Why do actors in the international system behave and interact in the way that they do, especially with regards to conflict and cooperation? There are many explanations for international behavior, primarily because theorists often “see” the world differently. This course examines these diverging explanations, reviewing the theories, concepts, and themes undergirding the scientific study of international relations (IR). Throughout the course, students will use these approaches to discuss and analyze key IR issues and controversies. At the heart of IR is an accounting of the challenges of anarchy, complexity, and diversity to state pursuit of security and prosperity in today’s world. To analyze these challenges, the course proceeds through four parts:
1. A brief history of the evolution of international politics, and the emergence of international relations as a field.
2. An overview of major theories and concepts used by scholars to explain international phenomena and behaviors of actors.
3. Applications of major theories and concepts to enact sound, logical policy responses to security and prosperity challenges.
4. A survey of more critical perspectives on security, development, and the international order, including issues such as globalization.
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