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Introduction to International Relations (240-0-20)


Busra Nur Karakoc

Meeting Info

Frances Searle Building 1441: Mon, Wed, 3:30PM - 4:50PM

Overview of class

Instructor: Busra Soylemez-Karakoc

This course is a survey of world politics (historical and contemporary phenomena, events, practices, and processes that take place among global political entities) and International Relations (IR) (the dominant academic discipline through which we study world politics). Because IR is an interdisciplinary field, we will benefit from diverse fields such as political sciences, history, economics, international law, philosophy, and sociology. With the conceptual help of these fields, we will explore issues like state sovereignty, globalization, ecological sustainability, economic development, nationalism, international security, nuclear proliferation, and human rights. The design of this class aims to apply international relations theories to the actors, interests, and ideas that shape global politics. The trick with a survey core course is to find a balance between ‘classic' texts and current events. Thus, this class will provide you both a strong foundation for understanding international politics and skills to apply that foundation to common international politics issues. With readings on topics such as colonialism, lived experience during war, impacts of international organizations and law, ways of exercising state sovereignty, etc., the course is especially attentive to the centrality of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and nationality to global interactions.

Learning Objectives

The main goal of this course is to equip you with many theoretical tools to make sense of the complex relationships, power dynamics, and interests of international actors that are embedded in international politics. With a historical background, we will discuss the evolutions of our understanding of international politics, and thus contextualize the current issues within their own historic process. At the end of this course, you will 1. Understand the major concepts of international relations, including: power, the international system, balance of power, hegemony, conflict, security, cooperation, competition, globalization, dependence, equality, justice, sustainability, international political economy. 2. Critically evaluate and apply the theories and approaches to international relations, including realism, liberalism, classical and neo-Marxism, post-modernist, post-colonial, and feminist to transnational issues. 3. Identify the key actors in international politics—including states, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, transnational corporations, global civil society, and individuals—and analyze how these actors' interests, ideas, and identities interact with structures to shape international politics. 4. Demonstrate a knowledge of the key dimensions, events and processes of international relations within their historic context, such as: the formation of the modern state system, the Treaty of Westphalia, the evolution of global capitalism, colonialism, the origins of the Cold War, the shift to the post-Cold War system, the role of race, gender and class in the structure of the modern world system, major conflicts, such as the world wars, U. S. intervention in various places in the world, ascendant conflicts, the features and effects of globalizing market capitalism, growing environmental problems, and human rights. 5. Demonstrate skills of critical analysis and written and oral communication, including the ability to: a. Read and reflect on disciplinary materials and literature carefully, critically, and insightfully; b. Write well-organized, informed, logically argued, clear, persuasive, and stylistically correct essays and papers; c. Develop critical questions and constructive feedback, participate actively in class discussions, verbally express ideas clearly, logically and persuasively.

Teaching Method

A mix of lecture and seminar

Evaluation Method

1. Attendance and Participation 20% 2. Critical Reflection Paper 10% 3. Midterm 30% 4. Final Paper 40%

Class Materials (Required)


Class Attributes

Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

Associated Classes

DIS - Locy Hall 106: Wed, 5:00PM - 5:50PM

DIS - Locy Hall 109: Wed, 5:00PM - 5:50PM

DIS - Locy Hall 301: Fri, 3:00PM - 3:50PM

DIS - Locy Hall 301: Fri, 3:00PM - 3:50PM