Intro to IR

Introduction to International Relations
POLT 12800, sections 1 & 2
Spring 2017
Prof. Chip Gagnon
Section 1: MWF 9-9:50am Friends 302
Section 2: MWF 10-10:50am Friends 302
Office: 324 Muller Center
tel. 607-274-1103
Office hours: MWF 11am-12pm and by appointment
Course website:

Updated 3/27/16
Some IR blogs

Go to reading assignments for:
M 1/23 – M 2/13, Introduction and Theory |  W 2/15 – M 2/20, Media and IR |  W 2/22 – F 3/24, Security: Terrorism and the Future of War |  M 3/27 – M 4/17, The International Economy |  W 4/19 – M 5/1, Culture and conflict


The past few decades have seen tremendous changes in the international arena. The attacks of 9/11/2001 and other terrorist bombings in Russia, England, Spain, Australia, India, France and elsewhere refocused the world’s attention towards threats from small non-state groups. The US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the rise of ISIS have seen debates about whether and how to fight insurgencies, as well as about the best way to deal with terrorism. The effects of economic globalization, the economic crisis of 2008, and the rapid growth of China’s economy have also led to reappraisals of the existing global economic order. The issue of ethnic and religious conflict has also become a major focus of international politics since the end of the Cold War.

In this course we will explore these issues. First we look at a number of ways in which the “international” is thought about and studied, the assumptions about human nature, equality, justice, and politics in general that determine how scholars, journalists, and policy makers explain and understand international politics. We also consider the role of the mass media in what we know and how we think about the international.

Then we explore a number of specific issues related to the international: the changing nature of warfare and terrorism; security and the evolving definition of that term, including the ways in which human rights are seen as a security issue; the international economy, processes of globalization of trade and investment that challenge the traditional understanding of the nation-state and have direct impacts on local communities in every part of the world, including the US; and the effect of culture — ethnic, national, religious — on international relations.

Course Objectives

1. By the end of the course you should:

  • understand the main IR theories, and the assumptions implicit in each of these different ways of looking at the world, thus giving you the tools necessary to understand the day-to-day events reported in the media, as well as an understanding of what leads to disagreements about international politics;
  • be aware of the intimate linkages between what are usually thought of as separate: “domestic” and “international” politics;
  • have a basic background in various areas of international relations, to provide a foundation to understand and critically evaluate current international events and processes. In particular we’ll focus on specific issues that are at the center of political debates around the globe;
  • be able to read, understand, and analyze articles of varying complexity on international topics.

2. The course also fulfills ICC requirements for the Social Science perspective, themes of “World of Systems” (how do people make sense of and navigate complexity?) and “Power and Justice” (how are they related and how can they be balanced?).

If you are taking this course to fulfill one of those requirements, remember that you will need to include one paper from this course in your ICC portfolio. If you have questions please talk to me or to your major advisor.

3. The course has the following objectives as part of the overall Politics Department mission:

  • Students will demonstrate a capacity for critical writing
  • Students will demonstrate global awareness and understanding
  • Students will demonstrate critical self-consciousness about their ethical positions vis-à-vis political and civic life
  • Students will demonstrate sensitivity to and understanding of multiple perspectives, eg, class, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality.
  • Students will demonstrate a capacity to apply ideas to lived contexts

Course Materials

  • Required readings are in a course reader, a packet of photocopies (abbreviated CR in class assignments). The course reader can be purchased for about $26 at the IC Bookstore.
  • Students should follow international issues in non-US newspapers that have substantial coverage of international issues. Examples from these sources will make up part of classroom discussion as well as some written assignments.
    When reading these newspapers, ask yourself what stories are not being reported, and what’s not being said in the stories that are being reported. Also think about how their coverage differs from the information you are seeing in the US media.
  • All assigned readings are included in the course reader. Some of the readings are also on web sites. These can be accessed by clicking on the links in the relevant places on the web version of the syllabus.

Readings listed as “Required” are mandatory — you should have read and thought about them before class — and serve as background for the class discussion. Readings listed as “Suggested” are not required, but provide further background and information on the topic under discussion.

