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PSC 209: World Politics TimeTable

By Prof. Jeremy Lewis, revised 2 Oct. 2015, with progress checks.
No classes, Fall 2015: M 7 Sep, F 18 & 25 Sep, F 9, 16 & 30 Oct, F 14 Nov, 23-27 Nov.
Discussion Notes | CIA World Factbook | Country Briefings from Economist | Great Decisions media episodes
Week: [01] [02] [03] [dinner party] [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: Presentations 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: Presentations and discussion of FPA, Great Decisions 2015, Issue
GD 7: Joseph Chamie, "Human Trafficking in the 21st Century" [Nolan, Sydney, Ja'Marcus and Katrina] [PPT]
- What is the global scale of human trafficking?
- In what sense does the US bear responsibility for tackling human trafficking?
- What international laws can be applied to controlling human trafficking?

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: Presentations and discussion of Great Decisions 2015, Issue
GD 6: Rochelle Davis, "Syria's Refugee Crisis" [Nolan, Sydney, Ja'Marcus and Katrina]
- What has been the historical Syrian policy toward an inflow of refugees?
- Why are Syrians now fleeing to other countries as refugees?
- How could international coooperation alleviate the condition of Syrian refugees?
- Is international assistance to large numbers of Syrian refugees politically feasible?

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: Presentations 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: Presentations and discussion of Great Decisions 2015, Issue GD 8: Juan de Onis, "Brazil's Metamorphosis" [Seth & Ian]
- How has Brazil emerged as a growing market ane a developing polity?
- What global sporting events and glob al issues have raised Brazil's profile in the world?
- What weaknesses at home have held back Brazil from a more prominent role in world politics?

Dr. and Mrs. Lewis invite current and former students, with friends, to their home for an annual dinner party at home, 4-6 pm on Sunday; see Dates page for any changes, and check email for driving directions.
High resolution images found here | Low resolution images here
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: Presentations and discussion of Great Decisions 2015, issue
4: Barbara Crossette, "India Changes Course" [Ashley and Austin]
- Why did Indian voters send the BJP to power?
- What challenges and opportunities does the BJP government present for the US?
- How best can the US treat with India in order to secure its national interests?

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).

Honors section, and volunteers: Presentations and discussion of
US Constitution, Article III (excerpts)[Sydney]
(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 [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).

Honors section: Presentations and discussion of Great Decisions 2015, issue
GD 3: Lawrence G. Potter, "Sectarianism in the Middle East" [Reporters]
- How can we define sectarianism in order to understand it?
- What drives the division between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and across which countries?
- To what degree is sectarianism political rather than religious?
- What can the US do about sectarianism in the middle East?

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

Rourke & Boyer, 7: Intergovernmental Organizations: Alternative Governance  [Reporter]
- 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
[Notes from Full edition, 9]
- 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: Presentations and discussion of Great Decisions 2015, Issue
2: Nuala O'Connor, "Privacy in the Digital Age" [Reporters]
- How and why has the harm from privacy intrusions become a global issue?
- How have the tables turned on privacy in the US since the time of the Founding?
- To what degree has international legislation kept pace with surveillance technology?
- Is privacy now, essentially, dead?

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

Week 9
Rourke & Boyer, 9: Pursuing Security
- 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?

Honors section, and volunteers: Presentations and discussion of Great Decisions 2015, issue
GD 1: Oxana Shevel, "Russia and the Near Abroad" [Reporters]
- What was the significance of the "Euromaidan" social movement?
- Why do many Russians not see Ukraine as a sovereign state?
- Should the US and EU resist Russian interference in Ukraine?

Week 10
Rourke & Boyer, 10: National Economic Competition: Traditional Road [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, 2012 (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 travelling abroad - or to wait till arrival abroad?

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
Rourke & Boyer, 11: International Economic Cooperation: Alternative Road

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

Non-Honors students may volunteer to present: Great Decisions 2015, Issue
GD 5: Adekeye Adebajo, "U.S. Policy Toward Africa"
- How is Africa transforming its economies and polities?
- Why are foreign investors approaching Africa?
- What difference did the Obama factor make, in reality?
- How can the US live up to its declared values in its relationship throughout the region?

Search Exercise on gasoline price:
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 (currently $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

Rourke & Boyer, 12: Preserving & Enhancing the Biosphere
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?

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 Spring 2015 to speak to our class and to AWAC.
- 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?

See Dates page and AWAC home page for international speaker event

Honors section, and volunteers: developing projects and presentations

Week 13
Documentary films (selections may vary)

Critical thinking sessions (with PPT) about research design.

Honors section, plus any taking an upper level PSC course: for the Project, 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.

Great Decisions 2015, Fall Update [PDF]

Thanksgiving Break


Documentary films (selections may vary)
Honors, and upper level students will give briefings on research: the issue; the research question; arguments; evidence; and findings.

Critical thinking sessions (with PPT examples) about audiovisual design.

Students should prepare for Maps exercise.

 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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