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COURSE NAME: "World Politics"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2016

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Driessen
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 6:00PM 7:15PM
OFFICE HOURS: mw 3-4pm and by appointment

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.

The course is divided into five major components designed to expose the student to the broad schools of thought framing international relations scholarship and learn how those theories can be applied to global political events and empirical issues in the field of International Relations. Accordingly, the course will consider 1) the assumptions underpinning theories of World Politics; 2) The three major theories animating World Politics scholarship today (realism, liberalism and constructivism); 3) International History (World Wars I & II, the Cold War and its aftermath); 4) Globalization and International Political Economy; 5) New Actors and Dynamics in the Global Arena (Terrorism, Religion, Transnational Networks, International Law, and the Environment).


My pedagogical hope is that students will finish this course able to distinguish and evaluate the three major schools of thought in International Relations scholarship. They will also achieve an informed political reading of international history and be able to name and then apply important conceptual and theoretical considerations to contemporary global events.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Perspectives on International Relations: Power, Institutions, Ideas, 4th editionHenry NauCQ press978-1292070872  
International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues, 12th editionArt and JervisPearson978-1452241487  

Mid-term Exam 25%
Final Exam 35%
Assignments (5)There will be 5 written assignments required of the students to be completed in units I, III, IV, V and VI. Instructions will be handed out in class. Each is worth 6% of the student’s final grade.30%
ParticipationAttendance and Presence of Mind are mandatory for this class. The goal here is to advance towards the art of asking good questions. Quality, not quantity of participation is what counts, although some quantity is better than no quality. Students will be allowed 2 unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence thereafter will result in the lowering of the attendance grade by 1/3rd a letter grade. More than 12 unexcused absences may result in a failure to pass the course.10%

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.

Attendance and Presence of Mind are mandatory for this class. The goal here is to advance towards the art of asking good questions. Quality, not quantity of participation is what counts, although some quantity is better than no quality. Students will be allowed 2 unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence thereafter will result in the lowering of the attendance grade by 1/3rd a letter grade. More than 12 unexcused absences may result in a failure to pass the course.
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.


Course Calendar (Please note that this is not the final syllabus. A finalized schedule of readings, assignments and office hours will be distributed to students at the beginning of the semester).



August 30

Class 1

Course Introduction


Part I: Fundamentals


September 1

Class 2

Class Cancelled, Professor Driessen presenting at annual American Political Science Association conference


September 6

Class 3

Theory, Policy, Methods

Nau, Introduction


September 8

Class 4

Assumptions and the Security Dilemma (Assignment I)

Nau, Chapter 1: pp.s 30-41

Robert J. Art, “The Four Functions of Force,” AJ


Part II: Theories


September 13

Class 5

Realism I

Nau, Chapter 1, pp.s 41-50

Morgenthau, “Six Principles of Political Realism,” AJ

Waltz, “The Anarchic Structure of World Politics,” AJ


September 15

Class 6

Realism II

John J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994/5), pp.s 1-14 : http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/A0021.pdf

Walt, “Alliances: Balancing and Bandwagoning,” AJ

Robert Jervis, “Offense, Defense, and the Security Dilemma,” AJ


September 20

Class 7

Liberalism I

Nau, Chapter 1: pp.s 50-60

Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs,” AJ

Hoffman, “The Uses and Limits of International Law,” AJ


September 22

Class 8

Liberalism II

Oye, “The Conditions for Cooperation in World Politics,” AJ

Keohane, “International Institutions: Can Interdependence Work?” AJ


September 23

(Make up for November 1st holiday)

Class 9

The Realist-Liberal Debate

John J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994/5), pp.s 14-26, 47-49

Robert. O. Keohane and Lisa Martin, “The Promise of Institutionalist Theory,” International Security 20 no.1 (1995): http://people.reed.edu/~ahm/Courses/Reed-POL-240-2012-S1_IP/Syllabus/EReadings/03.2/03.2.KeohaneMartin1995The-Promise.pdf

Sebastian Rosato, “The Flawed Logic of Democratic Peace Theory,” American Political Science Review 97 no. 4 (2003): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3593025?uid=3738296&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103195558851


September 27

Class 10


Nau, Chapter 1: pp.s 60-75

Wendt, “Anarchy is What States Make of It,” AJ


September 29

Class 11




Part III: International History


October 4            Class 12

Melos, Westphalia and World War I

Nau, Chapter 2

Thucydides, “The Melian Dialogue,” AJ


October 6

Class 13

World War II (Assignment II)