The readings are of varying complexities; some are quite difficult. If you have any questions on the readings, please ask in class, or stop by my office.

I would suggest taking notes on the readings as you do them to ease review for exams. The assigned essays require an indepth understanding of specific assigned readings, so it is in your interest to do all required readings carefully. The amount of reading is generally small enough that you should have time to carefully read and take notes on the readings before each class.


What does “doing the readings” mean?

It doesn’t mean just sitting down and mechanically going through the articles; that’s a sure way to make even an interesting article boring.

Reading is an active and interactive process between the reader and the text. If you’re really reading a text you are also reacting to it. I’ve included a wide range of texts in order to provoke a wide range of responses from readers.

Reading should also be a reflective process. To really understand an article deeply it is usually necessary to read it and think about it, and then read it again, and think about it, and discuss it with others, write about it and read it yet again. I’ve found that even after many readings, when I read a text in order to explain it to someone else I get new perspectives on the author’s arguments and assumptions, on the text’s strengths and weaknesses.

So when I say “do the readings,” I mean “engage yourself with the ideas of the text.” I understand that some of the texts are quite complex and that not all of them are entertaining. But struggle is part of the reading experience. If something’s not clear, if it’s confusing, talk about it with others outside of class, and/or bring it up in class.

If it’s a long or complex reading, don’t try to do it all in one sitting; take breaks, come back to it, read it in small doses. As I mentioned above, taking notes on a text while you read it or re-read it is also a very good way to engage the text and to make sure you understand it.

If you do not understand the readings after we discuss them in class, please see me immediately. Some of the readings are very challenging, and I expect you to speak with me if anything is not clear.

NOTE: If you come to class consistently unprepared, I reserve the right to unilaterally drop you from the course.


The final grade in the class will be determined by:

  • Class participation (20% of final grade): This part of the final grade will be based on participation in class, which includes:
    • Attendance. I expect students to be present at every class. For every absence after the fourth one, your final grade will be reduced by a grade (that is, from an A to an A-, for example). Much of the learning in this class happens in the classroom, in discussions. If you are missing class you are missing a crucial part of the course.
    • Being prepared. I expect you to have done the assigned readings for the day and to have thought about them before class. Being consistently unprepared will significantly affect your final grade.
    • Participation. Classroom discussion of readings is a key part of the learning process. By actively taking part you also improve your chances of doing well on the written assignments.
    • No electronic devices. During class I expect all electronic devices to be turned off. This includes laptops, cell phones, iphones, tablets, etc. If you cannot bear to be parted from your device, you should take another class. Use of an electronic device in class will count as an absence for that day. Here are some of the reasons for this policy (from Scientific American). Here are even more (from a leading prof of new media).
  • Written assignments. Please note that essays are due in my office, 324 Muller Center, by 4pm on the due date (except for Essay #3, due during final exam week).
    The grade is reduced by a grade (eg, from A to A-) for each day an assignment is late. It is your choice whether to hand the assignment in by the due date or afterward, but please be aware of these consequences.

    • Essay #1. Due M 2/20 by 4pm. (25% of final grade) A take-home exam on major IR theories.
    • Essay #2.  Due W 4/5 by 4pm. (25%) A take-home essay on issues of terrorism and the future of war.
    • Essay #3. Due M 5/8 (finals week), by 10am. (30%) A take-home essay on the global economy and on culture in international relations.

Please note: You cannot pass the course unless you have handed in all written assignments.

Academic honesty

The Student Conduct Code of Ithaca College, Appendix II states that “Academic honesty is a cornerstone of the mission of the College. Unless it is otherwise stipulated, students may submit for evaluation only that work that is their own and that is submitted originally for a specific course.”

You must use quotation marks and citations for words that you have taken directly from a source. Likewise, you must use citations for closely paraphrased wordings of the original.  Needless to say, copying from other students is also a violation of this policy.

Students who plagiarize will receive a grade of F for the course and will be referred to Judicial Affairs for academic misconduct.

