Overview of Course
This course is devoted to probing the major theoretical approaches to international relations. Our goal, in other words, is to understand how the world works. Across the globe — and throughout every port stop on our voyage — we will pay careful attention to the multitude of ways in which states wage conflict, pursue power, compete with rival states, challenge global norms, and navigate the global economy and environment. How, we will ask, can the theories and insights of international relations help us make sense of the changing world around us? Is the world made up simply of sovereign nation-states pursuing their own self-interests all the while locked in a perpetual struggle for power? Is global cooperation possible in an increasingly disordered world — or is global conflict inevitable? Topics covered will include: the role of international law and organizations; international human rights and the construction of international norms; economic globalization and the possibilities and pitfalls of commercial liberalism; foreign policy decision making; the origins of the international system; gender and international relations theory; and emerging transnational threats to state sovereignty. Throughout our voyage, one thing will become clear: there has never been a more fascinating and consequential moment in this century to study how the world works than right now.