Also called "World Politics" and "International Relations," the subfield of International Politics focuses on the relationships among global actors with a special (though not exclusive) focus on cooperation and conflict among the world's nations.

120 International Relations

Although the phenomenon of conflict and war has been the primary focus of international relations, the global political system remains lacking in organization and stability. Interstate violence and involvement of non-state actors and sub-state actors in armed conflict seems to be on the rise. On the other hand, attempts at political, economic, social, and environmental co-operation among states also continue, albeit at a slower pace. The course addresses this complex and mixed nature of modern international relations. The course examines schools of thought that have impacted analysis of international relations, including realism, liberalism, constructivism and feminism. The course explores theoretical frameworks of international relations in an attempt to understand how, why, and where the national interests of some actors collide and others coalesce.

121 International Political Economy

This course addresses the growing integration of national economies and financial systems worldwide and its consequence for national political institutions, policymaking, sovereignty and democracy. The course will focus on the evolution of international trade theory and policies since 1945, trends in foreign direct investment and the “securitization” revolution in international finance, and the evolution of transnational institutions (WTO, World Bank, IMF, etc.) and free trade mega-blocs (NAFTA-CAFTA, EU, etc.). Special focus is given to current and recent international financial crises and the impact of globalization on U.S. domestic economic policy, economic growth, income distribution, and the evolution of the corporate form of business. The course concludes with a review of the different responses and challenges to global economic integration today by environmentalist, worker-union, and other grass-roots civil society-based organizations. Prerequisite: POL 004 or ECON 004 (or equivalent).

122 Topics in International Politics 

A detailed analysis of selected problems in international politics, involving case studies of major geographical regions such as Western Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, together with a critical examination of the influence of contemporary ideologies on the behavior of nation states. May be repeated for credit as content varies. Offered in alternate years.

123 American Foreign Policy 

An investigation of United States foreign policy in the post-World War II period, from the beginning of the Cold War to the present. Consideration of current political, economic, social and ecological problems that challenge developments in foreign policy, with special attention paid to political, economic and military policy priorities. Topics include unilateralism, military intervention, the role of human rights in foreign policy strategy, examining American interests and purposes in the war on terrorism, empire, war and occupation in Iraq, U.S. policy toward the Middle East as a whole; global trade issues (including the role of NAFTA, the IMF, WTO and FTAA), nuclear proliferation and defense policy, national conflicts, the continuing disintegration of the former Soviet Union and its impact on global issues.

124 Defense Policy

The course examines U.S. national security policy objectives, the military strategies and institutions that have been designed to achieve these objectives and the defense capabilities that can be used to accomplish political and economic goals. The focus of readings and class discussion is on the following topics: the international environment as the setting for the making of American defense policy; the evolution of U.S. strategy; World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam as case studies; arms control; the institutional structure and processes of defense policy; military professionalism; reform and appraisal.

125 Human Rights

Three main areas of human rights are examined: 1) human rights theory and the philosophical foundation of human rights, 2) the international institutions, international law, and regional mechanisms for protecting rights, 3) an overview of major empirical theories of rights, identifying economic, political, and social factors and actors that shape present day human rights conditions.

126 Food Politics

Food is not just food, and this course is not just about food. We all connect with food: it is a great catalyst, a starting point for exploring many kinds of issues - from changing agricultural practices to shifting patterns of consumption. We not only grow, make and buy food; it also shapes us - physically, personally, and culturally. We will examine why something as innocuous as choosing certain foods can be a political act with global consequences. We will cover the major influences on the food system in terms of globalization, McDonaldization and agribusiness by focusing on world hunger, the environment, the development of genetically modified foods and the power of supermarkets in the food commodity chain.  Satisfies Community Engagement and Common Good of the Core Curriculum.

127 Field Work for POL 126: Food Politics

This course is a Community-based research course and the student will be involved with the Urban Farmer project in Lafayette outside of class (the equivalent of a lab in a science class). Students must enroll in both POL 126 and 127, and receive 1.25 course credit. 

128 Dynamics of Terrorism

This course intends to investigate the different meanings and definitions of terrorism. A good portion of the course will be devoted to understanding ideological, social, cultural, economic, and religious causes of terrorism. In addition, several case studies will be analyzed, inasmuch as they pertain to acts of terrorism committed by non-state actors and groups, as well as those that are state-sponsored.

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