Political Science 160 (3 cr.) -
Introduction to International Relations
Professor Sophia Peterson
Office: Woodburn 306J, West Virginia University
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is
a piece of the
continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a
manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes
me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to
know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
John Donne,Meditation 17 (1624)
This quotation from a great 17th century English poet and minister movingly expresses the interconnectedness of the human race. It is even truer today than it was 375 years ago because humankind is more closely linked today than ever before. Our country stands alone as the sole superpower in what is becoming daily more and more a "Global Village" with 6 billion people linked by limitless economic transactions, environmental and security challenges.
While the United States has more numerous and more complex relationships with other nations and international organizations, at the same time, the American people are less informed about world affairs than they were during the Cold War which ended in 1989-1991 with the collapse of Communism in East Europe and the Soviet Union. Print and television coverage of world affairs has declined since then and some analysts warn of the revival of neo-isolationism or a unilateral American foreign policy--a kind of "Lone Ranger" approach to world affairs. Some would argue that at a time of greater interconnectedness and more complexity, it is even more important that the American people be better informed about world affairs than previously.
Overall Goals of Course
This course has twin goals: first, to help you become more knowledgeable about world affairs, and, secondly, to increase your awareness about how you affect world affairs and how world affairs affect you. The class will be a joint enterprise with you and me working together so that at the end you will have the factual knowledge and the analytical tools for understanding world affairs as they unfold in this post-Cold War period.
To realize these goals:
1) The course is designed to provide a thorough historic background for world affairs in the post-Second World War period. How can anyone understand current events unless one understands how we got here--the forces that have created today's world. To achieve that objective an excellent, readable textbook has been selected (see below).
2) Knowing the background is not enough. It is also necessary to have some tools for analyzing the facts. The textbook provides some analysis, but additional analytical tools will be provided in the lectures (on Tuesdays).
3) Assignments will also focus on current events. The historic background and the analytical tools will help you to understand current events--to evaluate current foreign policies and programs. Should the United States build an anti-missile defense system? When, if ever, should the United Nations undertake humanitarian interventions? Should the foreign debts of poor countries be forgiven (that is, not paid)? Information on such current events and issues will be provided through your daily reading of The Christian Science Monitor.
4) Increased awareness of the interrelationship between you and world affairs depends on several things: (a) knowledge--thorough understanding of the reading is essential; (2) writing about what you are reading to help you come to grips with the material--to think about what you are learning through reading and lectures ; (3) discussing ideas and events with other students and me on a regular basis; (4) learning how the efforts of ordinary people have made a difference. The course is designed with regular reading, writing, and discussion assignments.
The course is organized as follows to achieve our objectives:
Tuesdays will be devoted to lectures setting forth important concepts and analytical tools which political scientists have developed to understand world affairs. Two films and other materials will be shared.
Thursdays will be mainly devoted to the reading: quizzes on the assigned reading, student essays on questions on the reading, small group discussion of questions on the reading, and a sharing of the ideas coming out of the group discussions.
This division of labor between Tuesdays and Thursdays results from my recent experience with the academic preparation of students. The Second World War and the half century since it ended have created the world we live in today, but by and large university students do not have background knowledge of this period. This makes it very difficult for students to understand the theories and analytical tools which political scientists teach to help students go beyond simply knowing what happened. For example, how can students understand a central concept of "balance of power" or the implications of a "bipolar or multipolar world" if they have no knowledge of the past? So we are going to obtain this background through an excellent textbook and thorough discussion of each week's assigned reading in class on Thursdays.
At the same time, just knowing "the facts" is not enough. Blaming the Second World War on Hitler alone (an individual decision maker), blaming the Cold War on the characteristics of a single nation-state (communist Soviet Union), or blaming the world's current problems on the fact that there is only one superpower in the global system today--all are incomplete and shallow analyses.. Political scientists have developed theories, frameworks of analysis, and concepts to guide us in asking questions which go beyond "the facts." That is the job of the Tuesday lectures and to highlight through films some extraordinary developments which have changed the world (nuclear weapons) or our own country (the Vietnam War).
If this experimental organization of the course does not work well, we will modify it as we go along.
Thursdays: Quizzes and Small Group Discussion
Every Thursday class will begin with a quiz: 4 short-answer questions on the reading assigned for that week. The questions will test whether you have read the assignment carefully. Each correct answer will receive one point with 4 points being A; 3=B; 2=C; 1=D; 0=F. If you are absent, or do not stay for the entire class, you will receive minus 4 points. No makeup quizzes will be given; however, every student will be permitted one absence without penalty.
