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PSC 209: World Politics TimeTable

By Prof. Jeremy Lewis, revised 2 Nov. 2016, with link and reporters.
For 2016, see Great Decisions 2016 Issues
No classes, Fall 2016: Monday 9/5; Fridays 9/2, 9/30, 10/21, 11/4 & 11/11; and Thanksgiving 11/21-25
Discussion Notes | CIA World Factbook | Country Briefings from Economist | Great Decisions media episodes
Week: [01] [02] [03] [04] [Test1] [05] [06] [07] [Test2] [08] [09] [10] [Test3] [11] [12] [13] [Honors Project] [14] [Final]

Week, Author, Chapter: Topic [and Reporters]
Week 1
Introduction to the course [Lectures] [Discussion notes]
Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of Rourke & Boyer, 1: Thinking & Caring about World Politics [Notes from Full edition]
- How can one approach the study of world politics?  [Discussion notes]
- How can we distinguish 3 perspectives: descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive?
- What actors are there on the world stage?
- How do realist and idealist schools of thought differ about world politics?
- How do these schools differ in reacting to the balance of power?
- Can we identify newer forms of the liberal and realist schools of thought?
- Can we apply these theories to current affairs?
- How do the 3 research methods differ in IR: logic; historical observation; and quantitative analysis?
- How do the 3 levels of analysis differ in IR: system level; state level; and individual level?

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2016 Issue 3: The Future of Kurdistan [Berry, Law and Baugh] [PPT]

Week 2
Rourke & Boyer, edition, 2: The Evolution of World Politics
[Discussion notes] [outline needed]
- How has global politics developed over the centuries?
- What were the contributions to political development of the Ancient Greeks?
- How did political participation become a part of the polis?
- How did the Athenian Empire develop and how did it clash with another empire?
- What institutions did the Romans create and how did they build an Empire?
- How did the mediaeval church develop in parallel to political structures?
- How did the reformation challenge the existing authority?
- What did the Treaty of Westphalia accomplish?
- How did international political structures develop in the twentieth century?
- How are they developing in the C21st?
- Do we face a world that is unipolar, bipolar, multipolar ... or what?
- Will nation states remain universal or will something replace them?  A caliphate? A supra-national organization?
- Are nations interdependent?
- Will disparities of income keep growing?
- WIll human rights and the environment replace material issues?

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2016 Issue 2: The Rise of ISIS [Preston Dixon, Webb, Breland, Tucker X] [PPT]

US Constitution, Article I (excerpts on foreign relations) [PPT][Reporter]
- Compare the enumerated & inherent Congressional authority in foreign affairs.
- What would happen if the Congress disagreed with the President's use of force abroad?

Week 3
Rourke & Boyer, 3: Levels of Analysis [Notes from Full edition] [Dr. Lewis]
- Which of these approaches to studying the world is more effective?
- What ways might be found to prevent war in the long run?
- How many poles are there in today's world order?
- Is the US a hegemon -- or merely one power among many?
- Is China a superpower -- or merely a regional power?
- Is the EU a pole in the system -- or merely a collection of nation states that are at best regional powers?
- Do we usually place too much emphasis on the actions of states, and not enough on understanding the nature of the system or of mankind?
- Do non-governmental organizations make any difference in international politics?
- Does it make any difference to the conduct of a state, who is in charge?
Check for AL World Affairs Council (AWAC) speaker event

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of
US Constitution, Article II (excerpts on foreign relations) [PPT][Reporter]
Provisions of the Constitution relating to foreign policymaking | Lecture notes
- How powerful was the C-in-C position in 1787 -- and how powerful today?
- How is the appointment power allocated?
- How is the treaty making power allocated?
- Which major wars of the US were led by Presidents, and which by Congress?

War Powers Resolution, 1973 (50 USC 1541-1548) | Wikipedia entry | Lecture
- Does the President have authority under the Constitution to use force abroad, without authority from Congress?
- Can the President be required to notify Congress of the use of force abroad?
- Can the Congress restrain the presidential use of force abroad, once begun?

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2016 Issue 4: International Migration [Baugh, Berry, Blaes, Howard X] [PPT]

Week 4
Rourke & Boyer, 4: Nationalism: The Traditional Orientation | Lecture[Reporter]
- Is the behavior of nation states the main cause of war and of peace?
- Do nationalism and nation-states define and divide the world?
- What is a nation?
- What is a Nation-state?
- What is nationalism?
- How have ideas of nationalism evolved over five centuries?
- After WW2, did nation-states decline or increase?
- What are the benefits of nationalism?
- What are the costs of nationalism?
- Can nationalism be blamed for wars -- including two world wars?
- What happens when nations and states are not coterminous?

