This course is designed to provide an introduction to the study of international relations, with a focus on Europe and global problems. The course is broken down into four sections. In the first section, we will examine the key theories that scholars use to understand and explain international interactions. In the next three sections we will look at the three principal goals of the global community – attaining prosperity, peace, and environmental preservation. We will explore global prosperity, with a focus on the need for equitable human development. Next, we will consider the goal of ending war and violence as a way to ensure a secure environment for everyone. Finally, we will examine the quest for preservation, considering energy use and the global ecosystem. As we visit a number of European countries on our voyage, we will learn about their history, economics, culture, and politics. We will also use the theories and goals we examine in the course to better understand these countries. At the end of the course, we will take into account mechanisms and strategies for achieving global peace, prosperity and ecological preservation. This course and our voyage in general will give all of us a close and personal look at the paramount challenges that our world faces today, and provide us with some viable solutions to those challenges.
Field WorkCountry: Poland
Day: 1 - Gdansk - Tuesday, 12 August
The city of Gdansk has a special, important place in twentieth century European history. World War II began on 1 September 1939 when a German navy battleship shelled the Polish garrison at the Westerplatte Peninsula in the Free City of Danzig, now called Gdansk. Since Great Britain and France had assured Adolf Hitler that they would defend Poland if Germany invaded, the Nazi assault on Poland started the Second World War. Once the Germans and Soviets defeated and occupied all of Poland, the Nazis interned many of the Poles who were now prisoners of war at the Stutthof concentration camp, just east of Danzig. The camp would soon become part of the network of concentration camps that carried out Hitler’s horrific “final solution,” the plan to exterminate all Jews in Europe. After the demise of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler, the USSR dominated Poland and all of Eastern Europe, making it impossible for the people of those countries to determine their own destinies. In the 1980s, labor leader Lech Walesa, who had been arrested in the 1970s for his activism, helped to found the first independent labor union movement in the Soviet Bloc, called Solidarity, and pushed for democratization and self-determination in Poland. In this field lab, we will visit the Stutthof concentration camp, and the European Solidarity Center which houses the “Roads to Freedom” Exhibition.” Academic Objectives: 1. Understand the Importance of Gdansk and Poland as the place where WWII began. 2. Understand the importance and impact of human rights violations and Nazi genocidal policies during WWII. 3. Understand the importance of the Solidarity Movement for the liberation and democratization of Poland and Eastern Europe.