Meaning of grades:
A = excellent: intense effort and remarkable achievement.
B = good: good effort and pretty good understanding
C = okay: barely adequate amount of effort or effort that is somewhat misfocused or mistargeted
D = inadequate effort or mistargeted effort
F = little or no effort or complete misunderstanding of expectations

(Thanks to Naeem Inayatullah for these characterizations.)

If you get below a C, you should immediately come to see me so we can discuss your paper or exam.

If you have any questions about the class, the readings, the discussions, or anything else, I will be more than happy to meet with you either during office hours or at some other time. To schedule another time please see me after class, or contact me by e-mail or phone (607-274-1103).

Daily Assignments

  • Page numbers refer to the small typed numbers at the bottom of each page of the course reader

I. Introduction: Thinking about the international

In this first section we pose the questions we hope to answer in the course. We look at the assumptions that underlie how people think about international politics, examine a number of approaches to understanding international relations and world politics, and relate them to issues of interest.

M 1/23 Introductions. Questions of War and Peace. Is peace a good thing? How do we come to see the world in particular ways? 

W 1/25 Thinking about the international: The Crimea Crisis, 2014
Required reading:
Map of Crimea Crisis, p.1
– Obama, “Statement by President on Ukraine”, pp.2-4
Putin, “Interview to German TV channel ARD” (excerpts) (Sakai), pp.5-8

– Mearsheimer, “Getting Ukraine Wrong”, pp.9-12

To think about:
What are the differences between Obama’s and Mearsheimer’s analyses of the Crimea situation? Why is Obama critical of this move?  Why does Mearsheimer disagree with that criticism? What are the implicit assumptions that each makes?

F 1/27 Poverty and Health as international issues?
Required reading:
– Kidder, “The Good Doctor”, pp.13-23
– Coughlin & Ives,
“WikiLeaks Haiti: Let them live on $3 a day”, pp.24-27
Suggested reading:
– “Wikileaks Haiti: The Nation Partners With Haïti Liberté on Release of Secret Haiti Cables”
– Web site of 
Partners in Health; the Zanmi Lasante project run by Paul Farmer (online)
– Farmer, 
Whither Equity in Health? The State of the Poor in Latin America” (online, pdf)
To think about:
As you read this article, think about how health issues such as AIDS or social issues such as poverty are international issues. Can AIDS or poverty be understood through by looking at relations between states? Is health care a human right? Why does Paul Farmer believe it is? What kind of framework could help us understand the international politics of AIDS? Does it even make sense to talk about the international politics of poverty? How does Paul Farmer understand these issues? Think about the moral and ethical aspects as well as security aspects of the issues. Does morality have a place in international relations? Do citizens of wealthy countries have moral responsibilities to poor people in other countries? How would one go about establishing those responsibilities?

M 1/30 Thinking about World Politics: Perspectives and Approaches
Required reading:
– Goldstein, “IR as a Field of Study”, pp.28-32.
To think about:
What is a theory? Why are there competing theories in the social sciences? What is an assumption? How can we understand the complexity of the international? How do we define the international?

W 2/1 International Politics: Realism
Required reading:
– Mearsheimer, “Anarchy and the Struggle for Power”, pp.33-46
– Mearsheimer and Walt, “Keeping Saddam Hussein in a Box”, p.47-49
To think about:
How do Realists see world politics? What do they consider as important, and what do they see as less important? How is Mearsheimer and Walt’s argument in the second article an illustration of a Realist world view?

F 2/3 International Politics: Liberalism
Required reading:
– Russett & Oneal, “The Kantian Peace in the 21st Century”, pp.51-61
– Albright, “The End of Intervention”, pp.73-74
To think about:
How do Liberals see world politics? What makes a country liberal? How does the liberal view of domestic society influence their view of international relations? 

What makes Albright’s argument for military intervention a Liberal argument? Specifically think about how the assumptions that Russett and Oneal lay out in the first reading are the basis of the arguments in the second reading.  How do Liberals decide whether the use of military force is called for?  What makes this argument not a Realist argument?  What might a Realist response to the author be?

