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Бакалавриат 2018/2019

Введение в международные отношения

Направление: 41.03.01. Зарубежное регионоведение
Когда читается: 1-й курс, 3, 4 модуль
Формат изучения: Full time
Язык: английский
Кредиты: 4

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the basic theories, history, and philosophy of international relations. This course starts out with laying out the leading theories of international relations such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism and then deals with such historical topics as World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the Rise of China and the decline of the United States. In addition, the students will be exposed to the main philosophy of Plato, Hegel, and Marx; thereby, understanding the origins of the ideas of the end of history and the clash of civilizations.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The course aims to initiate a systematic and holistic view on the basic theoretical approaches to international relations as a discipline, their historical evolution and influence as well as to form a systemic view on the specificity of key global political and economic processes through the prism of IR theory.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students will have a basic understanding of realism, liberalism, and constructivism, three main theoretical paradigms of international relations in the US and the West: By studying historical cases such as World War I, the Cold War, etc., students will develop an interest in history; By combining theory, history, and philosophy, students will develop analytical and debating skills that will enable them to succeed in whatever they do
  • Students will have a basic understanding of such burning issues in IR theory as anarchic politics, ethical questions, and International Politics, three views of the role of morality
  • By reading both Thucydides and Morgenthau, students would have a fairly good idea as to how realists understand the world and what lessons they are trying to teach the world.
  • Students will have a good understanding of both liberalism and constructivism, primarily such concepts as norms, identity, culture, and morality.
  • Students will be able to learn to eliminate weak arguments and come up with one or two plausible arguments for the causes of World War I.
  • Students will learn alternative explanations of the outbreak of World War I
  • Students will learn Wilson’s idea of collective security and its history. In particular, students will learn how the United States failed to join the League and how it worked during 1920s. And why it failed eventually.
  • In this session, the importance of the Great Depression as the main causes of World War II will be explored
  • Issues of nuclear weapons and the significance of the Cuban missile crisis will also be examined. Students will be exposed to nuclear jargons such as MAD, Deterrence, Second-Strike capability, etc
  • Students will be able to examine the flaws of the traditional explanations for the end of the Cold War and pay more attention to the individual role played by Gorbachev
  • Students will be exposed to Marx’s idea of communism and make a judgment as to what would be our best economic system
  • Students will have a good understanding of both Fukuyama and Huntington views and they will decide whose view is more rational
  • Students will be able to develop an alternative view on democracy and liberal values
  • Students will be able to discuss the great power rivalry though the prism of main IR theories
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • An Overview of the course
    The first week is the introduction of the leading theories of international relations such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism.
  • Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism
    This session is an introduction to the basic concepts of IR. Students should be exposed to the following topics: 1. What is international politics? 2. Anarchic Politics: Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism 3. Building Blocs 4. A Brief Summary of the Peloponnesian War: Causes and Theories 5. Inevitability and the Shadow of the Future 6. Ethical Questions and International Politics 7. Three Views of the Role of Morality
  • Realism and the Peloponnesian War
    This session deals with the most dominant paradigm of international relations in the past, that is realism. While there are so many variants of realism, students will have a good understanding of realism if they can understand Hans Morgenthau’s six principles of political realism. This session also deals with the famous Melian dialogue: by reading a chapter from Thucydides’ own writing, students would have the taste of classical readings. By reading both Thucydides and Morgenthau, students would have a fairly good idea as to how realists understand the world and what lessons they are trying to teach the world.
  • Liberalism and Constructivism
    Liberalism has been offering the field of international relations an alternative view to realism. Economic interdependence, international institutions, democratic peace are some of the topics liberals deal with. In today’s world liberalism seem to offer a better explanation of international relations than realism. Students should have a good understanding of both realism and liberalism. After the end of the Cold War and the publication of Alexander Wendt’s book, constructivism suddenly became one of three main paradigms of international relations. Its emphasis on norms, identity, culture, and morality are not new to IR; however, Wendt did a wonderful job of presenting it as a scientific viewpoint. Students should learn the concept of Hobbesian, Lockean, and Kantian anarchy.