Small group and class discussion
After the quiz, students will gather in groups of 6 students to which they should bring 7 copies of one written question drawn from the reading (one copy is for me). The question should be an important one that is (a) answered by the reading; (b) raised by the reading; or (c) omitted by the reading. Be prepared to explain the significance of your question in your group. Each group will appoint a reporter who will record the main points made during the group discussion. The groups will share questions and discuss (a) why or if each question is truly important; or (b) how the reading answered it; or (c) why the reading omitted the question; or (d) possible answers to the question.
Before the discussion is completed, the group will decide which 1 or 2 of the questions is/are most significant and why.
Finally, the reporter for each group will report the group's conclusion to the entire class and we will discuss the questions.
Rationale for this course requirement
Thursday classes will achieve several things. First, they will ensure that you read carefully and digest the material thoroughly. Second, they should ensure that you go beyond simply learning the material--that you think about what you have read and the questions it raises (or doesn't raise). Third, they should help you learn from each other--to describe your ideas clearly and listen to what your peers have gotten out of the same material. Finally, they should help you develop your communication and listening skills--to define and explain your ideas clearly and to listen to other views.
Tuesdays: Lectures on key political science concepts/frameworks of analysis, institutions. Also reports on The Christian Science Monitor. Films and other relevant materials.
Tuesday classes will be devoted to various purposes:
First, lectures will explain key political science concepts, theories, analytical framework, significant institutional developments, and global issues.
Secondly, the class will view two significant films, one on atomic war (the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and the other on the Vietnam War. (Attendance is required.)
Third, once a month students will submit written summaries on 20 articles they read from The Christian Science Monitor to be followed by small group discussion. (Attendance is required.) Details on this assignment below.
Finally, relevant materials on the role of ordinary people in world affairs will be shared.
Rationale for this course requirement
Tuesdays classes provide the analytical tools and perspectives of political science and the information on current events not provided by your textbook.
There will be three examinations each counting equally. Each examination will include a choice of one out of two essay questions specifically on the lectures (50% of grade) and 30-35 multiple choice questions specifically on the reading. Sample essay questions will be distributed prior to the exams to help students prepare.
1) Wayne C. Williams & Harry Piotrowski, The World Since 1945: A History of International Relations 4th ed. (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997). Paperback ($23.50)
2) The Christian Science Monitor, a daily newspaper to be delivered to your home (3-month subscription $27.00).
Please sign up for a subscription in class on Thursday, August 24th. If you do not receive your newspaper, you may read the office copy in my office (Woodburn 306J). Difficulties in receiving The Monitor should be reported to me, to The Monitor (800-678-3218), and the U.S. Post Office (291-1035). Not receiving a copy of The Monitor is not acceptable as an excuse for not completing all twenty of The Monitor articles assigned monthly.
The "Introduction" to the textbook required for this course explains very well why I selected it: After reviewing the state of the world today (e.g., poverty and war), the authors write: "This is the world into which the youth of today were born. Their chances of resolving the immense problems they have inherited, of reducing the nuclear threat and of alleviating the misery of the majority of mankind, thus making the world a safer and more civilized place, depend to a great extent on what they know of the causes of these problems. The clear-eyed vision needed to come to terms with these difficult problems and to progress toward a resolution of them must be based on an understanding of the past. To remain ignorant of that past is to compound the chances of either perpetuating the current problems or committing grievous and possibly irretrievable errors. ...because World War II represents an historic watershed, one of the landmarks in history, it is not inappropriate that it be taken as a starting point for the study of recent world history. And because the postwar period is distinctly a new era with many new features--the advent of nuclear warfare, the development of high-speed aviation, the emergence of two superpowers, and the end of European colonialism, to name just a few--it makes sense to treat it as a distinct historical period. ...for certain topics treated in this text, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict or the revolution in China, it will be necessary to trace historical roots further back in time...." (Page 3)
It is impossible to understand world affairs today unless we understand the background for events and developments. "How and why do the events we read about today occur?" Many of the answers to such questions lie in the past.
At the same time, we are all living in the present and are affected by what happens today. So you will read The Christian Science Monitor, one of America's great newspapers which has received several national awards
Few fields of study are as fascinating, controversial, or important as international relations. At the same time, it is a field whose complexities should be discussed. I want to encourage everyone to raise questions or offer comments about what we are studying. As the cartoon below illustrates, you can be sure any question you raise is also puzzling others.