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2016 Issue 5: Korean Choices [Lomax, Howard, Tucker] [PPT]

Map of ethnic groups of the Caucasus | map of Kurdistan
- Is nationalism outmoded?
- Should regional or ethic populations be able to self-determine when to become a new, independent state?
- What is the future of nationalism?

Week 5
See Dates page for Test 1,which may include both multiple choice and written questions on all materials listed above this line, unless otherwise noted (bring Scantron card, pencil and dark ballpoint pen).

Current affairs issue: a President's conflicts of interest abroad[Frazier, Carson and Pearson]
Eichenwald, Kurt. 2016a. "Trump Foreign Business Ties Conflicting ..." Newsweek 09/14/16 [PDF]
Kutner, Max. 2016. "Trump Urged to Disclose Foreign Business Ties" Newsweek 09/19/16
Eichenwald, Kurt. 2016b. "Trump's Blind Trust Plan Makes No Sense" Newsweek 09/20/16 [PDF]
- How can a President avoid conflicts of interest if he has global business dealings with partners who have close ties to foreign leaders, some of them unsavory?

Current affairs issue: is covered-up beach clothing a matter of modesty, freedom or oppression?
Spiegelman, Nadja. 2016. "My Algerian Girlfriend Changed My Mind About the Burkini Ban." New York Times, 08/31/16[Jada H, K. Harding and L. Lomax]
- Is the burkini a symbol of modesty and faith -- or gender and religious oppression?

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of
US Constitution, Article III (excerpts)[Reporters]
(The Treason clause, which obviously impinges upon US foreign policy).
- What did the Founders intend with the Treason clause; why did they restrict its language?
- Search for information about these alleged, modern traitors, and ask yourself whether they meet the constitutional criteria: John Walker Lindh (the so-called "American Taliban"), and Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden (both of WikiLeaks notoriety).
- What reasons could be given by the prosecution and by the defence, about the use of the charge of "treason"?

Rourke & Boyer, 5: Globalization: The Alternative Orientation  | Lecture [Notes from Full edition]
- Can a new world order be achieved via global and transnational organizations?
- What causes globalization?
- What types of globalization are there?
- What are the benefits and costs of globalization?
- Does every state win from globalization -- or are there losers as well as winners?

Tests returned and exemplary paragraphs presented by students. (During this, nobody takes notes or records discussion).

Week 6
Lecture on Globalization in trade, media and transnational organizations, illustrated with current affairs examples in PPT

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2016 Issue 1: Shifting Alliances in the Middle East [Reporters] [PPT w/maps]

Rourke & Boyer, 6: Power, Statecraft & National States: The Traditional Structure | Lecture[Notes from Full edition] [Reporters]
- How do national and international organizations actually function -- and how do they contrast?

Week 7
Rourke & Boyer, 7: Intergovernmental Organizations: Alternative Governance | Lecture | PPT
- How did IGOs develop?
- What roles do IGOs play?
- How can international organizations establish cooperation, consensus and policing?
- How is the UN organized, and what does it promote?
- How is the EU organized?
- How does the EU operate?
- What is the Future of the EU?

See Dates page for Test 2, which may include both multiple choice and written questions on all materials listed above this line, unless otherwise noted.

Week 8
Rourke & Boyer, 8: International Law & Human Rights | Lecture | PPT
[Notes from Full edition, 9]
Lecture combining national and international approaches, PPT
- What are, or should be, the rules of behavior among nation states?
- Can treaties and common law bind nation states into civilized behavior?
- How do power and diplomacy reinforce -- or contradict -- each other?
- Can international law ever replace a balance of power in constraining nation states?

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2016 Issue 6: The United Nations [Lomax, K. Harding] [PPT]
- What developmental goals were established?
- How fit for purpose is the current UN?
- What progress is being made on current reforms?
- Must the next Secretary General be a reformer?
- Does the SG even have the power to achieve reforms?

Tests returned and exemplary paragraphs presented by students. (During this, nobody takes notes or records discussion).

For Honors section (only) Research Design, see prompts form and template of slides and for due date, see Dates page

Week 9

Rourke & Boyer, 9: Pursuing Security | Lecture PPT
- What are the causes of war, from the perspectives of the system, the state and the individual?
- What kinds of conflict are becoming more prevalent?
- What kinds of force can be utilized in modern conflicts?
- What are the differences between conventional war; unconventional war; war using WMD; and terrorism?
- What is the difference between MAD and NUT?
- How can security be achieved by states pursuing defense and alliances?
- Can cooperative action among states produce a world peace?
- What is the trend in UN peace keeping operations?
- Is it better to use LDC troops to keep the peace in LDC conflicts?
- Do arms control agreeements make the world safer - or less safe?
- Can collective security transcend peace keeping to actual peace enforcement?
- Is there any way to abolish war? Does pacificism have a chance?

