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PSC 209: World Politics Timetable

By Prof. Jeremy Lewis, revised 11/13/17, with links and reformatting.
Great Decisions, 2017 | GoogOlympics
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 : how can we begin thinking about world politics?
Introduction to the course [Lectures] [Discussion notes]
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?
Week 2: how has world politics evolved from ancient times?
Rourke & Boyer, brief edition, 2: The Evolution of World Politics
[Discussion notes
- 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?

GoogOlympics Event: The Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 and the political geography of New Zealand

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

Great Decisions 2017, Issue 1: The Future of Europe [Titus, Simpson, Penny]

Week 3: how can we analyze world politics?
Rourke & Boyer, 3: Levels of Analysis [ Notes from Full edition] 
- 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

US Constitution, Article II (excerpts on foreign relations) [PPT] [Magee, Meadows]
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?

Great Decisions 2017, Issue 3: Conflict in the South China Sea [Powell, Lovett, Lackey]

GoogOlympics Event: Use of Force to send signals in the South China Sea [Hubbard, LyBrand]

Week 4: how do nation states operate?
Rourke & Boyer, 4: Nationalism: The Traditional Orientation | Lecture   [Reporters]
- 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?
- 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?

Great Decisions 2017, Issue 7: Afghanistan and Pakistan [Demps, McClinton, Strickland]

Week 5: how has globalization changed control of foreign policy, from the Founders intent?
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).

US Constitution, Article III (excerpts) [Smith, Townsend]
(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 defense, 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 are returned and exemplary paragraphs presented by students. (During this, nobody takes notes or records discussion).

Week 6: how do nation states conduct their relations?
Lecture on Globalization in trade, media and transnational organizations, illustrated with current affairs examples in PPT

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?

Great Decisions 2017, Issue 2: Trade and Politics [Titus, Townsend, Trigueros]

Week 7: how do intergovernmental organizations function?
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: can international law regulate states' behavior?
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?

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

Great Decisions 2017, Issue 4: Saudi Arabia [Ysalgue + notes, Wilson, Walker X]

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

Week 9: how can the world avoid destructive wars?

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 agreements 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 pacifism have a chance?

GoogOlympics Event: current world affairs articles from
    Hubbard, Ben. 2017. "Once Shunned as ‘Drivers,’ Saudi Women Who Fought Ban Now Celebrate." New York Times, 7 Oct. 2017. [PDF] [Lawrence]
    Spiegelman, Nadja. 2016. "My Algerian Girlfriend Changed the Way I See the Burkini Ban" New York Magazine, 31 Aug. 2016. [PDF] [Strickland X, Fuentes]
    Valby, Karen. 2015. "How Princess Reema is Opening Doors for Women in Saudi Arabia." Fast Company Magazine, 18 August, 2015. [PDF] [Powell]

    Harris, Gardner and Steven Erlanger. 2017. "U.S. Will Withdraw From Unesco, Citing Its ‘Anti-Israel Bias’." New York Times, 12 Oct. 2017. [PDF] [Penny, Meadows]

    Pengelly, Martin. 2015. "He today that sheds his blood with me: when West Point rugby went to war." The Guardian, 19 Sep. 2015. [PDF] [Lackey, Demps X]
    Anon. 2015. "A history of the New Zealand rugby haka." The Economist, 4 Nov. 2015. [PDF] [Johnson]

    Zakaria, Fareed. 2015. "Iraq War Was a Terrible Mistake." CNN, 26 Oct. 2015.   [Magee X, Beery]

Great Decisions 2017, Issue 8: Nuclear Security [Titus, Gonzales X, McClinton X]

Week 10: how do nation states compete in economic trade?
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 economics 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 (to Purchasing Power Parity)
- 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 traveling 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 students (and those taking research project option): tutorial in office, on research projects.

Week 11: how can nation states cooperate in international trade?
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).

Great Decisions 2017, Issue 5: U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum [Johnson, Lybrand X, Lovett]

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.


GoogOlympics Event: Gasoline/petrol price and travel

GoogOlympics Event: The surfer girls of Bangladesh, current world affairs article from
Clark, Doug. 2017. "Social Media Turned Bangla Surf Girls Into Stars." Elle magazine, 30 October 2017.
- Why is it remarkable that girls would surf?
- Why is it risky to teach a foreign sport to children?
- Why did the club break up?
- Ultimately, what was achieved by the club?

Week 12: how do environmental trends affect relations among states?

Pre-registration week

Rourke & Boyer, 12: Preserving & Enhancing the Biosphere | Lecture

Rourke, Notes of Full edition 14: Preserving & Enhancing Human Rights
- What are human rights, and how do they differ from legal or civil rights?
- Without a world government, how can human rights be upheld?
- Can we create a global civil society in the absence of a world government?
- Faced with the New Nationalism, will countries forsake human rights?

Great Decisions 2017, 6: Latin America’s Political Pendulum [Fuentes, Trigueros, Ysalgue]

GoogOlympics Event: The Financial and Digital Inclusion Project
- Can countries provide digital means of helping poor people trade, make payments and bank?
- Does this speed development?

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 an Upload folder on as well as to Turnitin.

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

GoogOlympics Events: current issues in global sports and climate change

Schofield, Daniel. 2017. "England players plan to donate £1,000 each to bankrupt Samoan Rugby Union," Telegraph, UK, 11/8/17
- Should England Rugby Union Players donate to Samoans?
- What are the disparities in income between players from the Global North and South?
- Should host nations who take financial risks, keep the profits from their global sports events?

Telegraph Sport. 2017. "Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted me, says former US goalkeeper Hope Solo." Telegraph.co.uk, 11/11/17

- What is the fairest response when one has been touched sexually in private: to accuse the 'toucher' publicly or privately?
- Is the standard of behavior between the sexes universal, or is feminism a US cultural imposition on some other countries?

Beauchamp, Zack. 2017. "The purge in Saudi Arabia explained." Vox 11/06/17
- What form of government runs Saudi Arabia?
- What is the rank or status of MBS and of the people he accuses and arrests?
- Are the arrests more about reducing corruption or more about securing power over others?

COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015, applying current affairs to the course materials on preserving the biosphere. Google Form

Honors, and upper level students will give Briefings of 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


Week 14: briefings and maps

Honors, and upper level students will give Briefings of 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: where we show what we've learned
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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