West Virginia University is committed to social justice. I concur with that commitment and expect to maintain a positive learning environment based upon open communication, mutual respect, and non-discrimination. Our University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, veteran status, religious, sexual orientation, color or national origin. Any suggestions as to how to further such a positive and open environment in this class will be appreciated and given serious consideration. If you are a person with a disability and anticipate needing any type of accommodation in order to participate in this class, please advise me and make appropriate arrangements with Disability Services (293-6700).
Details on The Christian Science Monitor Assignment
During the semester, you will read one article each week day about one of the following subjects (you will have a choice):
a. Sub-Saharan Africa AND the Middle East
b. Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America; Caribbean)
c. East and West Europe
e. International Organizations (e.g., United Nations, N.A.T.O., the World Trade Organization); non-governmental organizations (e.g., the International Red Cross, Amnesty International, liberation organizations); multi-national corporations (e.g., IBM, Ford Motor Company, General Electric).
You will select which of the above subjects you want to read about during the semester. The title of the assigned articles to be read will be distributed in class on Tuesdays and posted on the bulletin board outside my office.
You will submit three monthly papers summarizing about 20 assigned Monitor articles AND one Analytical Essay explaining how the textbook helped you to understand one or more of the articles you summarized. (You may use the index at the back of the textbook to find information relevant to your subject.)
1. Your summaries will be due early in October, November, and December. Your summaries and the Analytical Essay must be typed or word processed on forms distributed in class.
2. Staple a map to your papers with the countries covered in your articles highlighted. (Map to be provided.)
3. Class Discussions of Monitor Articles
So that you can learn about what is happening regarding other subjects, small group discussions will take place during the class period when The Monitor papers are due. In small groups you will distribute to everyone (and to me) a brief written report on the most important article about your subject during the previous month and discuss it AND OTHER ARTICLES with the others. Copies of the form to be used for this report will be distributed. A facilitator will be asked to lead the discussion and report to the full class which article the group thought was the most important and WHY.
Attendance is required as follows:
A. Thursday classes (with one absence permitted for any reason). If you miss a Thursday class, you will receive minus 4 points to be averaged in with the other quizzes which will be graded as follows: 4 points=A; 3 points=B; 2=C; 1=D; 0=F. No makeup quizzes will be given. You will be excused if you miss a quiz ONLY FOR A SUBSTANTIAL REASON DOCUMENTED IN A LETTER TO ME WRITTEN BY A UNIVERSITY OFFICIAL OR OTHER RESPONSIBLE PERSON. Reasons such a catching a ride or an airplane or oversleeping are not considered legitimate excuses. Letters must be submitted to me immediately after the absence. (This attendance policy applies to films, Monitor reports, and examinations also.)
B. Films. Attendance is required at both films. A quiz will be administered immediately after the films. Quiz grades will be averaged in with Thursday quiz grades.
C. Three Monitor report classes.
Your final grade will consist of the following parts:
1) Thursday quizzes (and film quizzes) 20%
2) Three summary papers on The Monitor including Analytic Essay 20%
3) First examination 20%
4) Second examination 20%
5) Final examination 20%
Students may use this course to meet the University's "W" (writing) course requirement. Up to six Political Science majors may choose this opinion on a first-come, first-serve basis (with preference to seniors). Students taking the "W" option are required:
1) To write a 2500 word paper (not including footnotes or bibliography) on an international topic approved or assigned by me. The paper MUST BE TYPED OR WORD PROCESSED DOUBLE-SPACED. Students should contact me in class about the paper topic no later than Thursday, September 28th. The first draft will be due on Thursday, November 2nd. Late papers will not be accepted.
2) To rewrite the paper after receiving my written comments and having a consultation with me. Re-written papers are due in class on Thursday, December 7th. Late papers will receive an "F" (and this will also be the final course grade). Students must submit a copy of the original first draft of the paper together with the rewritten paper.
In order to complete the "W" requirement, you must show a reasonable effort on the first draft of the paper, you must produce a rewritten paper that addresses my comments on the first draft in a satisfactory manner, and you must use accepted rules for footnotes and bibliography (suggested source: WVU Manual for English 2). If you do not do so, or if either version of the paper is late, you will receive a grade of "F" for the course, regardless of the quality of your other course work. Students who complete the two portions of the "W" requirement successfully, and who pass the course, will receive credit for the course with a "W" notation on the transcript (one "W" course is required for graduation).