Pursuing security -- while reporting from a war zone in the Middle East
Clarissa Ward appeared Oct. 2015 on CNN for the first time, with an unusually sophisticated video package of reporting from the 'front lines' of the Kurds in Syria. In this 2011 clip she explains how she contradicted an ISIS chief by showing hom a video of his men massacring captives. (2011)
Here's her debut report for CNN this week. (2015)
Here's her Distinguished Lecture at Stony Brook (Youtube, 60', 2013)
CBS interview with Clarissa Ward about security for a correspondent (4', 2015)

The cost of war
Zakaria, Fareed. 2015. "Iraq War Was a Terrible Mistake." Opinion editorial piece on plus short flash video (3.5')
Zakaria interviews PM Tony Blair (CNN, 6'),

- Does Blair still defend the decision to enter Iraq with the US?
- Does he apologize that the intelligence on WMD was wrong, and for mistakes in planning for occupation?
- Does he do so for the decision to remove Saddam Hussein?
- Does he also argue that subsequent policies in the region have succeeded?
Zakaria, Fareed. 2015. "Long road to hell: America in Iraq," full documentary film shown on CNN Monday 26 Oct. at 8 pm CST, and subsequently.
- Did the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 backfire in increased violence and instability?
- Did the US imprisonment of Islamic radicals enable al-Baghdadi to create and train ISIS?

The use of force to send preventive signals
Sciutto, Jim and Barbara Starr. 2015. "U.S. destroyer to pass islands in South China Sea within 24 hours", plus short flash video (4')
Sciutto, Jim. 2015. "US Navy to Send a Ship to China," CNN, with short flash video
- Will a demonstration of force trigger a violent struggle?
- How does this compare with signals sent to North Korea to release the sailors from the USS Pueblo in 1968-9? Lecture

Week 10
Rourke & Boyer, 10: National Economic Competition: Traditional Road | Lecture [Notes of Full edition, Ch. 12]
- With the decline in the cost of transport and communications, can global trade transform relations among states?
- To what degree are international economcs and politics intertwined?
- What are the criticisms of international trade and globalization from Marxists and from nationalists?
- What is the justification for the US transferring billions of dollars in economic aid to the bankrupted European powers after the second world war? [Marshall Plan]

The Economist Newspaper's Big Mac Index 2016 (to Purchasing Power Parity)
The Economist Newspaper's Big Mac Index, 2012 (as a backup source)
- Where is the cheapest state in which to buy something -- and can we predict exchange rates?
- How can we measure the standard international cost of a good or service?
- Is it better to buy presents here before travelling abroad - or to wait till arrival abroad?
- Which countries' currencies are the most overvalued and likely to fall?

See Dates page for Test 3,which may include both multiple choice and written questions on all materials above this line.

Honors section, and volunteers: reports and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2016 Issue 8: Cuba and the US [Bottoms, Bentley, Harrelson] [PPT] moved from week 9

Honors students (and those taking research project option): tutorial in office, on research projects.

Search Exercise on gasoline price, using specfic questions in Google Form:
- In Google Form, compare costs of car to train on a specific route in UK for 4 adults.
You will need to search the web for the following
- Mileage on the route (Google maps)
- Current price of a litre of petrol (gasoline) for a car in England (at (global prices)  or (compares UK to Eurozone).
- Mileage per UK gallon of a Ford Focus 1.4 L car (
- Train day return prices per adult between two cities (
- Exchange rate of £/$ (, or similar)

Week 11
Rourke & Boyer, 11: International Economic Cooperation: Alternative Road | Lecture

Tests returned and exemplary paragraphs presented by students. (During this, nobody takes notes or records discussion).

Search Exercise on gasoline price:
If the different exercise is provided on a Google form follow, that one.
Note, from 2016, Google itself returns prices and conversions on its home search page, making this much simpler.
Search for the current price of a litre of petrol (gasoline) for a car in England. [e.g., in summer 2013 it was about £1.88 /litre; in October 2013 only £1.37].
Step 1: find this online, e.g. at (global prices)  or (which compares UK to Eurozone)
Step 2: Multiply this by 4 to get the price per US gallon (because 4 litres make a US gallon)
Step 3: Find an exchange rate calculator (e.g. at
Step 4: Multiply the result of step 2 by the $/Pound exchange rate (in 2015 was $1.59) to get the current UK petrol price per US gallon.
- At about $6-7 per US gallon, between winter and summer, what effects does that have on the economy?
Step 5: Now do the same for a litre of essence/benzene (gasoline) in the Eurozone, multiply the €/litre price by 4 and then convert by the Dollar/Euro exchange rate today (e.g. $1.34 on 11 Nov. 2013) to give the European price of gas at the pump.

