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Course Description

This course introduces you to the interactions among international actors: states, international organizations, and transnational groups. Concepts such as power and national interest will be introduced. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the theories, actors, and dynamics of international relations. Our world has undergone sweeping changes in the past few decades. We live in an increasingly interconnected world, and these connections bring both opportunities and problems. The ability to communicate instantly across the globe, combined with the relative ease and low expense of moving people and products around the world has resulted in a globalized world. This means the problems or events that occur on the other side of the world can have a meaningful impact on your life. By the end of the course, students should have the knowledge and skills to better understand the world around them.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  1. Recognize and evaluate the competing theories for explaining international interactions;
  2. Explain how foreign policy is formulated;
  3. Assess the causes and consequences of violence between and within states, including conventional, asymmetrical, and strategic conflicts and concerns;
  4. Recognize and evaluate competing theories for explaining patterns of global trade and development;
  5. Identify and describe the major actors in international relations, including states, intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations;
  6. Use the knowledge and theoretical tools developed in the course to explain contemporary global events.

The students will cover the major topics of International Relations. These include the themes of war and peace, intergroup conflict and community, integration and division, humans and their environment, and poverty and development.

Required Texts: (available in the FIU bookstore or through online booksellers)

• Joshua S. Goldstein and John C. Pevehouse International Relations

2013-2014 update [Brief 6th edition] ISBN: 9780205972180

Joshua    S.    Goldstein    and    John    C.    Pevehouse   Readings    in

International Relations ISBN: 9780321356192

Recommended Texts:

Daniel W. Drezner, Theories of International Politics and Zombies, (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ), 2011

A style-grammar guide [e.g. Andrea Lunsford, The Everyday Writer, or a MLA Style Handbook]

Course Structure:

Grading breakdown

Major Writing Projects (40% of final grade)

o Group Position Paper                                            20%

o Final essay                                                            20%


Testing (35% of final grade)

o Midterm Exam

  • § Online Multiple Choice                         15%
  • § In-Class exam                                      15%

o Map tests [4]                                                            5%


Other Grades: (25% of final grade)
o Group Presentation 15%
o Class Participation/Attendance 10%


Major Writing Projects:

For each of the two major writing assignments, you will receive a detailed assignment   sheet   that   lays   out   for   you   all   necessary   requirements   and expectations for success.


Group Presentation and Position Paper

Students will be placed in set groups of five (5) members for the entire semester. Each group will be responsible for conducting a group presentation on one of the major theories of international relations, applied to a key event of their choosing. Once this presentation is completed, the group will be next required to submit a group position paper, 8-12 pages in length, based on their presentation and feedback.


Final Essay

At the culmination of the semester, once all debates have been completed and group proposals have been submitted, you are required to write and submit a 6-8 page in length essay based on an essay prompt provided sometime during the duration of the class.

Map Tests

There will be 5 map tests for this course.

  • § An important part of studying or understanding international relations involves being able to place countries and events in a geographic context.
  • § Each Map Exam will require you to identify countries on a blank map, so it is a good idea to become familiar with countries’ locations if you want to pass the class…
  • § Each Map exam will cover a different region—Africa, Europe, Central and South America, Middle East, and East Asia
  • § You will be required to identify between 10-15 countries on the blank world map for the duration of 20mins.
  • § Four (4) of the five (5) map exams are collectively worth 10% of the final grade.
  • § There are NO MAKE-UP’s for missing these exams


Midterm Exam

The Midterm is divided into two segments and will cover chapters 1-3 of the

Goldstein and Pevehouse Textbook (GPT)

The first segment of the midterm will involve an in-class exam. Here you will be required to answer several short answer questions and complete a map segment during the class period.

The Second segment of the midterm will require you to complete an online multiple choice and true false exam via the class blackboard page. The Midterm will consist of 65 Multiple Choice questions and 25 True and False and run for

120mins. Exam must be completed in one sitting.


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