Course: POL240
Instructor: Andrew Moravcsik
S 2017

Description of Course Goals and Curriculum

This course focuses on big questions in the study of international relations. It introduces the major theories in international relations and applies them to specific historical and contemporary case studies. It touches on topics like anarchy, mercantilism, imperialism, the World Wars, nuclear weapons, and environmentalism. The goal is to be able to use the theories to analyze the causes and effects of different international relations event.

Learning From Classroom Instruction

The lectures are very well organized and helpful in providing more context to the readings. Moravcsik provides an outline before each lecture that goes over the main points. It also includes helpful charts and diagrams for understanding the theories or cases. Overall, Professor Moravcsik is amazing and will keep you engaged in the lectures.   Precepts are generally based on discussing readings. There might be debates or simulations as well. A study guide for each precept listed discussion questions and IDs for that week.

Learning For and From Assignments

  • The first written assignment is a short reading response paper. For this one, it's important to go beyond the summary and make an argument about the readings.
  • The second written assignment is either a policy memo or an op-ed piece in response to a contemporary issue. This is more of a practical exercise, so analysis doesn't necessarily have to framed under the theories.
  • The midterm is a single overarching essay question. It usually asks you to apply the main theories to a couple different cases.
  • The final contains IDs, short answer, and long essay questions.

External Resources

Try to go to Professor Moravcsik's office hours as much as you can. He is great fun to talk to and very helpful as well!

What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection

Overall, this is a well-organized course that provides a solid introduction to the field of international relations. Though there aren't many assignments, it does have a fair amount of reading. Do not take it as a fifth class. It is not easy and the expectations are quite rigid. Try to do the readings before every lecture and take meticulous notes, both for the readings and the lectures.
International Relations

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