Nau, Chapter 3


October 11

Class 14

The Cold War

Nau Chapter 4

John Lewis Gaddis, “The Long Peace: Elements of Stability in the Postwar International System,” International Security 10, no. 4 (1986): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2538951?uid=3738296&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103195558851


October 13

Class 15

Film : Dr. Strangelove (Assignment III)

Dan Lindley, “What I learned Since I stopped Worrying and Studied the Movie: A Teaching Guide to Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove,” Political Science and Politics no. 34 (2001): http://www3.nd.edu/~dlindley/handouts/DrS.pdf


October 18

Class 16

Nukes and Weapons of Mass Destruction

Sokolsksi, “Getting Ready for a Nuclear-ready Iran” AJ

Posen, “A Nuclear-Armed Iran: A Difficult but not Impossible Policy Problem,” AJ


Nau, Chapter 5

Keir Lieber and Daryl Press (2013). “The Next Korean War,” Foreign Affairs (April):



October 20

Class 17

Civil Wars and Humanitarian Interventions

Ben Barber “Feeding Refugees or War? The Dilemmas of Humanitarian Interventions,” Foreign Affairs 76 no. 4 (1997): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20048117?uid=3738296&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103195558851

Kofi Annan, “Reflections on Intervention,” AJ

Jon Western and Joshua Goldstien, “Humanitarianism Comes of Age: Lessons from Somalia to Libya,” AJ


Nau, Chapter 6


Part IV: Globalization and International Political Economy



October 25         Class 18

International Trade

Nau, Chapter 8: 351-380

Gilpin, “The Nature of Political Economy,” AJ


October 27

Class 19

International Finance

Nau, Chapter 8: pp.s 380-402


The Economist, “The End of Monnet: The Debt Crisis is Exposing Problems in the Basic Design of the European Union,” http://www.economist.com/node/21528269

The Economist: Interactive Graph on the Euro-Crisis: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/05/european-economy-guide


October 28

(Make up for Thanksgiving)

Class 20


Hiscox, “The Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policies,” AJ

Frankel, “Globalization of the Economy,” AJ


November 1



November 3

Class 21

The Globalization Debate (Assignment IV)

Rodrik, “Why Doesn’t Everyone get the case for Free Trade” & “A Sane Globalizations,” AJ

Na’im, “What Globalization is and is Not,” AJ


Part V: Religion, Law, Human Rights and the Environment


November 8       Class 22


Bruce Hoffman, “What is Terrorism?” AJ

Cronin, “Ending Terrorism,” AJ


November 10

Class 23

Identity Politics and Religion

Samuel P. Huntington, “Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs Summer (1993): http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/48950/samuel-p-huntington/the-clash-of-civilizations

Olivier Roy. 2012. “The Transformation of the Arab World,” Journal of Democracy. (23) 3.



November 15

Class 24

International Law and Human Rights

Keck and Sikkink, “Transnational Activist Networks,” AJ

Howard and Donnelly, “Human Rights in World Politics,” AJ


November 17

Class 25

The Environment (Assignment V)

Dupont, “The Strategic Implications of Climate Change,” AJ

Victor et al. “The Climate Threat we can Beat,” AJ


November 22

Class 26

Global Governance and Justice

Ikenberry, “The Future of the Liberal World Order,” AJ

David Held, “Reframing Global Governance: Apocalypse Soon or Reform!” New Political Economy 11 no. 2 (2006). Jstor

Joseph Nye, “What China and Russia don’t get about Soft Power,” Foreign Policy, (2013): http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/29/what_china_and_russia_don_t_get_about_soft_power?wp_login_redirect=0


November 24



November 29

Class 27

The Future of International Relations

Posen, “Emerging Multipolarity: Why Should we Care?” AJ

Subramanian, “Why China’s Dominance is a Sure Thing,” AJ

Henry A. Kissinger, “The Future of US-Chinese Relations,” Foreign Affairs March/April (2012).  Jstor

“Tribunal Rejects Beijing’s Claims in South China Sea,” New York Times July 12th, 2016: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/13/world/asia/south-china-sea-hague-ruling-philippines.html?_r=0


Graham Allison, “The Thucydides Trap: Are the US and China Headed for War?” The Atlantic (July 2015) http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/united-states-china-war-thucydides-trap/406756/


December 1

Class 28

Conclusions and Review



Final Exam