR as a Series of Systems
Mingst, chap. 2 (p.28-38) & 4
Lauren, et al., chap.2-3
30 Jan. & 1 Feb. (Quiz #2)
The Cold War
Mingst, chap. 2 (38 to end)
Lauren et al., chap. 4-5
6 & 8 Feb.
The Post-Cold War System
Lauren, et al., chap. 6
Aaron L. Friedberg, “The Future of U.S.-China Relations: Is Conflict Inevitable?” International Security 30:2 (Fall 2005) WebCT
13 & 15 Feb. (Quiz #3)
The Sovereign Territorial State
Mingst, chap. 5
Christopher Clapham, “The Challenge to the State in a
Globalized World,” Development and Change
33:5 (Nov. 2002) WebCT
20 & 22 Feb. (Quiz #4)
Mingst, chap. 6 & 9 (p.256-269)
27 Feb. & 1 Mar (Quiz #5)
Lauren, et al., chap. 11
6 & 8 Mar. (Quiz #6)
Law & Diplomacy
Mingst, chap. 7
Lauren, et al., chap. 8
20 & 22 Mar. (Quiz #7)
Force & War I
Mingst, chap. 8
“Melian Dialogue” at http://www.public.iastate.edu/~pol_s.251/melian.htm
27 & 29 Mar. (Quiz #8)
Force & War II
Lauren, et al., chap. 9 & 10
3 & 5 Apr.
Nuclear Strategy & Proliferation I
Sagan & Waltz, 1-2
10 & 12 Apr. (Quiz #9)
Nuclear Strategy & Proliferation II
Sagan & Waltz, 3-5
17 & 19 Apr. (Quiz #10)
International Political Economy
Mingst, chap.9 & 10
24 & 26 Apr.
Lauren, et al., conclusion