Politics 116
World Politics
Spring 2008

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). The quiz grades will constitute 50% of your final grade.

There will be an exercise in navigating the World Wide Web. The project will count for 50% of your final grade. If you wish to see examples of last term's 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.

Your web site projects can be viewed here.

Procedural Matters

The readings in the syllabus are on the Internet and can be accessed at http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/spring08.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 Mondays from 3:00-4:30 and Thursdays from 10:30-12. I can also be reached on e-mail: vferraro@mtholyoke.edu.

Course Schedule

30 January Introduction

4-6 February 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

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

11 February--Realism and the Techniques of Control (1): The Balance of Power

Morton Kaplan's Rules on the Balance of Power

13 February Building a Web Page

18-20 February Realism and the Techniques of control (2): Imperialism

Lecture Notes on Imperialism

Some Statistics on the Extent of European Colonialism

The Largest Historical Empires

25-27 February 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)

Middle East Media Research Institute, "Tunisian Progressive Basit bin Hasan: Why There's Opposition to Human Rights in Arab Society," Special Dispatch Series, No. 1810, January 11, 2008

3 March Realism and the Techniques of Control (3): Hegemonic Stability

Lecture Notes on the Theory of Hegemonic Stability

Statistics on Hegemonic Predominance

Parag Khanna, "Waving Goodbye to Hegemony," New York Times, January 27, 2008

5-12 March 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.

Marc Ferro, The Great War, 1914-1918 London: Ark Paperbacks, 1987, Chapter 3, "Inevitable War," pp. 19-25

The Growth of Non-Liberal Regimes in the Interwar Period

Map of the Pacific Theater

24-26 March Challenges to Realism (1): Can Morality Transcend the National Interest? Just War Doctrine

Lecture Notes on Just War Doctrine

31 March-2 April The Cold War

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) (Only read Section I)

7-9 April Challenges to Realism (2): Can the Nation-State Provide Security?

Lecture Notes on Non-Proliferation

Nuclear Arsenals, early-1990s and projected to 2012

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

14-16 April Challenges to Realism (3): Can the Nation-State Inspire Loyalty?

Gary J. Bass, Independence Daze," New York Times, January 6, 2008

Boriana Marinova-Zuber, "The Rebirth of Nationalism in the Balkans in the 1990s: Causes, Consequences and Possible Solutions," International Relations and Security Network (ISN), Zurich, Switzerland, August 2007

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

Katrin Bennhold, "2 personalities clash on European immigration," International Herald Tribune, January 15, 2008

21-23 April 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

PricewaterhouseCoopers, "Companies Should Seize Opportunities Posed By Major Shift In Power To Emerging Economies By 2050," 3 March 2006

Peter Marsh, "US to lose role as top manufacturer," Financial Times, May 23 2007

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

28-30 April Challenges to Realism (5): Can the Nation-State Protect the Environment?

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

BBC News Online, "Greenland melt 'speeding up'," 11 August 2006

Richard A. Lovett, "Arctic Oil Rush Sparks Battles Over Seafloor," National Geographic News, August 23, 2007

John Browne, "Beyond Kyoto," Foreign Affairs, July/August 2004

Edward Goldsmith, "Can the Environment Survive the Global Economy?" The Ecologist, Vol. 27, no. 6 (1997)

David Evans, "No smoking hot spot," The Australian, July 18, 2008

5 May Challenges to Realism (6): Can the Nation-State Provide Economic Justice?

Levels of Per Capita GDP and Interregional Spreads, 1000-1998

Shares of World GDP, 1000-1998

Statistics on External Debt

United Nations Millennium Declaration, G.A. Res. 55/2, U.N. GAOR, 55th Sess., Supp. No. 49, at 4, U.N. Doc. A/55/49 (2000).

Vincent Ferraro "Globalizing Weakness: Is Global Poverty a Threat to the Interests of States?" Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Environmental Change and Security, 8 August 2003

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