M 2/6 Liberalism continued: Unilateral Liberalism
Required reading:
– Rhodes, “The Imperial Logic”, first half, on Sakai (stop at “A dissent”)
– Bush, Intro to 2002 National Security Strategy, pp.63-65
– Bush, Intro to 2006 National Security Strategy, pp.66-67
– Obama, Intro to 2010 National Security Strategy, pp.70-72
Links of interest:
– Debate: Realist vs. Unilateral liberal (neoconservative)
– National Security Strategy of the US, 2002
– National Security Strategy of the US, 2006
– National Security Strategy of the US, 2010 (pdf)
– George Bush’s June 1, 2002 speech at West Point
To think about:
What different assumptions do multilateral and unilateral liberals have that lead them to see the world so differently? 
Although the unilateral liberal policies Rhodes is discussing rely heavily on US military power and hegemony, this is not a Realist argument.  What makes these policies liberal, rather than realist? What do you think a Multilateral Liberal critique of Unilateral Liberalism would be? Remember the last section of the Russett and Oneal article.

Also think about how Bush’s introductions embody a unilateral liberal perspective. How would you characterize Obama’s? 

W 2/8 International Politics: Global Humanism
Required reading:
– Gurtov, “World Politics in Global-Humanist Perspective”, pp.75-84
– O’Connell, “Pope in Bolivia Calls for ‘Structural Changes’ in World’s Economy”, pp.85-90
– Hobden and Jones, “The US, The United Fruit Company, and Guatemala”, p.91
– Reread Kidder, “The Good Doctor” pp.13-23, and Coughlin & Ives, “Wikileaks Haiti…” pp.24-27
Link of interest:
In the Human Interest, Gurtov’s blog

To think about:
How do Globalist Humanists see world politics? What is more important, and what is less important for them than for Realists and Liberals? How is the worldview of Paul Farmer, and of Pope Francis, reflective of a Global Humanist perspective? What are the presumed motivations of the US actions in Guatemala?

F 2/10 International Politics: Critical theory
Required reading:
– “Critical Theory, Constructivism, and Post-modernism”, p.92
– Miedzian, “‘Real Men,’ ‘Wimps,’ and Our National Security,” pp.93-104
– Frisinger, “Threatened men more pro war, SUVs”, p.106
To think about:
How does gender and other aspects of identity shape the way people use power and their perception of how the world works?

M 2/13 Conclusion of the Theory section
To think about:
The ways in which identity, beliefs, experiences affect the way we understand the world and how we interact with others.

II. The Media and International Relations

Most people get most information about international politics and US foreign policy from the mass media, especially television. What is the impact of media on international relations? What gets covered and why? What are the links between government and the media? What is the impact on how we think about the international? What kind of information is available on the world wide web?

W 2/15 – M 2/20 Democracy, the media, and foreign policy
– In class: Film, 
The Panama Deception
Discussion of film: Democracy, media and foreign policy
Suggested readings:
– Mark Cook and Jeff Cohen,
“The Media Goes to War: How TV Sold the Panama Invasion”

Essay #1 Due  by M 2/20, 4pm (25 percent of final grade)


III. Security: Terrorism and the Future of War

This section of the course considers the term “security,” which is one of the focuses of traditional international relations. We consider several definitions of the term and ways in which it has been extended to cover non-military issues. We discuss in particular the issues of terrorism and the future of war

W 2/22 Historical background: The aftermath of the Cold War
Required Reading:
– Klare, “The Geopolitics of War”, pp.107-116
– Cooley, Unholy Wars, “Introduction”, pp.117-122
– Williams, “Rise of ISIS Terror Army…”, pp.123-125
Suggested reading:
– Shavit, 
Al Qaeda’s Saudi Origins
To think about:
The relationship between how the US fought the Cold War and the challenges it sees afterwards; the comparative power of its identified main adversaries during the Cold War and now; the continuity in the Cold War and post-Cold War eras. The relative threat of terrorism vs. traditional military conflict.

