Politics 116
World Politics
Fall 2010

Vincent Ferraro
103 Skinner Hall

Purpose and Structure of the Course

This course will introduce some of the basic concepts in the study of world politics. It is a survey course and assumes no prior knowledge or experience in the study of International Relations. The first half of the course will focus on the traditional perspectives in world politics; the second half of the course will emphasize new challenges to the study of world politics. The course will be run as a lecture, although questions, comments, and discussion are always welcome.

Course Requirements

There will be a weekly quiz on the readings, discussions, lectures, and current events. I will take the ten highest grades from these quizzes (which means you can miss some or I will drop some low grades). Due to the large class size, there is no possibility for make-up quizzes. The quiz grades will constitute 50% of your final grade.

Final Quiz Averages

Students can choose their final project which will count for 50% of your final grade. Students can either maintain a blog on world politics throughout the term or they can build a web page on a topic within world politics. For information about maintaining a blog, click here. If you wish to see examples of last term's web page projects, click here. The criteria I will use for evaluating the final projects are outlined in an evaluation sheet that can be accessed here. LITS has a special office to help students develop web projects for courses, and offers training sessions in web software. You can check the calendar for these workshops here. Submission procedures for the web page can be found here.

To view the web projects for this term, click here.

Procedural Matters

The readings in the syllabus are on the Internet and can be accessed at http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/fall10.htm. There are no books to purchase for this course. However, you are required to keep abreast of current events in world politics, and I strongly urge reading a prominent daily newspaper. A subscription to a newspaper would be highly recommended. I will choose questions for the weekly quizzes and post them on a blogsite that can can be accessed at: http://www.bloglines.com/blog/vferraro

My office is 103 Skinner, and my office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30-12. I can also be reached on e-mail: vferraro@mtholyoke.edu.

Course Schedule

8 September Introduction

13-20 September Realism and the Causes of War

Lecture Notes on Political Realism

Hans J. Morgenthau, "Six Principles of Political Realism," Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, Revised, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, pp. 4-15

John Gravois, "The Agnostic Cartographer," The Washington Monthly, July/August 2010

Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), pp. 1-8

Benedict Carey, "Decades Later, Still Asking: Would I Pull That Switch?" New York Times, 1 July 2008

22 September--Realism and the Techniques of Control (1): The Balance of Power

Morton Kaplan's Rules on the Balance of Power

27 September Building a Web Page

29 September-6 October Realism and the Techniques of control (2): Imperialism

Lecture Notes on Imperialism

Some Statistics on the Extent of European Colonialism

The Largest Historical Empires

Maps of War, "Imperial History of the Middle East"

Stephen Walt, "10 lessons on empire," FP Passport, 13 July 2009

13-20 October Imperialism and the Westernization of International Politics

Micheline R. Ishay, The History of Human Rights (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 64-75

Anthony Arblaster, The Rise and Decline of Western Liberalism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984), pp. 55-59; 66-91

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Shashi Tharoor, "Are Human Rights Universal?" World Policy Journal, Vol. XVI, No. 4 (Winter 1999/2000)

Top Ten Cities throughout History

25-27 October Realism and the Techniques of Control (3): Hegemonic Stability

Lecture Notes on the Theory of Hegemonic Stability

Statistics on Hegemonic Predominance

Daniel Drezner, "The United States flunks hegemonic stability theory," FP Passport, 8 March 2009

1-3 November The Great European War, 1914-1945: The Struggle for Hegemony

F.S. Northedge and M.J. Grieve, A Hundred Years of International Relations, (New York: Praeger, 1971), Chapter 5, "The Approach to the First World War," pp. 71-90 and Chapter 6, "The Morrow of Armageddon," pp. 91-111.

Casualties in World War I

The Growth of Non-Liberal Regimes in the Interwar Period

Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010), pp. vii-xv; pp. 399-402

Map of the Pacific Theater

8-10 November Challenges to Realism (1): Can Morality Transcend the National Interest? Just War Doctrine

Lecture Notes on Just War Doctrine

William R. Keylor, The Twentieth Century World: An International History, 2nd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), CHAPTER 8, "The Formation of the Bipolar World in the Truman-Stalin Era, (1945-1953)," pp. 261-95.

NSC 68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security, (April 14, 1950)

15-17 November Challenges to Realism (2): Can the Nation-State Provide Security?

Lecture Notes on Non-Proliferation

Nuclear Arsenals, early-1990s and projected to 2012

Jorn Madslien, "Military spending sets new record," BBC News, 8 June 2009

Niall Ferguson, "A World Without Power," Foreign Policy, July/August 2004

James F. Hoge, Jr., "A Global Power Shift in the Making," Foreign Affairs, July/August 2004

John Plender, "Great dangers attend the rise and fall of great powers," Financial Times, August 20 2010

22 November Challenges to Realism (3): Can the Nation-State Inspire Loyalty?

Lecture Notes on the Responsiblity to Protect

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Revised Edition ed. London and New York: Verso, 1991, pp. 5-7

Alexander Wendt, "Anarchy is what States Make of it: The Social Construction of Power Politics," International Organization, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Spring, 1992), pp. 391-425 (Excerpts)

Gary J. Bass, Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention (New York: Vintage Books, 2008), excerpts from Chapter One, "Humanitarianism or Imperialism?" pp. 11-24

Adam Curtis, "Goodies and Baddies," BBC News, 28 March 2011

Noman Hanif, "The Caliphate: Islam's Challenge to Global Order?" Media Monitors Network, January 31, 2006

29 November-1 December Challenges to Realism (4): Is the Nation-State Sufficient to Provide Economic Growth?

Levels of World Economic Performance, 1500-1992

The Ten Leading Economies in 1820 and 1992

David Rothkopf, "A World Transformed: The Great Hollowing Out and the Rise of New Threats. The Security Consequences of the Current Global Economic Crisis," Testimony before the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 11, 2009

Vincent Ferraro, "Dependency Theory: An Introduction," July 1996

6-8 December Challenges to Realism (5): Can the Nation-State Protect the Environment?

For Reference: "The Human Toll of Climate Change," Map prepared by Reece Rushing and Sarah Dreier, development by Evan Hensleigh, Science Progress

United Nations, World Economic and Social Survey 2009: Promoting Development, Saving the Planet (September 2009), Chapter 1, "Climate Change and the Development Challenge."

John M. Broder, "Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security," New York Times, 8 August 2009

AFP, "US heat wave just preview of future: study," 11 August 2010

Jacques Leslie, "The Last Empire: China's Pollution Problem Goes Global," Mother Jones, December 10, 2007

Yevgeny Kryshkin, "Russia versus US-NATO in the Arctic: Moscow Strives for Arctic Shelf Rights," Centre for Research on Globalization, 6 August 2010

13 December Conclusion