POLI 116: International Relations

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2022
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 54
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
District General Education: D1. History and Political Science
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter, Pass/No Pass

Catalog Course Description

An examination of basic theories of international relations and their relevance to contemporary world politics. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • identify and analyze the competing theories of international relations and use them to explain relations among nations
  • identify and evaluate the role of the major powers in world politics throughout history, and in the contemporary setting
  • analyze the regional problems that confront the world today, and to draw inferences and conclusions
  • identify and analyze the forces that account for international crises among nations today
  • demonstrate and understanding of the impact globalization has on relations among nations
  • diagnose, analyze, and draw inferences from the major problems and their origins in international politics
  • recognize the evolution of American foreign policy, and identify distinctions between different approaches to the conduct of diplomacy by American foreign policymakers.

Major Course Content

  1. Using theoretical foundations, the emphasis will be on how the basic concepts are implemented in international affairs. The approach will be by means of case studies, historical and regional, and of the study of the foreign policies of the major powers.
  2. The Nature of International Society and the Relations of States
    1. Diplomacy
      1. The art of negotiation
      2. Functions of diplomacy
      3. Summit diplomacy
    2. International law
      1. Historical evolution and concepts
      2. Approaches to international law
      3. Function of international law
      4. Role of international law in international anarchy
      5. Future of international law
    3. International economics
      1. Economic imperialism
      2. Basic methods of economic nationalism
      3. Economic nationalism in the twentieth century
      4. Economics as an instrument of foreign policy today
    4. Imperialism
      1. Stages in colonialism and imperialism
      2. Theories of imperialism
      3. Imperialism and Afro-Asian nationalism
    5. War
      1. Concepts and causes of war
      2. Psychological interpretations of war
    6. International organization
      1. Underlying assumptions
      2. Historical evolution
      3. League of Nations
      4. United Nations
    7. Other Actors
      1. Non-governmental organizations
      2. Transnational actors.
      3. Multinational corporations
      4. Interest groups, both domestic and transnational.
    8. The effects of globalization
  3. Theories of International Relations
    1. Explaining "theory"
    2. "Levels of Analysis"
    3. The core paradigms:
      1. Classical Realism and Neo-Realism
      2. Liberalism and Liberal Institutionalism
    4. Alternate approaches
      1. Radicalism (Marxism)
      2. Constructivism
  4. Problem of Power and Power Patterns
    1. Security
      1. The nature of security and its dominance in international relations
      2. Relativity of security
      3. Methods of achieving security
      4. Sovereignty and security
    2. Arms and disarmament
      1. Changing nature of war and weapons
      2. Types of disarmament
      3. Disarmament as an instrument of national policy
      4. Disarmament and domestic policies
      5. Present crisis in armaments and disarmaments
    3. Balance of power
      1. Definitions and concepts
      2. Historical evolution
      3. Unilateralism and the balance of power
      4. Techniques used to achieve a balance of power
      5. The bi-polarization of the balance of power
    4. Collective security
      1. Definition and concepts
      2. Power politics versus welfare politics
      3. The role of international morality
      4. Essentials of collective security
      5. Possibilities for collective security
  5. International Organizations
    1. Theory
      1. Neo-liberal explanations for the role of International Organizations
      2. The Realist critique
    2. The United Nations
      1. Purpose
      2. History including growth in membership
      3. Organization and components
        1. The Security Council
        2. The General Assembly
        3. The International Court of Justice
        4. Other components
    3. The European Union
      1. Purpose
      2. History
        1. The European Coal and Steel Community, The European Economic Community, and the European Community.
        2. Maastricht
        3. The Euro common currency
      3. Future challenges and membership
    4. Additional Organization
  6. International Political Economy
    1. Bretton Woods
      1. Dollar standard
    2. Global regimes and organizations
      1. GATT and WTO
      2. G-8 and G-20

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Class handouts and assigned essays from "Why Nations Go to War," journals such as "Foreign Affairs," and periodicals such as "The New York Times," and "The Economist."

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Students are asked to write an in-class Blue Book essay on an assigned topic showing knowledge on information provided through lecture, readings, discussion and/or media.
Students are asked to write a two to three page take-home response paper to a question presented by the instructor using readings other than the course textbook. (Supplements listed under "Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook").

Examples of Outside Assignments

The following two assignments serve as examples of what may be assigned so that students broaden their depth of knowledge through research and analysis outside of class. These are generally papers of about 5 pages in length that require research beyond the course textbook:
1) Explain and discuss "Democratic Peace Theory," using the debates discussed in the additional readings assigned to you by your instructor. Choose an instance in which two countries fought a war, examine their political institutions, and determine, based on the definitions of "war" and "democracy," whether the conflict qualifies as an instance in which two democracies fought a war.
2) Examine the instance of interstate conflict or cooperation assigned to you by your instructor. Based on the competing theories of international relations studied in class, provide competing explanations as to why conflict or cooperation occurred. What is a Realist explanation for the phenomena? A Liberal explanation? How would a Marxist or Constructivist analysis differ?

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture

IGETC Area 4: Social and Behavioral Sciences

4H. Political Science, Government & Legal Institutions