Fall 2009 Course Description

The Nature of the International System

Instructor(s): Catherine Weaver
Course: P A 387G - The Nature of the International System
Unique Number: 63030
Day & Time: Mondays, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.314
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

Description: What is the ‘international system’ and how did it evolve? Who have been, are, and will be the most critical institutions and actors shaping world politics? What forces and factors shape how these institutions and actors interact, and with what consequences for international conflict, cooperation, prosperity and governance?

This course introduces the systematic analysis of international affairs. We will focus our attention on the evolution, meaning, and significance of central concepts in international relations, such as sovereignty, power, interdependence, and globalization. We will address questions such as what causes war and peace?, how do states achieve cooperation under anarchy?, why do we create international institutions and law and to what effect?, why don’t democracies fight one another?, what role do norms and ideas play in international politics?, what causes poverty and inequality in the world?, and what are the biggest challenges we face in the world today? We will approach these questions through historical and contemporary policy debates. By the end of the semester, students will be well versed in the concepts that inform the most salient international policy discussions today.

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