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PSC 303: International Relations, Syllabus

Revised 20 Jan. 2015, with minor editing, by Prof. Jeremy Lewis.
For the latest version, see this course in the Canvas learning management system.

Catalog description
The factors and motives underlying the political and economic relationships among nations; the basic principles guiding the foreign policies of the major nations; the instruments of power and their effect upon international relations; the United Nations and regional organizations. 200 level PSC course recommended.
Course Objectives
  1. To further develop analysis of international relations and US foreign policy, that were introduced in PSC 209 and PSC 212
  2. To help prepare students for masters programs in international relations
  3. To help prepare students for jobs in international relations and US foreign policy
Learning Objectives
  1. Understanding of the modern history of US foreign policy
  2. Critical thinking about current challenges in US foreign policy
  3. Knowledge of the principles, actors and history of international relations
  4. Critical thinking about current challenges in world politics
Expected Outcomes
  1. Competent exam essays on the modern history of US foreign policy
  2. Critical discussion of the contemporary challenges in US foreign policy
  3. Competent exam essays on the principles, actors and history of international relations
  4. Critical discussion of the current challenges in world politics
  5. A competent research paper on some aspect of the term's material (judged in descending order of importance, by content, research, organization & writing)
  6. A competent oral briefing of this research (judged by content, audiovisual illustration, speaking, and organization of the briefing)
For latest information, see the Booklist page.
1. McCormick, James M. American Foreign Policy & Process. (Thomson). One of the leading texts on the subject, this will give you a clear discussion of foreign policy from the US perspective.

2. Joshua S. Goldstein, and Jon C. Pevehouse, International Relations, Brief edition.  An excellent text that makes theory understandable to newcomers.

Other brief materials may be linked, or provided via an electronic dropbox; these may include excerpts of some great classic pieces, such as Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian wars.

Attendance is encouraged at at least one of the Alabama World Affairs Council's excellent guest speaker events, usually held at 231 Montgomery St (downtown), usually second Tuesday of the month at 6:15pm, following a reception at 5:30pm. Please dress smartly and obey the laws on alcohol consumption. Huntingdon has subscribed for several students per session.

Academic requirements
For the current formal requirements, latest course grading formula, and deliverable documents, see the Requirements page.  For the current due dates of tests, paper, exam and presentations see the Dates page. For the current weekly readings and topics of discussion, see the Timetable page for this course (or simply click the PSC course code in the heading of this page.) For the instructor's most recent office hours, click the availability page here.
The better to prepare you for professional careers and graduate schools in related fields, this will be augmented with material on US Foreign Policy.

This course introduces you to the concepts and practice of international politics, US foreign policy and institutions. Thus the course combines the modern developmental and organizational approaches with the traditional realist versus idealist schools method. You should by the end of the course understand in particular how the international system has changed since the end of the cold war, as well as over a longer time period.

We shall occasionally analyze excerpts of documentary films, or recent news coverage where available. Current affairs, such as an international crisis, will be discussed even where this postpones part of the syllabus.

You are expected to comply with the HC Honor Code [read College's statement, August 2009, of procedure for violations] and with specific rules of decorum placed on our Requirements page.  You are also expected to comply with Huntingdon College's Code of Classroom Conduct, August 2009.

My Attendance Policy [read latest details on Requirements page]

While school sanctioned excuses will not count against you, absences reduce your potential contribution to class, and absences in excess of four contact hours will reduce your class participation score.
My specific policy on late completion of in-class work [read latest details on Requirements page]
Late completion of tests or other graded exercises in class will only be permitted in cases with documented, prior notification and documented excuses from a coach, medical doctor or similar authority.
My Class Participation Policy [read latest details on Requirements page]

HC's Accommodation of Special Needs
Faculty at Huntingdon College make every effort to accommodate unique and special needs of students with respect to speech, hearing, vision, seating, or other possible adaptions.  Please notify the Disability Services Intake Coordinator, Ms. Camilla Irvin,  as soon as possible of requested accommodations.