F 2/24 Terrorism: Strategic or Pure rage?
Required reading:
– Lemann, “What Terrorists Want: Is there a better way of defeating Al Qaeda?”, pp.126-133
– Bush, excerpts from Sept. 20, 2011 speech, pp.135-136
– Campos, “Undressing the terror threat,” pp.137-140
Suggested reading:
– Pape, Rowley and Morell, “Why ISIL Beheads its Victims”

To think about:
What is the definition of terrorism? What are the causes of terrorism? What 2 views of terrorism’s causes and solutions does Lemann identify in the article? How does Bush’s speech illustrate the “pure rage” view? What do you think explains the puzzle that Campos raises?

M 2/27 Terrorist motives
Required readings:
– “The Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” Interview with Robert Pape, pp.142-148
– Cole, “Sharpening Contradictions”, pp.150-152
Link of interest:
University of Chicago Suicide Attack Database (Pape’s data)
To think about:
If we look at terrorism from this perspective, what should or can be done about it? Also think about how this approach is different than the others we’ve discussed.

W 3/1 The Future of War: Counterinsurgency (COIN) and Asymmetrical Conflicts
Required reading:
– Lieven, “Soldiers before missiles: Meeting the challenge from the world’s streets”, pp.153-159
– Record, “Why the Strong Lose,” pp.161-177

Link of interest:
US military field manual, US Military Counterinsurgency Manual, Dec 2006
– Office of the Under Secretary of Defense For Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, “Defense Science Board Study on Transition To and From Hostilities”
To think about:
What are Lieven and Record’s underlying assumptions about warfare?  How do their assumptions drive their views on policy?

F 3/3 Counterinsurgency continued
– Excerpts from “Obama’s War” (Frontline)

To think about:
from what you see in the documentary, what are the main challenges to the counterinsurgency strategy? Think about the arguments for it. Think also about the different views on the causes of terrorism.

M 3/6 Future of war: Netwar and Hybrid war
Required reading:
– Arquilla, “The New Rules of War”, pp.178-192
– Newson, “Hybrid Warfare and its Implications“, pp.193-195
– Pomerantsev, “How Putin is Reinventing Warfare” pp.196-200
Link of interest:
– “The Advent of Netwar,” a 76 page report on the concept by Arquilla and a co-author.
– Galeotti, “‘Hybrid War’ and ‘Little Green Men’: How it Works, and How it Doesn’t” (the concept of hybrid war in the Russian military actions against Ukraine).
To think about:
Does Arquilla’s concept of “Netwar” differ from what Lieven and Barnett are talking about? How does it relate to “Hybrid war” and “Non-linear war”?  What is the threat in these concepts? How are other states adapting their military strategies towards a netwar, hybrid war and/or non-linear war model?

W 3/8 War and peace
Required readings:
– Barnett, “The Pentagon’s New Map,” pp.201-210
– Critique: Yglesias, “The Space Race,” pp.211-212
To think about:
What are the assumptions implicit in Barnett’s analysis? What are the main values, priorities, and motivations of key actors in his analysis? How does Lieven’s suggested war-fighting strategy fit with Barnett’s grand strategy? How do Yglesia’s assumptions lead him to such a different conclusion than Barnett?

F 3/10 War, history, and empire
Required reading:
– Barkawi, “On the Pedagogy of ‘Small Wars'”, pp.213-232
To think about:
How does Barkawi’s approach differ from those we’ve read already? What are his assumptions regarding wars fought by the US and other great powers? How do his conclusions differ from the ones we’ve discussed to date? What would be his take on the various military strategies we’ve discussed?

M 3/13 – F 3/17  Spring break, no classes

M 3/20 Future of War: AirSea Battle
Required reading:
– Cobb, 
“Good-Bye Counter-Insurgency, Hello Air-Sea Battle” pp.241-243
– van Tol, 
“AirSea Battle: A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept” pp.244-252 (we will also check out the power point slide show that accompanies this article; this article is an executive summary of a much longer report, for the full report click here.)
– Locks “Bad Guys Know What Works: Asymmetric Warfare and the Third Offset“, pp.253-256
To think about:
The different premises and assumptions this strategy is based on and how they differ from the other strategies. What are the threats ASB is responding to?  How do they differ from threats assumed in other readings we’ve done?  How is the US’s “Pivot to Asia” related to military strategies? Think about Locks’ critique of ASB draws on notions of netwar and hybrid war.  Think also about China’s perceptions of these US policies, and what strategies you think China should pursue to ensure its own security.

