JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "International Organizations"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Federigo Argentieri
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30 PM 2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 209

This course examines attempts at international cooperation in various institutional forms. The course analyzes efforts of twentieth-century internationalism, from the League of Nations up to the United Nations (UN). Main regional organizations are also examined, such as NATO, the African Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, World Trade Organization and Organization of American States.
PL 212  is designed to introduce students to the functions of international organizations and to examine attempts at international cooperation in various institutional forms. The course will begin with a historical emphasis and assess efforts of XX century internationalism from the League of Nations up to the structuring of the United Nations (UN), including an overview of membership issues and the role of the Security Council during and after the Cold War period. The dramatic UN failures in Somalia, Bosnia and especially Rwanda will be assessed and discussed, as well as the US unilateral-vs.-multilateral debate after 9-11, particularly in connection with security, the environment and the International Criminal Court. Organizations other than the UN will also be mentioned and briefly described, especially NATO and those based in Rome.
Students who complete this course are expected to be able to refer in appropriate manner to the theoretical framework and the principal past and current events related to the UN, NATO and other international organizations; to understand the main definitions and jargon expressions pertaining to such organizations; to analyze their official documents and highlight their political gist. Additionally, they are to have attained the basic prerequisites for interning at any of the UN agencies and the like and to perform satisfactorily at Model UN events.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
The United Nations and Changing World PoliticsWeiss, Forsythe, Coate, PeaseRoutledge978-0-367-35391-9     

Three papers (7-page each)Each paper on an assigned topic to be typed 1.5-spacedly, printed front and back. No title needed, just student’s name, class and number of paper on top left corner. Errors in formatting the paper will result in grade docking. Part two: content. Failure to use the assigned sources will result in serious docking of the paper. In the case of one or more textbook chapters, the important parts of these must be regularly referred to in parenthesis. It is important to understand the difference between “executive summary” and “analytical overview”: at no time you will be requested to provide the former. “Analytical overview” emphasizes your judgement of what is important and worth highlighting in a text, as opposed to a mere synthesis of the author’s intentions and interpretations. Part three: citations. Please use MLA, i.e. parenthesis references and ONLY when quoting verbatim Part four: style. All students MUST make an appointment with the writing center at the intermediate or final stage of at least one paper in order to check on their good writing, no exception. Failure to have the prof receive feedback of at least one successful appointment with the writing center will result in grade docking. Part five: deadlines must be met to the letter. If sick or other major impediment, you need to email me before the deadline, or grade will be docked.75%
Attendance and participationRegular attendance is required and only excused absences will not affect the grade (see Attnd. requirements section for details). Additionally, students are expected to participate in discussions and demonstrate their acquaintance with the assigned readings. The instructor will occasionally check on this particular aspect by asking questions related to such assignments. Numerically speaking, each unjustified absence will be counted 5 pts down and each positive (oral) feedback on the readings 1-3 pts up. Also, students are required to give a short feedback on each film screened, orally or in writing. Appropriate feedbacks will also count for 1-3 points. The final score in this section will be counted also in terms of overall performance of the student.25%
NOTE:Grades are not "curved" but calculated in the following way: each assignment counts for the indicated percentage and gets a certain amount of it (e.g. 10/15). At the end of the semester, everything (including extra credit) is summed up to compose the final score and transformed into a letter grade according to this scale: A = 96-100 C = 66-70 A- = 91-95 C- = 61-65 B+ = 86-90 D+ = 58-60 B = 81-85 D = 55-57 B- = 76-80 D- = 51-54 C+ = 71-76 F = 0-50. Also, please read carefully the following: Undergrad Paper Writing Decalogue - Five dos and five don’ts to submit a successful paper 1) Follow the instructions scrupulously, particularly regarding sources, style, length, etc. 2) Save trees: print on front and back, avoid unnecessary cover sheets or redundant bibliographies when all your sources have already been listed e.g. in footnotes 3) Make sure to indicate your name, the course code, semester and title on top left corner of front page and to number all subsequent pages. In case of multiple sheets, staple the paper at that corner avoiding plastic envelopes or binders, which make the reading complicated 4) Assess honestly your acquaintance with correct citing methods and procedures; do consult manuals (Chicago MS, MLA, etc.), handbooks, librarians or the writing center when in doubt; double-check with them even if you are certain about how to cite properly 5) Be loyal to yourself, to the teacher and to the entire school community and make the paper a result of your own efforts only 6) Don’t have others write your paper and don’t write a paper for others: it’s the vilest form of cheating 7) Don’t “recycle papers”, i.e. submit papers that you or others already presented in other classes: it’s morally an equivalent of the above 8) Don’t rely on no matter which sources and remember that most online materials are totally random, unchecked and not properly peer-reviewed, starting from Wikipedia, which makes them very likely to be inaccurate in all or in part 9) Don’t hesitate to consult the instructor, the writing lab or the library when in doubt about how to quote without committing plagiarism 10) Don’t refrain from expressing your views if you feel like, even when not specifically encouraged to do so, and remember that they come out more effectively through a proper handling and presentation of sources rather than as a result of mere and unsupported assertions  

