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COURSE NAME: "World Politics"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Diego Pagliarulo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30 PM 5:45 PM

An introduction to the theory and practice of international affairs, this course discusses the main schools of world politics as well as actors, structures and institutions of international relations. Through this framework the course explores key conflicts and issues in the post-World War II era, including problems of war, armed conflict, and peace, and the impact of recent trends in globalization on world politics.
This course is divided into four parts that will provide us with a rounded up introduction to the study of world politics. In the first part we will have an overview of the main theories of international relations. In the second part we focus on the key questions that define our understanding of the international system. In part three we will survey the evolution of the modern international system and explore the ways in which historical analysis can help us make sense of the world we live in. In the fourth part, we will be looking at the major challenges that define today’s world and the future of global politics. 
After the completion of this course the students will: 
1) have a good overview of the history of international politics.
2) possess the ability to engage critically with the theoretical discussions taking place in the discipline of International Relations.
3) be able to apply such theories and approaches to the various problems, events and changes taking place in world politics.
4) develop the basic skills necessary for undertaking scholarly research.
5) enhance their capacity to write coherent and persuasive arguments / essays.
6) improve their communication and learning abilities.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
The Globalization of World Politics 9th EditionJohn Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens (eds.)Oxford University Press978-0192898142     
International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary IssuesRobert J. Art, Timothy W. Crawford, and Robert Jervis (eds.)Rowman & Littlefield978-1538169551     
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
International Relations Theories : Discipline and DiversityTimothy Dunne, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith (eds.)Oxford University Press9780199548866  
Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation : An Introduction to Theory and HistoryJoseph S. Nye and David WelshPearson9780134403168  

Class attendance and participationAttendance and participation in discussions are mandatory for this course. The goal here is to learn how to ask good questions and provide thoughtful answers. You have 2 excused absences. 15%
Article ReviewThe students are required to write an 'analytical review' (max 700 words) of an academic article that will be chosen from a given selection of articles. Integrate in your analysis the information provided by the textbook and pay special attention to the following questions: - What are the key points of the author’s thesis? - What are the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s analysis? - Do you agree/disagree with the author? Why? 15%
Midterm ExamClosed-book exam based on Part I and II of the course (Week-1-6).20%
Event analysisOne essay (max 1000 words each) addressing IR theories and their ability to explain real international issues and provide policy guidelines. Students will be asked to examine current affairs events through the prism of the theoretical approaches examined in Part I of the course and provide policy options.20%
Final ExamClosed-book exam based on Part I, II, III, and VI of the course (Week-1-14). 25%
Optional EssaysMax 3 essays (700 words each), 1 point added to the overall earned grade for each assignment completed: - Movie analysis. The Quiet American, directed by Phillip Noyce (2003). Frohring Library Call Number: DVD 0584. - Reports on events concerning the course content organized by JCU or other institutions. (Max 2 reports.) 0%
Oral PresentationOral presentation on a previously assigned topic concerning Part IV of the course. The aim of the presentation is to introduce the readings and stimulate subsequent class debate.5%

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 for the course.
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.

1. Attendance is a fundamental component of your class participation grade. More than two absences will directly affect your class participation grade (and indirectly affect your other assessments).

2. Particularly active and constructive participation in class can round up your overall grade.

3. Readings are mandatory assignments and must be done in advance. 

4. Recommended readings and documents provided by the instructor via Moodle are not compulsory assignments. However, they can be useful sources of inspiration for debates, papers, and independent research projects.

5. Students are invited to consult leading newspapers, journals and magazines to keep informed with ongoing news related to World Politics. 

6. Group works require active participation. Failure to perform shared tasks or to show up will be considered a sign of disrespect toward colleagues. This kind of behavior is strongly discouraged. It will bring down your grade and may complicate your colleagues’ performances.

7. The use of traditional notebooks and notetaking is encouraged. Laptops and other electronic devices are allowed for the sole purpose of taking notes and enhancing participation during classes.
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.


(The course schedule and the readings may be subject to changes and revisions)





Course intro.

Analyzing international politics: actors and levels of analysis


  • Baylis, Introduction and Chapter 1.

  • Joseph Nye, Power and International Politics (Jervis).

Part I - Theories of International Relations


Classical Theories: Realism and Liberalism


  • Baylis, Chapter 6, 8.

  • Thucydides, The Melian Dialogue (Jervis)

  • Hans Morgentahu, Six Principles of Political Realism (Jervis)

  • Michael W. Doyle, Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs (Jervis)


Structural Theories: Neorealism and Neoliberalism



  • John J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994/5)

  • Robert. O. Keohane and Lisa Martin, “The Promise of Institutionalist Theory,” International Security 20 no.1 (1995)


Critical Theories: Constructivism, Marxism, Feminism, Post-Colonialism.


  • Baylis, Chapter 7 and 12

  • Alexander Wendt, Anarchy Is What States Make of It (Jervis)

  • Ian Hurd, Legitimacy in International Politics (Jervis)

Recommended: Baylis Chapter 9/10/11/13.

Part II - Understanding World Politics


Conflict and Cooperation

  • War and International Relations

  • International Institutions


  • Baylis, Chapter 14, 19, 20.

  • Robert J. Art, The Four Functions of Force (Jervis)

  • Robert Jervis, Offense, Defense, and the Security Dilemma (Jervis)

  • Thomas C. Schelling, The Diplomacy of Violence (Jervis)

  • Robert Jervis, Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma (Jervis)

  • Leslie Johns, Competing Perspectives on International Law and Politics (Jervis)

Submit: Article Review.


Culture, Identity, and World Politics


  • Baylis, Chapter 17, 18 and 30

  • Ralph J. Bunche, The Device of Race in International Politics (Jervis)

Debate: Current affairs through the prism of IR theories.


Midterm Assessment

Midterm review session.

Midterm exam.

Part III - The Evolution of the International System


The International System from Westphalia to the First World War.



History: World War II and the Cold War


Recommended Reading:

  • Thomas J. Christensen and Jack Snyder, “Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks: Predicting Alliance Patterns in Multipolarity,” International Organization, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Spring, 1990), pp. 137-168


The End of the Cold War and the Post-Cold War era


Debate: The Post-Cold War International System: Unipolar or Multipolar?

Part IV - World Politics Today, and Tomorrow


Security: Great Powers Politics, Terrorism, Nuclear Weapons and WMDs, and Cyber security


  • Baylis, Chapter 15, 28 and 29.

  • Bruce Hoffman, What Is Terrorism? (Jervis)

  • Kenneth N. Waltz,“Why Iran Should Get the Bomb,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 91, no. 4 (2012): 2–5.

  • Ben Buchanan, The Cyber Security Dilemma (Jervis)


International Political Economy: Trade, Development, and Global Social Challenges.


Recommended reading:

Submit: Event Analysis


Long-Term Challenges: Humanitarian Concerns and the Environment


  • Baylis, Chapter 24, 25, and 26.

  • Joshua Busby, Why Climate Change Matters More Than Anything Else (Jervis)

  • Emilie M. Hafner-Burton, Global Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century (Jervis)

  • Alexander B. Downes, To the Shores of Tripoli? Regime Change and Its Consequences (Jervis)

  • The Astonishing Success of Peacekeeping (Jervis)


The Future of World Order:


Debate: The Liberal Order and its Discontents

Final Exams

Final Exam