Global graph of the Euro cost of a litre of unleaded gasoline in many countries
- Where is the USA found in gasoline cost rankings, according to its official figures for last month?
- Where are the Europeans found in the rankings?
- Why do Europeans drive smaller engined cars, and for shorter distances than Americans?
- Why do they often take public transport?
- Why do they often drive cars on diesel instead of gasoline?

Advising week. How to pick courses for spring pre-registration: two for major field, two for core, one elective (and you will be able to graduate on time; transfer students may need to modify this).

Week 12,Pre-registration week

The 2016 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project, summary with chart of rankings (scroll down).
- How are countries ranked?
- How couold financial inclusion transform villages and increase economic growth?
- How does digital inclusion tie into this?
- Could economic development leapfrog a country over more developed countries?
Brookings: Inclusion in India: Unpacking the 2015 FDIP Report & Scorecard
- How many Indians are "unbanked?"
- How seriously did the Modi government press the plan for financial inclusion?
- How well was the plan adopted by the people?

Rourke & Boyer, 12: Preserving & Enhancing the Biosphere | Lecture
Rourke, Notes of Full edition 14: Preserving & Enhancing Human Rights
- Is economic competition or cooperation the key to development?
- Without a world government, how can human rights be upheld?
- Can we create a global civil society in the absence of a world government?

Non-Honors students, may volunteer: reports and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2016 Issue 7: Climate Geopolitics [Arguello, K. Harding] [PPT] [from week 11]

Maps of oil, minerals and other resources, and of political divisions in Africa, Lecture

Interactive lecture/discussion session
- What tensions emerged between EDCs and LDCs on environmental regulation that emerged from the first 2 global environmental conferences (Earth summits)?
- What perspective might a developing country's head of state have on our demand that all countries reduce their rate of burning carbon?
- What alternatives are there to cut the growth of pollution, besides forbidding the burning of dirty, fossil fuels such as coal?
- What are the differences between a carbon tax and pollution credit exchanges?
- How has the US reacted historically to tax increases?
- How does business lobbying affect the chances of introducing measures that increases energy costs to businesses?

Possible showing of film, An Inconvenient Truth

Notes of speeches by Prof. William Moomaw, "Energy, National Security & Climate Change". Lead author on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Notes of Illustrated lecture to our class and to AWAC, April 6, 2010. Moomaw is a Montgomery native who  returned in April 2015 to speak to our class and to AWAC.  Some of his slides and graphs are also found on our FaceBook page for "AWAC Alabama World Affairs Council".
- How did the IPCC argue for the existence of global climate change?
- How have the data from more recent scientific observations upheld - or falsified - the IPCC's reports?
- Have the climate change data for each decade fit within the cone of the best and worst case scenarios -- or outside?
- How did Dr. Moomaw respond personally to create an energy efficient lifestyle?

Terrorist Attack on Paris 11/14/15 analysis exercise. 
Map of the attacks in Paris, Nov. 2015 | Charlie Hebdo attacks, Jan. 2015
Map of the Schengen zone (without border controls)
Map of travel routes from Bataclan, Paris, to Stade-de-France, St. Denis
Street & Metro map of northern half of Paris (zoom to Oberkampf Metro)
Metro map only, topological and zoomable
- Timeline, weapons, perpetrators, locations, targets, casualties
- What does this tell you about the terrorists' strategy and goals?
- What does this tell you about the necessary counter terrorism measures?

See Dates page and AWAC home page for any international speaker event

Critical thinking sessions (with PPT examples) about audiovisual design.
Honors section, plus any taking an upper level PSC course: for the eProject, deliverable by email and by TurnItIn, see Dates page, Citations page and Project requirements page
Note that, for readability, eProjects are now delivered to <jLewis> as well as to Turnitin.

Week 13
Critical thinking sessions (with PPT) about design of research briefing.

COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015: an online research exercise applying current affairs to the course materials on preserving the biosphere.  [ form]

Honors, and upper level students will give briefings on research: the issue; the research question; arguments; evidence; and findings.

Students should prepare for the Maps exercise, by reviewing the major countries of each region of the world, and preparing to recognize them from a map of the region.

Documentary films from international relations list (selections may vary)
[Documentary films from Terrorism list: 2015: The Secret War and Fighting for Bin Laden]

Thanksgiving Break


Honors, and upper level students will give briefings on research: the issue; the research question; arguments; evidence; and findings.

Students should prepare for the Maps exercise.

Documentary films (selections may vary)
Shown in 2015: Revolution in Cairo (PBS), about the Arab spring

 Finals week:
See Dates page for time of Comprehensive Final Exam, conducted for two hours, in usual classroom. May include Maps exercise, and as well as multiple choice and written questions on all materials above this line.
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