New to international relations? Not sure how things work? You're welcome to follow and learn from this intro-level course.
New to international relations? Not sure how things work? You're welcome to follow and learn from this intro-level course.

This introductory-level course will survey several core topics in the study of international relations and its discussion in policy circles. While our survey of the field will be broad, our approach will be targeted. We will focus our inquiries to the interests that actors have, the means by which they interact, and the institutions in which they operate that will constrain their behavior. We will take this approach, along with a broad understanding of the history of international politics, and start first with a study of the causes of conflict and war. This is our biggest question in the entirety of international relations, making it an ideal place to start. We will continue with a review of international trade, finance, and monetary policy. These topics are obtuse to lay observers but we will make sense of these topics within our approach of actors’ interests, interactions, and institutions. We will close the semester with newer topics in international relations, like human rights and environmental concerns, that will shape our discussion of world politics in the years to come. By the end of the semester, students should have a deeper kwowledge of international relations and, importantly, better understand current events and policy discussions.

Course Materials

  1. Syllabus
  2. Set Up Google Scholar to Find Class Readings on Your Syllabus
  3. Dos and Dont’s of Writing for Students
  4. Assorted Tips for Students on Writing Research Papers
  5. Exam Grading Policy
  6. Article Summary Rubric
  7. Fun with Attendance and Grades (i.e. Students Should Attend Class)
  8. The Educational Power of Discomfort
  9. Everybody Writes: A Web Content Approach for Students
  10. Put Your Laptops Away, Kids (Vol. 2)
  11. Reading a Regression Table: A Guide for Students
  12. Ward and Gleditsch (1998) [article summary example]
  13. Rousseau et al. (1996) [article summary example]
  14. Welcome
  15. What Shaped Our World? A Historical Introduction
  16. Understanding Interests, Interactions, and Institutions
  17. Why Are There Wars?
  18. Why Bargaining Breaks Down
  19. Domestic Politics and War
  20. Alliances and Bargaining
  21. Collective Security as Public Good
  22. Why Civil Wars Happen, and What We Can Do About Them
  23. The Strategic Dilemma(s) of Terrorism
  24. Midterm 1 Review
  25. Why Trade? And Why Do We Put Up Barriers to Trade?
  26. Trade as Strategic Problem
  27. Who Invests Overseas and Why?
  28. The Fundamentals of Exchange Rates
  29. The Ebbs and Flows of International Monetary Regimes
  30. Why Are Some Countries Richer Than Others?
  31. Development Politics and Development Policies
  32. The International Politics of Human Rights
  33. Midterm 2 Review
  34. The Environment as Collective Action Problem