W 3/22 China and the international system: New international order?
– Jacques, “A new sun rises in the east”, pp.257-261
– Barnett, “The Chinese are our friends”, pp.262-269
To think about:
How is Barnett’s take on China a critique of AirSea Battle (though he doesn’t mention it by name)? Think about how the various strategies fit or don’t fit into Barnett’s take on this issue. What would Jacques think about ASB? Think also about China’s perceptions of these US policies, and the strategies you think China should pursue to ensure its own security.

F 3/24 Human security
Required reading:
– “About Human Security”, pp.234-240
To think about:
Is there a relationship between traditional, military understands of security and human security?  What kinds of strategies are needed to ensure human security? What is the relationship between human security and human rights?

IV. The International Economy

The globalization of the international economy seems to be one of the main features of the international system since the end of WWII, and especially in the past few decades. In this section we look at the development of the international economic system and discuss some issues linked with globalization of the economy.

M 3/27  The Global Economy: Traditional Background
Required reading:
– “International Political Economy,” excerpts, pp.270-293
To think about:
Alternative ways of understanding the global economy; the power of multinational corporations.

W 3/29  The Global Economy: Neoliberalism
Required reading:
– Rosecrance, “The Virtual State”, pp.295-311
To think about:
Rosecrance is writing in the mid-90s. What does Rosecrance see as the future role of the state? How does he define security? What is his argument in favor of the liberal global economy?

F 3/31 The Global Economy: Neoliberalism
Required reading:
– Friedman, 
“It’s a Flat World, After All”, pp.312-324
To think about:
What are the assumptions implicit in Friedman’s analysis; do you see how his basic assumptions are the same as Rosecrance’s? What are the main values, priorities, and motivations of key actors in his analysis? How does his argument differ from and update Rosecrance’s? What changed over the previous 10-15 years?

M 4/3 – W 4/5 Globalization and the Third World
In Class: The New Rulers of the World
To think about:
How and why does the analysis of the film differ from Rosecrance’s and Friedman’s analyses?
Essay #2 Due W 4/5 by 4pm (25 percent of final grade)

Note: Friday March 31 is the last day to withdraw from the course.

F 4/7 The Global Economy: Other views
Required reading:
– Chang, “The Lexus and the Olive Tree Revisted” pp.325-339
– Vidal,
 “Wikileaks: US targets EU over GM crops” pp.347-348
To think about:
Contrast the claims about the benefits of globalization made by Rosecrance and Friedman with Chang’s argument, and with the issues raised in the last two readings. Are states justified in pressuring others to adhere to their notion of free trade? Is protectionism ever justified?  Should sovereignty ever be subordinated to trade issues?

M 4/10 Global economy: what’s missing?
Required reading:
– Gray, “The World is Round”, pp.349-357
To think about:
What is Gray saying is important that Friedman (and Rosecrance) is missing? Why does he disagree so strongly with Friedman’s analysis?

W 4/12 Global economy, democracy and multinational corporations
Required readings:
– Reich, “How capitalism is killing democracy”, pp.358-363
– Greider, “Pro patria, pro mundus”, pp.364-368
To think about:
What is the tension that Reich describes between a capitalist economic system and a liberal democratic political system? Should corporations be loyal to their home states in any way? To their workers? To democracy?

F 4/14 Globalization and migration
Required reading:
– Bacon, “How US Policies Fueled Mexico’s Great Migration”, pp.369-382
– Minter, “China’s Migrants go home, and stay there”, pp.383-385
– Jordan, “Mexican immigration to US reverses” pp.386-389
To think about:

The root causes of global migration, and the role of economic policies and the demand for labor in issues of immigration.