  • Balance of Power and the Origins of World War I
    One of the most famous IR scholars of recent times, Kenneth Waltz, argued that if there is any scientific theory in international relations, balance of power is it. However, the concept of balance of power is very controversial. Some scholars use it as a means to balance power, others to balance threat, and still others as an alliance. Anyway, students will be exposed to various use of the balance of power theory. This session also deals with the origins of World War I, one of the most discussed yet still confusing topics in IR. There are literally almost a hundred reasons as to why the war broke out. Nationalism, imperialism, militarism, the cult of offensive, social Darwinism, naval arms race, assassination, etc. to name a few. Students will freely choose whatever cause they like to choose and advance theirs arguments in the class. In the process, students should be able to learn to eliminate weak arguments and come up with one or two plausible arguments for the causes of World War I.
  • A New Interpretation of World War I
    This session talks about the possibility that German leaders, particularly the German Kaiser, are mainly responsible for the outbreak of World War I. Defensive Realists’ main arguments such as security dilemma and the cult of offensive as well as other viewpoints will be disputed. Students will read for the first time a serious academic article, and it might be too difficult for them to digest. However, it will be a good experience anyway.
  • The Rise and Fall of Collective Security
    In the past, Woodrow Wilson was ridiculed as an idealist; however, many people are now claiming that Wilson’s ideals are becoming reality in today’s world. Students will learn Wilson’s idea of collective security and its history. In particular, students will learn how the United States failed to join the League and how it worked during 1920s. And why it failed eventually.
  • The Origins of World War II
    As far as World War II is concerned, most people automatically suggest that Hitler was the main cause, and it is hard to dispute such an argument. Although scholars like A. J. P. Taylor argue that Hitler was an opportunist and did not have a world domination in mind when he started the war, few people accept such arguments. While there is no denying that World War II had a lost to do with Hitler, people have to wonder how it was possible for Hitler to gain power and also why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor. In this session, the importance of the Great Depression as the main causes of World War II will be explored.
  • The History of the Cold War
    This session deals with the origins of the Cold War, and how American scholars view the causes of the Cold War. Three approaches to the Cold War interpretation will be examined as well as six main issues that the United States and the Soviet Union clashed. Also, the idea of the Truman Doctrine and George Kennan’s Containment will be examined. In particular, Kennan’s containment policy had been the foundation of American foreign policy for almost fifty years. Issues of nuclear weapons and the significance of the Cuban missile crisis will also be examined. Students will be exposed to nuclear jargons such as MAD, Deterrence, Second-Strike capability, etc. While serious scholars no longer talk about these topics, it will be interesting for students for intellectual and historical purposes to know these things.
  • The End of the Cold War
    When the Cold War ended in 1991 (1989 depending on who you ask), Americans celebrated their “victory.” A lot of people claimed that their patient containment policy advocated by George Kenna finally paid off. Some even claimed that it was Regan’s hard policy that pushed the Soviet Union on the verge of breakdown. And realist scholars later claimed that it was the breakdown of the Soviet economy that led to the fall of communism. Not many people at least in the U.S. gave credit to Gorbachev’s policy, intended or unintended. This session should examine the flaws of the traditional explanations for the end of the Cold War and pay more attention to individual role played by Gorbachev.
  • Hegel, Marxism, and Communism
    In order to understand Karl Marx, we need to talk about Hegel and Feuerbach. Hegel saw history as marching of spirit, and through the process of thesis, anti-thesis, and synthesis, spirit realizes its true reality. As far as Hegel is concerned everything in this world is actually spirit. And man is God self-alienated. On the other hand, Feuerbach believed that even spiritual things such as God are in fact created by human imagination and frustration. Marx criticized both Hegel and Feuerbach yet borrowed many concepts from them, such as alienation, thesis, anti-thesis, etc. As far as Marx is concerned, alienation of labor is the greatest in the capitalist society with the possible exception of slavery, and eventually the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeois will lead to the fall of capitalism. In a communist society, everybody will create things according to their creative desires and be happy. Students will be exposed to Marx’s idea of communism and make a judgement as to what would be our best economic system.