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Regular attendance and active participation in class are essential: this includes punctuality and quick checking of intranet messages. Absences will affect the final grade, unless caused by serious family or medical emergencies. Makeup examinations may be given or late papers accepted only for the same reasons.
In order to take full advantage of this class and make it an important learning experience, it is crucial to create a communicative virtuous circle, i.e. an environment where possible misunderstandings are reduced to a minimum or altogether eliminated and potential problems and issues are addressed and solved very quickly. Example: some of you may have a stronger background in Economics , History, or Politics, and some a weaker one or none: there is nothing wrong in acknowledging it and  alerting the professor, so that he can adjust his pace to the audience and work more with single cases if need be. More specifically, you can contribute quite substantially to the creation of a virtuous circle if you consider the following: 
1) Some demeanors are invisible in a large infrastructure, yet become disruptive in a smaller one. They include the following (during class):
- walking in and especially out of the room, in absence of an emergency or prior permission;
- making use of the internet and/or any social network, such as Facebook, Twitter or a mere sms;
- reading or studying for a class other than the one being attended.
Taking good note of all this and acting accordingly, besides averting inevitable grade-docking, will greatly help and will be much appreciated.  Therefore, you are kindly requested to turn off your Iphones et al. and avoid using a laptop during class. Exceptions can be made only in some specific cases 

2) Students should be able to make the difference between occurrences which justify their absences and those which don't, and alert the prof only in the former case.  Examples:  
 Occurrence                                 Absence Justified?                Communication needed                       
i) Sickness                                                       yes                                         yes                       
ii) Major emergency                                        yes                                         yes                         
(accident, serious family issues,                          

iii)Travel issues of any kind                             no                                           no                          

iv) Family/partner/friend(s)                         
are in town                                                        no                                           no                       
(although  welcome to                          
class if interested, in which case please                         
notify the prof)                                 

v) AoB                                                         to be determined on case-by-case criteria

3) A smaller environment should encourage a more active and direct participation of students and a more effective communication between students and professor. The former are strongly encouraged to intervene in class at any moment if something doesn't sound clear, or in the appropriate discussion time if they wish to raise a specific issue or argue about it (this latter part will be considered for grading purposes, only to the extent it shows interest for the topic and capabilities to support an argument). Opinions can be freely expressed (teacher included) and are never graded as such.  Should a student feel uncomfortable about speaking in public, s/he is welcome to contact or email the professor to discuss privately 
4) Finally, and on a more academic note, some concrete tips to start off in the best way possible and obtain satisfactory results: 
- This is a textbook-based course. No matter if individually or in a group, students should get hold of a copy anyway, as all their assignments will be based on it. Alternative routes based on the use of popular websites (e.g. Wikipedia) are strongly discouraged and would lead to poor results
- Class lectures do not merely repeat or explain (unless specifically required) the content of the readings, but aim at completing them by providing additional information and different visual angles. In order to achieve optimal results, students should work on combining their notes with reading assignments and videos screened (see next point) and raise immediately all issues related to any perceived discrepancy, incoherence or misunderstanding 
- Videos shown in class command the same respect and attention as all other instructional materials and should never be considered as avoidable parts of the course program (or the right moment when to disregard point 1 above)  - Whenever possible, students are encouraged to take advantage of extra-credit opportunities (field trips, evening films, Guarini Institute events) even if their score is good, as these could prove ultimately decisive in enhancing their grade.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.