READING ASSIGNMENTS AND CLASS SCHEDULE
(Average weekly reading assignment: 35 pages)
If I have inadvertently overlooked days of special concern or religious holidays in the class schedule, please do not hesitate to bring this to my attention.
August 22-24: Introduction to the Post Second World War Period, Pp. 1-5
Thursday, August 24: Sign up for Christian Science Monitor subscription.
August 29-31: Origins of the Cold War
A. End of World War II and Dawn of the Nuclear Age, Pp. 7-27
B. The Cold War Institutionalized, Pp. 30-46
Tuesday, August 29: Film, "Hiroshima/Nagasaki" (Gluck Theater, Mountainlair)
Thursday, August 31: Quiz on this week's reading assignment
September 5-7: Origins of the Cold War (concluded)
C. The Cold War in Asia: A Change of Venue, Pp. 49-72
D. Confrontation and Coexistence, Pp. 76-100
Tuesday, September 5: First Christian Science Monitor assignments begin.
Thursday, September 7: Quiz on this week's reading assignment
September 12-14: Nationalism and the End of Colonialism
A. Decolonization in Asia, Pp. 105-122
B. Decolonization in Africa,Pp. 125-140
Thursday, September 14: Quiz on this week's reading assignment.
September 19-21: Nationalism and the End of Colonialism (concluded)
C. The Middle East: The Arab-Israeli Conflict, Pp. 143-166
The Shifting Sands of Global Power
A. The Communist World After Stalin, Pp. 169-196
Thursday, September 21: Quiz on this week's reading assignment.
Tuesday, Sept. 26: FIRST EXAMINATION (covers 170 pages reading plus lectures)
September 26-28:The Shifting Sands of Global Power
A. The War in Indochina, Pp. 199-221
B. Detente and the End of Bipolarity, Pp. 225-239
Thursday, September 28: Quiz on this week's reading assignment
October 3-5: The Third World
A. Africa: Political and Economic Disasters, Pp. 241-279
Tuesday, October 3: Film, "Hearts and Minds" (Gluck Theater, Mountainlair)
Thursday, October 5: Quiz on this week's reading assignment.
October 10-12: The Third World
B. Apartheid in South Africa, Pp. 284-298
C. South America: Oscillation Between Military & Civilian Rule, Pp. 300-321
Tuesday, Oct. 10: Christian Science Monitor summaries due-small group discussion.
Thursday, October 12: Quiz on this week's reading assignment
October 17-19: The Third World (continued)
D. Revolution and Counterrevolution in Central America, Pp. 324-348
E. The People's Republic of China, Pp. 352-367
Thursday, October 19: Quiz on this week's reading assignment.
October 24-26: The Third World (continued)
F. The Four Tigers of Asia, Pp. 367-380
G. The Indian Subcontinent & Southeast Asia, Pp. 383-408
Thursday, October 26: Quiz on this week's reading assignment.
Tuesday, October 31: SECOND EXAMINATION (covers 186 pages reading plus lectures since first exam)
October 31-Nov. 2: The Third World (concluded)
H. Third World Debt: Africa and Latin America, Pp. 411-421
The End of the Postwar Era
A. Islam, Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf War, Pp. 423-453
Thursday, November 2: Quiz on this week's reading assignment
November 7-9: The End of the Postwar Era (continued)
B. The New Economic Superpowers: Japan and the European Union, Pp. 457-481
Thursday, November 9: Quiz on this week's reading assignment.
November 14-16: End of the Postwar Era (continued)
C. The Soviet Empire: A Beleaguered Colossus, Pp. 486-504
D. Gorbachev and the Consequences of Perestroika, Pp. 507-531
Tuesday, November 14: Submit Christian Science Monitor summaries and Analytic Essay.
Thursday, November 16: Quiz on this week's reading assignment.
November 21-23: Thanksgiving Recess.
November 28-30: End of the Postwar Era (continued)
E. Eastern Europe: The End of the Soviet Empire, Pp. 535-560
Thursday, November 30: Quiz on this week's reading assignment.
December 5-7: End of the Postwar Era (concluded)
F. The Nuclear Arms Race, Pp. 563-589
G. Epilogue: The End of the Postwar Age, Pp. 594-600
Thursday, December 7: No quiz today. Submit Christian Science Monitor summaries and Analytic Essay.
Monday, Dec. 11, 3-5 PM. LAST EXAM (covers 163 pp. reading plus lectures since second exam).