  • The End of History or the Clash of Civilizations
    After the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama boldly came up with the idea that the history has ended with the victory of liberal democracy. He borrows main ideas from Hegel. Utilizing the concept of the struggle for recognition, Fukuyama argues that only the democratic system has no inner contradiction, while kingship, dictatorship, communism, monarchy, etc. all have inner problems. As far as Fukuyama is concerned, nobody can replace the idea of democracy since everybody is recognized as equal; thus, history has ended. In contrast to Fukuyama, Huntington argued that history has not only ended but also will intensify according to civilizational fault lines. Before the Cold War, nations fought for political, ideological, and economical reasons, but from now on they will fight for civilizational reasons. Students will study both Fukuyama and Huntington and they will decide whose view is more rational.
  • The Rise of China and the decline of the US
    According to Walt’s “alliance formation” theory small states being geographically proximate to a powerful state that has a great aggregate power and solid offensive capabilities would rather balance against it than opt to enhance political, diplomatic and economic cooperation. The rise of China and its aggregate power is undeniable, as evidenced by the expansion of its economic influence in the Asia-Pacific region and military capabilities. The combination of these factors, coupled with Beijing’s growing assertiveness in maritime disputes should have made U.S. consider China a rising threat and, thus, push Washington to a more hawkish stance vis-à-vis Beijing. Students will discuss the great power rivalry through the prism of IR theories.
  • Plato: Should Philosopher Be King? Democracy Idea Reexamined
    Western philosophy begins and ends with Plato. Students will be exposed to Plato’s basic ideas such as the myth of the cave, justice, and philosopher king idea. As far as Plato is concerned, it is wrong for soldiers and common people to rule the government. Only the people who are enlightened such as philosopher should run the government. However, philosophers should have no private property and no family, and their concern would only be the happiness of the whole people, while common people can have private property and family. In today’s world so many “unqualified” people select “unqualified” leaders. Do you think it is good idea to have democracy as many people commonly believe or there is a merit in philosopher king idea?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Attendance 3 module
  • non-blocking Homework 3 module
  • non-blocking In-class Participation 3 module
  • non-blocking Midterm Exam
  • non-blocking Attendance 4 module
  • non-blocking Homework 4 module
  • non-blocking In-class Participation 4 module
  • non-blocking Final Exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.5 * Midterm Exam + 0.05 * Attendance 3 module + 0.2 * Homework 3 module + 0.25 * In-class Participation 3 module
  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.05 * Attendance 4 module + 0.3 * Final Exam + 0.2 * Homework 4 module + 0.25 * In-class Participation 4 module + 0.2 * Interim assessment (3 module)
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Chance, A. (2013). Realpolitik, Punishment and Control: Thucydides on the Moralization of Conflict. Journal of Military Ethics, 12(3), 263–277. https://doi.org/10.1080/15027570.2013.848092
  • Das, P. (2019). History of Political Thought. [N.p.]: New Central Book Agency. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=2239648
  • Laruelle, F., & Smith, A. P. (2016). Introduction to Non-Marxism (Vol. Expanded English language edition). Minneapolis, MN: Univocal Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1213051
  • Nye, J. S. . (DE-588)128376856, (DE-576)162411480. (2009). Understanding international conflicts : an introduction to theory and history / Joseph S. Nye, Jr. New York [u.a.]: Pearson Longman. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.308586697

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Beer, F. A., & Hariman, R. (1900). Post-Realism : The Rhetorical Turn in International Relations. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1039381
  • Cohen, D. (2006). War, Moderation, and Revenge in Thucydides. Journal of Military Ethics, 5(4), 270–289. https://doi.org/10.1080/15027570601081127
  • Korab-Karpowicz, W. J. (2006). How International Relations Theorists Can Benefit by Reading Thucydides. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.B0893F4B