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Welcome to 2019 Summer Online – Politics 212: International Relations

This is the course home page.

Welcome to Politics 212: International Relations

We’ll share a lot more about what the course will look like and how we’ll approach the material.  This temporary page outlines questions we’ll consider.  Your readings and videos each week will be online – there are no textbooks to purchase.  If you have any questions, please email me at – thanks and hope to see you this summer

Outline of Assignments

Most weeks have a sequence: readings, notes and videos; your initial responses to my prompts; and your responses to each other. We’ll do all this on the web site.

July 1– Introduction to Online Learning, and A Peek Ahead

We start with an introduction to how the Internet is changing how scholars impact politics (and how politics impacts scholars)

July 8 – Introduction to International Relations: From States to Globalization

At the heart of IR is the question of how to look at the world – “states in conflict,” or other ways?  Some ways are called realism, liberalism, marxism, and contructivism

International relations includes war – and much, much more. From


July 16 – Power and Money: Intro to Global Political Economy

In some ways, we have the same debates today as in the 1890s, 1930s, and 1980s, etc.  In other ways, the global economy today would be unrecognizable to earlier generations of scholars, and so we need new ideas on how to approach those debates

Do you want land or oil – or data?

July 23 – Democracy, Democratization, and Democracy at Risk

One part of the story of IR is countries’ impacts on each other.  For a long time this included the global spread of democracy and liberalism.  Today we need to consider how and where these trends are moving in other directions

July 30 – Refugees and International Relations

IR isn’t just states – it’s people, ideas, economics, environmental questions, human rights, and more.  We’ll take a look at one piece of all this: the great global expansion of migrants and refugees in recent years.  I’ve worked with some of these communities in Mexico, Iraq, Bosnia, and Palestine, and the questions aren’t just about international law and foreign policies – they’re about people

Aug 7 – Your Individual Paper

You choose your own question – anything in IR, broadly defined. And then you try to answer that question

Each week we will consider one or more elements in international relations (beginning with why the name of the course itself is a little anachronistic).

We will consume a number of readings, videos, or other assignments.  We’ll offer prompts to those – we’ll ask three or four questions, and you’ll write thoughtful, coherent response to one or more of them.  We’ll also reflect on each other’s essays, emulating, in some ways, what a dynamic classroom discussion might look like.  We’ll do all this on this web site.

Additionally, we’ll look for international relations in the news.  Each week you’ll share on our facebook group an IR story that excites, bothers, or otherwise interests you.  And we’ll offer comments on at least a couple of our classmate’s posts.

We’ll move fast and cover a lot of ground – hope you will join us! Questions? Email me at – thanks