Politics 214: International Politics
Fall Semester 2016
Smullin Hall Room XXX
MWF 9:10–10:10


Prof. Michael Marks
Office: Smullin 332
Office Tel. 503–370–6932
Politics Dept. Tel. 503–370–6060
E-mail: mmarks@willamette.edu
Home Page: http://www.willamette.edu/~mmarks
Office Hours: MWF: 8:00–9:00, 10:15–11:15, and by appointment

Course Description

This course introduces students to various important theoretical approaches to the study of international relations and foreign policy analysis. It also applies these approaches to concrete historical cases and current issues of international affairs. The course is designed to familiarize students with the major modes of international relations analysis and to enable them to apply these analyses to substantive issues.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of theory for describing and explaining international political behavior.
2. Distinguish among the main theoretical schools of thought (paradigms) that comprise the field of international relations.
3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these paradigms as well as arguments made in support of them in the course readings.
4. Develop one’s own approach to international relations, informed by the major theoretical approaches discussed in the course.
5. Write effectively and persuasively analyzing competing paradigms in the study of international relations.
6. Use factual evidence to analyze international relations.

Time Commitment for This Course

Willamette’s Credit Hour Policy holds that for every hour of class time there is an expectation of 2–3 hours work outside of class. Thus, for a class meeting three hours a week such as this one you should anticipate spending 6–9 hours outside of class engaged in course-related activities. For this course you should allocate your time among the following three activities: Reading assigned texts (including preparing weekly chapter summaries of those texts), reading newspapers and/or online news resources on topics relevant to the class, writing the three essay assignments due over the course of the semester.

Course Organization

The course will employ a combination of lectures and classroom discussion. Some class sessions will be devoted to an explanation of the week's topics and themes, while other class meetings will provide a forum for involved discussion of the weekly readings. Therefore, students will be expected to have completed the readings and be prepared to actively engage in the classroom discussion.

About Class Participation

The large size of this class is not particularly suited to classroom discussion. However, people tend to learn better when they verbalize new material. Therefore, students should be prepared to discuss the readings the weeks they are assigned.

Electronic Devices in the Classroom

Laptop computers can assist in note taking and wireless Internet access on campus can aid in organized classroom exercises. However, laptop computers can also be a classroom distraction. Laptop computers are permitted in class for note taking purposes. Additionally, there may be occasions when the class as a whole may want to use the campus wireless network to look things up online. However, please refrain from checking e-mail, online chatting, websurfing, game playing, etc. during class. If you are observed doing so during class time, you will asked to no longer bring your laptop to class. Additionally, cell phones should be turned off prior to class.


Students requiring accommodation should contact the Office of Disability & Learning Services (Baxter Hall, Phone: 503–370–6471, TTY: 503–375–5383) for consultation and to make the necessary arrangements.

Plagiarism and Cheating Policy

All writing assignments turned in must be your own written work. You may not copy, borrow, or appropriate other authors’ work. Reference to other people’s ideas must include attribution. All references to other authors’ work must be fully documented in the form of citations and/or footnotes, and direct quotes must be indicated as such with quotation marks. Suspected cases of plagiarism will be pursued vigorously and appropriate penalties (including an “F” for the course) will be applied.

Willamette's Plagiarism and Cheating Policy

Managing the Reading List

In order to profit fully from the readings, students should read the material assigned for a particular week before the scheduled classroom discussion. We will discuss the readings assuming that the students have read them ahead of time. It is absolutely necessary that students be prepared to discuss the readings in the weekly discussion sections.


The following two books are required:

1. Paul D’Anieri, International Politics: Power and Purpose in Global Affairs (Fourth Edition). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2016.

2. Phil Williams, Donald M. Goldstein, Jay M. Shafritz (eds.), Classic Readings and Contemporary Debates in International Relations (Third Edition). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.

Note: The D’Anieri International Politics book has an accompanying website. The website is integrated with the textbook and offers additional chapter-by-chapter materials, including simulations, web link exercises, information revolution exercises, chapter summaries, and practice tests to help you master course material. Utilizing the website is not mandatory, but you may find some of the materials useful as you read the book. Consult the textbook for more information on accessing the companion website.

Writing Assignments

1. There will be three take-home writing assignments. Questions will ask the students to analyze and evaluate some feature of the preceding weeks’ thematic discussions as covered in class and in the readings. No research is required for these take-home writing assignments.

2. Each week, except those weeks in which essays (above) are due, students are to choose one of the course readings for that week and hand in, in class on Monday of that week, a short (no more than one paragraph) summary of the reading’s main points, along with a discussion question for that reading.  These assignments are due in class on Mondays. No credit will be given for late submissions of these reading summaries.


The final grade will be computed as follows: First writing assignment: 20%; Second and third writing assignments: 35% each; Weekly summaries of course readings, 10%. In addition, the instructor reserves the right to raise final grades for superior classroom participation, and lower final grades for deficient classroom attendance.

Incompletes will be given only under exceptional circumstances such as serious illness. You may appeal any of your grades during office hours only after you have handed in a typed, reasoned memorandum detailing the specific reasons why you think the grade you received is not justified.

Late writing assignments will be assessed a one-third grade penalty per day (e.g., a B+ paper handed in a day late receives a B, two days late a B–, etc.).

Course Schedule and Weekly Reading Assignments

August 29–31: Introduction

1. No readings

September 2–9: How Do We Study International Politics?

1. D’Anieri: Chapters 1–2
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Reading 18

September 12–16: Realism

1. D’Anieri: Chapter 3, section on Realism (pages 61–77)
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Readings 5, 6, 8, 28, 29

September 19–23: Liberalism and Domestic Politics

1. D’Anieri: Chapter 3, section on Liberalism (pages 78–91) and Chapter 5
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Reading 2, 17, 23, 37

September 26–30: Constructivism and Feminist Theory

1. D’Anieri: Chapter 4, sections on Constructivism and Feminism (pages 103–117)
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Readings 4, 35, 36, 38, 39


October 3–7: Marxist Theory and Economic Structuralism

1. D’Anieri: Chapter 4, section on Economic Structuralism (pages 95–103) and conclusion (pages 117–122)
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Readings 10, 11, 12

October 10–14: Foreign Policy and Decision Making

1. D’Anieri: Chapter 6
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Readings 20, 42, 43, 47

October 17–21: International Conflict

1. D’Anieri: Chapters 8–9
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Reading 45

October 24–28: International Cooperation

1. D’Anieri: Pages 193–207 of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Readings 27, 31, 32, 33, 34


October 31–November 4: International Political Economy

1. D’Anieri: Chapters 10–11

November 7–11: Globalization

1. D’Anieri: Pages 207–225 of Chapter 7 and pages 435–456 of Chapter 14
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Reading 51

November 14–18: Global Inequality

1. D’Anieri: Chapter 12

November 21–25: Thanksgiving Break

No classes.

November 28–December 2: Future Scenarios I

1. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Readings 16, 52, 53, 55, 59


December 5–9: Future Scenarios II

1. D’Anieri: Chapter 15
2. Williams, Goldstein, Shafritz: Reading 21