M 4/17 China as an economic superpower
Required reading:
– Jacques, excerpts from When China Rules the World, pp.390-397
– Escobar, “How China and Russia are running rings around Washington,” pp.398-405
– Barboza, 
“China’s Industrial Ambition Soars to High-Tech”, pp.406-408
“The Belt and Road Initiative” (on Sakai; also online)
Zeneli, “Central and Eastern Europe: China’s Stepping Stone to the EU” (on Sakai; also online)
To think about:
If the international economic order is determined by the most economically powerful actor, what might a Chinese-dominated global economy look like?  What shifts are currently occurring in the global order, according to Jacques and Escobar? Why are they happening? How are they happening? Think about the US military strategies we discussed earlier in the semester.


V. Culture and Conflict

One of the striking aspects of the current international scene is that concurrent with globalization and removing borders, there are also growing numbers of violent conflicts at local and regional levels in which cultural themes (ethnic, religious, etc.) are prominent. Why this apparent contradiction? Is there a relation? What is the relationship between culture and human rights?

W  4/19 Civilizations and Cultures in Conflict?
Required reading:
– Huntington, “Clash of Civilizations?”, pp.409-436
To think about:
What are Huntington’s assumptions about culture and conflict? Why does he think that the nature of international relations is shifting in such a fundamental way? Does consuming western goods change a culture? Is that a good thing? What are the causes of violence? To get peace does everyone have to become like us? What would Huntington say about Rosecrance’s argument?

F 4/21 Clash of Civilizations: Another view
Required reading:
– Sen, “Civilizational Imprisonments”, pp.437-442
To think about:
What is a culture? What do you have in common with someone who shares a culture with you? What does Sen mean by culture? 

M 4/24 Islam: Another view
Required reading:
– Esposito, excerpts from The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?, pp.443-453
– Mehio, “How Islam and Politics Mixed,” pp.454-456
– Friedman, “Turkey Wings It”, p.457-458
– Tharoor, “The long history of Muslims and Christians killing people together” pp.459-461
To think about:
How does the way Esposito, Mehio, Friedman and Tharoor talk about Islam differ from Huntington’s use?

W 4/26 Bosnia: Islam in Europe
In class:
Bosnia: We are all neighbors
To think about:
How does the experience of the villagers in the film compare to Huntington’s analysis of countries like Bosnia located on what he calls the “fault lines of civilization”?

F 4/27  Ethnic mobilization and conflict
In class showing of excerpt from “Beauty and the Beast”
Required reading:
– “Bystanders,” Maas, p.462
– “What Ivan Said,” Drakulic, pp.463-468
– Gagnon, “Serbia’s Road to War”,
just read the introductory section (pp.469-470, up to section head “reformists vs. conservatives”)
– Bonner, “Rwandans in Death Squad Say Choice Was Kill or Die,” pp.477-480
Suggested reading:
– Bowen, “The Myth of Global Ethnic Conflict”

To think about:
What are the motivations of the participants in this violence? Think about the power of fear.

M 5/1 Culture and Human Rights 
Required readings:

– Sen, “Universal Truths: Human Rights and the Westernizing Illusion” pp.483-486

– Shaheed, “Cultures, Traditions and Violence Against Women: Human Rights Challenges” pp.487-494
“We cannot accept cultural imperialism” (The Herald, Zimbabwe) pp.495-496
– Koyama, 
“The Uganda Controversy: Solidarity vs. Imperialism in LGBT Organizing” pp.497-498
– Grant, 
“Thinking more broadly about cultural imperialism: LGBT rights around the world” pp.500-501
– Kaoma, 
“Only Fools Believe? Pastor Rick Warren and Global Homophobia” pp.502-504
– Shepherd, 
“The Politics of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Legislation” pp.506-509
To think about:
Shaheed’s definition of culture. Are human rights culturally specific, or universal? Is enforcing or claiming universal human rights a form of imperialism? What is an alternative way of thinking about universal human rights?

W 5/3 – F 5/5 No class


Essay #3 due Monday 5/8, 4pm (30 percent of final grade).