POL 121 - International Relations
Last Date of Approval: Spring 2021
Total Lecture Hours: 45
Total Lab Hours: 0
Total Clinical Hours: 0
Total Work-Based Experience Hours: 0
This course is an introduction to the study of international affairs and global politics, including major concepts and theories relating to international systems, international security, international law, international conflict and cooperation, foreign policy, diplomacy, international organizations, and international economics. It examines the main theories of international relations including realism, liberalism, and constructivism. The course is designed to give students a better understanding of international relations in the world today by addressing global problems such as war and terrorism, nuclear proliferation, pandemics, and climate change. In addition, the historical and contemporary influences of American politics on international relations are explored. Knowledge of international affairs, an understanding of global problems, and an awareness of linkages between national and global politics, are important skills for achieving success in many occupations and professions, while also directly contributing to civic responsibility and a higher quality of life.
Mode(s) of Instruction: traditional/face-to-face
Credit for Prior Learning: There are no Credit for Prior Learning opportunities for this course.
Course Fees: None
Common Course Assessment(s): None
Student Learning Outcomes and Objectives:
A. Demonstrate an understanding of the main concepts of international relations and apply those concepts to the modern global experience.
- Describe the field of international relations and its main component parts (international security, international law, and international political economy).
- Distinguish between the concepts of nations and states and provide examples of each concept.
- Define the concept of state sovereignty and explain why its origins are linked to the Peace of Westphalia.
- Explain the role of state (national) governments in international relations, including the formulation of foreign policy and conduct of diplomacy.
- Differentiate between intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and provide examples of each concept.
B. Explain the origins and evolution of the international system, including key developments from the 19th century to the present.
- Describe how the major trends of 19th century European affairs affected the international system and fueled international conflict in the early 20th century.
- Analyze how the First World War set the stage for the Second World War.
- Describe the effects of the Second World War on the modern international system.
- Analyze the Cold War’s origins, its key events, and the factors that brought about its end.
- Outline the key trends in the international developments of the post-Cold War era.
C. Compare and contrast mainstream international relations theories, such as realism and liberalism.
- Describe the key ideas and principles of realism and explain how they evolved over time.
- Explain the meaning of states’ power, polarity, and interests in realist theory.
- Describe the key ideas and principles of liberalism and explain how they evolved over time.
- Explain the liberal ideas of soft power and international institutions.
- Distinguish different approaches and traditions in a comparison of realism and liberalism.
D. Identify alternative theories of international relations and distinguish them from more mainstream theories.
- Explain what the constructivist view brings to the study of international relations and foreign policy.
- Describe the key ideas and principles of Marxism and explain how they have been applied to the study of international relations.
- Describe the key ideas and principles of postcolonial studies and explain how they have been applied to the study of international relations.
- Explain what the feminist view brings to the study of international relations and foreign policy.
- Evaluate the role of identity factors (political culture) and psychological factors in international relations and foreign policy.
E. Define the main concepts of international security and apply those concepts to the modern global experience.
- Differentiate national security from international security and provide relevant examples.
- Describe the main types of war and provide relevant examples of each concept.
- Compare and contrast realist and liberal perspectives of international security.
- Explain what the constructivist view brings to the study of international security.
- Critically apply international security at each level of analysis and provide relevant examples.
F. Identify the main concepts of international law and apply those concepts to the modern global experience.
- Identify the main rationales, principles, and sources of international law.
- Describe the evolution of international law and the role of international organizations in formulating laws of the sea and laws of war.
- Explain the meaning of human rights and the role of international organizations in protecting human rights.
- Outline the principal differences among realists, liberals, and constructivists about international law.
- Critically apply key principles of international law to individual decisions, state policies, and global developments.
G. Define the major concepts of international political economy and apply those concepts to the modern global experience.
- Explain the major factors of international political economy and provide examples.
- Explain economic liberalism and its role in the development of the international political economy.
- Describe constructivism in the context of international economic policies.
- Identify the advantages and challenges of global economic interdependence.
- Critically apply major economic views to realities of international relations at three levels of analysis.
H. Analyze major problems that the world is facing today by applying important theories of international relations.
- Describe the logic, strategies, and methods of international terrorism.
- Compare and contrast realist, liberal, and alternative perspectives of terrorism and related security challenges.
- Identify today’s key problems related to nuclear proliferation, major policies to address them, and the implications for international relations.
- Identify today’s key problems related to the natural environment, major policies to address them, and the implications for international relations.
- Identify today’s key problems related to global pandemics and healthcare, major policies to address them, and the implications for international relations.
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