Ellis - IR308 Fundamental IR Theory Issues

SYLLABUS FOR GUIDANCE - IR 308.01 FUNDAMENTAL IR THEORY ISSUES

Dr. Burcu Ellis

NOTA BENE! SYLLABUS IS FOR GUIDANCE ONLY! THE INSTRUCTOR WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE MOST RECENT SYLLABUS ON COURSE START DATE!

The aim of this course is to provide students with a conceptual framework that will facilitate their understanding, explanation and interpretation of the field of international relations. IR is a dynamic field informed by theoretical debates between different theoretical, methodological and epistemological approaches and the ability to differentiate between these schools of thought is crucial to making sense of the field of study. Theoretical debates are often embedded in different approaches to the world’s most pressing issues; so we will also ground our theoretical discussion on real world events and issues. The course will explore grand theories in the context of global issues such as security, world economy, health problems, violence, war and peace as they impact many lives all around the world.

Learning objectives:

Introducing students to the academic scholarship in international relations, including but not limited to some of the prominent writers in realism, liberalism, world systems theory, post-structuralism, constructivism and feminism.

Exploring the methodological, epistemological and theoretical debates in the field of international relations.

Being able to identify key issues of contention and understand the different contributions that each school of thought brings to an issue-area.

Guiding students as they explore their own views on global problems and help them situate their arguments within a theoretical framework.

Thinking about war, peace, security, ecology, economy and development from different perspectives.

This course will be conducted as a seminar and will include in-depth discussion of weekly articles. Attendance is obligatory and your participation in class will constitute a significant portion of your grade.

Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email dprc@sfsu.edu.

The required books for this course are available at the SFSU Bookstore:

Robert Jackson and Georg Sorensen, eds. Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches. Oxford University Press, third edition (or one of the latest editions).

Among Nations: A Foreign Affairs Reader, under the professor’s name, Pearson Custom Publishing, 2011. (other editions are fine as well)

Robert Jackson, ed. Annual Editions: Global Issues 2012/13 McGraw-Hill.

Writing Assignments

Reading Journal: Every two weeks, students are required to write a one-page response to a point of their choice in the readings. Initially students will be summarizing the points already made in the material, but as the semester progresses, students should present their reactions to the issues raised by the author, discuss points that they find convincing, and/or provide a critique of the author’s argument. You may choose your own topic and relate the author’s discussion to current world events. Your response should be organized, coherent and well-written in terms of grammar and spelling. The journal entries are due at the beginning of class on Tuesdays. There are no make-ups for missed journals. When they are returned to you, please keep them together as you will be graded in accordance with the whole journal at the end of the semester.

Critical Essay:

Option 1: Realists argue that anarchy cannot be transcended. Some liberals and constructivists argue that it can. Who is right and for which reasons?

Option 2: Economic liberals argue that economic exchange is a positive-sum game. In the Marxist approach, the economy is a site of exploitation and inequality. Who is right?

Please select one of the following options and write a 6 page (double spaced) integrative and critical essay that takes into consideration the arguments of these schools of thought. In your response, synthesize the reading assignments with the discussions in class and provide a literature review on the topic. You may choose to answer the question any way you would like, but you have to support your arguments and document your sources. The essay should display a well-crafted argument and draw from reading assignments as well as disparate sources.

The critical essay is due at the beginning of class on xx/xx. No extensions will be granted unless consulted in advance with the instructor. Half-a-grade will be deducted from your paper grade for each day that the essay is late.

Examinations

There will be closed book mid-term and final exams in this course.  The midterm will include short-answer and essay questions as well as a short section drawn from the lectures in each section. The final exam will cover the whole semester and will be more analytical and comprehensive.

Students are expected to read and abide by the all regulations concerning the Academic Integrity Code. Violations of ethical conduct that relate to academic integrity will be punished. Academic violations include but are not limited to: plagiarism, inappropriate collaboration, dishonesty in examinations whether in class or take-home, dishonesty in papers, work done for one course and submitted to another, deliberate falsification of data, interference with other students' work, and copyright violations. Just remember: YOUR WORDS AND THOUGHTS ARE GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!

Class participation

This course is designed to draw on class discussions and participation in exercises, so attendance is very important. You will lose points for all unexcused absences. Students are expected to come to class having read the assignments and ready to discuss the main issues. Your participation in lively discussions and debate will be reflected in your final grade. Please note that there are no incompletes except in cases of documented medical emergency.

Grading Formula

Journal - 20%

Critical essays - 15%

Attendance and Participation - 15%

Midterm Exam - 20%

Final Exam - 30%

NOTA BENE! SYLLABUS IS FOR GUIDANCE ONLY! THE INSTRUCTOR WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE MOST RECENT SYLLABUS ON COURSE START DATE!