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Course Descriptions

The following courses include those offered as part of the course requirements for a major in International Relations. Many of these courses are cross-listed with the departments of Political Science, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures.

For a full list of courses, please review the university's course catalog.

Course Descriptions

IR 208 - Comparative Political Systems: Advanced Industrial States
An introduction to government, politics, culture, and economic policy in Europe and Japan. Cross-listed with International Relations. Lecture. Theme Area Global Diversity. 3 cr.

IR 209 - Comparative Political Systems: Developing States
An introduction to government, politics, culture, and economic policy in the developing world. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 245 - International Relations
A study of politics between states including sovereignty, balance of power, war, and economics. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 254 - American Foreign Policy
A study of American foreign policy since World War II. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 308 - Post-Conflict Justice and Reconciliation
This course engages questions of how war-torn societies should respond to crimes of war and gross human rights violations. It investigates how the pursuit of justice in such cases is related to goals of reconciliation between adversary groups. Building on the legacy of the war crimes tribunals established at the end of WWII, the United Nations has carried out trials of individuals deemed responsible for violations of international humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda. A European Union court has prosecuted a former president of Chile for human rights violations. And several countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe have established "truth and reconciliation commissions" in the process of moving toward democracy. We will compare experiences of post-conflict justice, as well as reconciliation projects in several countries. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 345W - Ethics and International Relations
The course's principal purposes are to explore the possibilities, limits, and obligations of ethical action in international relations. The course applies the insights of different theories of ethics to a number of issues, including various wars, terrorism, and humanitarian intervention. Lecture. University Core Writing Intensive. 3 cr.

IR 360 - Crisis Management in Complex Emergencies
This course considers crisis management in theory and practice, drawing from the period since World War II. Theories of crisis prevention, escalation, management, de-escalation, termination, and post-crisis management will be covered. In addition, alternative decision-making theories, structures and processes, the nature of crisis bargaining and negotiation and the role of third parties will be addressed. Special attention will be paid to the role of military force to post-Cold War crisis scenarios. The course will include case studies and a simulation designed to provide context to the study of crisis management. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 365 - Critical National Emergencies
Natural and human engineered catastrophes during the last decade have resulted in hundreds of thousands dead and trillions lost in economic output and damaged infrastructure. This course examines the political and organizational efforts to prepare, manage, and mititgate these types of crises. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 385 - International Law and Organization
Examines the historical development and present role played by international law and organizations. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 394 - Historical Geography
A survey of the physical world which is the basis for a human civilization, past, present, and future. What are the possibilities and limitations of different places for human development? How successful or unsuccessful were human settlements? Emphasis also on geography as an intellectual discipline and cultural phenomenon. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 406 - Homeland Security
Efforts to harden nations' civilian and population centers, as well as other key resources and infrastructure, have been paramount in the aftermath of 9/11. At the same time such national defenses have raised serious questions of human and civil rights abuses, huge costs and ineffective bureacracy. This course aims to research domestic national security through this prism. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 408 Democracy, Conflict, and World Politics
This course examines power, conflict and democratization primarily in countries outside the U.S. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 419 - Ethnic Conflict: Politics and Policy
Ethnic conflict threatens political stability in countries around the world. From Iraq to Bolivia, from Spain to Indonesia, conflicts have erupted over a wide variety of "ethnic" issues in recent years. Yet despite its ubiquity, ethnic politics remains poorly understood: Why do people identify with ethnic groups? Why does ethnic identity sometimes lead to private ritual, sometimes to peaceful mobilization through mass movements or political parties, and sometimes to violent conflict, pogroms and genocide? Most pressingly, are there solutions to ethnic conflict, particularly in deeply-divided, violence-ridden countries? Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 421 - Leadership
The vital element in the chemistry of national policy and strategic direction has consistently been the presence of effective, charismatic leadership. Where do these leaders come from, and how do they operate? This course looks at the fundamentals of effective leadership at the national and international levels and seeks to understand the algorithm of successful leadership in those venues. Lecture. 3 cr.

IR 442W - Global Public Policy
This course examines the policymaking process at the global level, including (1) conflicts over policy in international institutions such as the UN and (2) international influences on domestic policymaking. Focuses on the role of states and international organizations, as well as the media and nongovernmental organizations. Topics considered include the International Criminal Court; anti-personnel landmines; gun control; genetically modified foods; and definitions of the family. Lecture. University Core Writing Intensive. 3 cr.