PS 0500 (Fall 2021)

PS 0500: Introduction to International Relations
William Spaniel
Spring 2021
Lecture: M/W 2:00-2:50 Posvar 1500
Recitation: As Scheduled
Office Hours: Tu 2:00-4:00 Posvar 4445
YouTube Playlist

Assignments: Homework 1, Homework 2, Homework 3, Homework 4, Homework 5, Homework 6

International relations is the study of how states interact with each other. This course builds a working knowledge of our field, introducing the background, theoretical, and empirical tools necessary to understand international relations today. Students will learn about important findings in a variety of subfields, including war, international political economy, institutions, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism. To do so, the course emphasizes readings from original research material rather than from a textbook. Students will also solve problem sets and work with common international relations datasets to obtain a working understanding of the discipline’s methodological foundations.

Topic 3: Bargaining and War
Readings: Rationalist Explanations for War and The Rationality of War (Chapter 2)

Slides: Regular lecture, COVID bonus

Lecture: The Rationality of War (Online Bonus Lecture), The Unitary Actor Assumption, War’s Inefficiency Puzzle, The Algebraic Bargaining Model of War, War’s Bargaining Range, Crisis Bargaining (Online Bonus Lecture), Preventive War, Information Problems and Incentives to Misrepresent, Issue Indivisibility, Preemptive War, The Causes of War, Militarized Interstate Disputes, Correlates of War and the Long Peace, Full COVID lecture

Topic 2: Basic Models of Conflict and Cooperation
Readings: The Evolution of Cooperation, Chapter 1 and Chapter 4

Slides: Here

Lecture: Conflict versus Cooperation, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, The Cult of the Offensive and the Origins of World War I, Tariffs and the Barriers to Free Trade, Arms Races, The Shadow of the Future, Grim Trigger, Benevolent Cooperation

Topic 1: IR Basics

Lecture: Introduction, Sovereignty, Anarchy, Proximate versus Underlying Causes, The Strategic World

Topic 0: Logistics