Monshipouri - IR550 State Sovereignty Global Justice and Human Rights

Syllabus for Guidance – IR550 State Sovereignty, Global Justice, and Human Rights (Fall 2012)

Dr. Mahmood Monshipouri


Course Description

IR 550 is the capstone course in the International Relations Department at San Francisco State University and combines lectures with seminar. This course will explore theoretical approaches—such as realism, liberalism, constructivism, and critical theory—to human rights and human security, social justice and international political economy, environmental issues, poverty, development, and hunger, and humanitarian and military intervention. We intend to critically identify, analyze these theories, themes, and issues, while presenting the range of alternative opinions about them. Our major purpose is to understand the complexity of issues under scrutiny as well as capture the heart of arguments offered in the discipline. During the first 8 weeks of the course, we will attempt to achieve three goals: (1) to understand the concepts of social justice, human rights, and globalization; (2) to investigate their impacts and consequences for world politics; and (3) to explore normative challenges that human rights and global social justice pose for the Westphalian logic of territorial sovereignty.

The remainder of the course will be devoted to students’ presentations of their cases and analytic orientations in a variety of specific contexts and historical/contemporary experiences. Students are expected to consult with the instructor on the selection of research topics prior to focusing on a core theme and apply the conceptual and theoretical frameworks discussed in the first half to preferably a particular issue, case study, and/or comparative analysis, while relying on either experiential knowledge or theoretical inquiry, or even both.

Throughout the semester, each of the students will be asked to give two short presentations on one item from the reading lists. These are in addition to a long presentation that each student gives during the latter part of the semester. The additional items under further readings list offer students an opportunity to widen/deepen their knowledge about a subject of their interest and/or choice.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the evolution of world politics since 1945, including states, NGOs, power relations, emerging markets, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), social media, and the struggles for human rights in the making of the modern world.
  • Comprehend the dynamics of change and lingering tensions in the world politics.
  • Understand the role of the NGOs, demography, modern technology (e.g., social media), and democratic uprisings in throughout the world since the 1970s, as well as the role played by regional and internal powers.
  • Apply the knowledge acquired in this course to explore issues such as peaceful democratic change, promotion and protection of human rights, technology diffusion and social change, social media and social movements in the contemporary world, and the search for stability, development, and social justice.
  • Comprehend difficult moral and strategic choices that leaders have to make given the geopolitical realities that influence different regions in the world.
  • Use tools of critical analysis to address, identify, and analyze the sources of social change and uprisings in throughout the world, while also offering policy recommendations to policymakers in this regard.

Qualifications for Enrollment in this Class:

  1. All requirements of the IR major need to have been successfully completed prior to taking this course.
  2. Students must have passed JEPET or an equivalent (English 414).
  3. Students are required to fill the bio sheet and sing the plagiarism by September 7, 2010.

Required Texts

Mayann Cusimano Love, Beyond Sovereignty: Issues for a Global Agenda, 4th Edition, Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2010.

Kathryn Sikkink, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011.

David P. Forsythe, Human Rights in International Relations, Third Edition, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Mahmood Monshipouri, Terrorism, Security, and Human Rights: Harnessing the Rule of Law, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2012.

Students are required to subscribe to the Christian Science Monitor for the fall 2012.

Guide to Further Readings

Essay Review: David P. Forsythe, Human Rights in International Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000 and Jack Donnelly, Realism and International Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 1, February 2001, pp. 213-227.

Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse, and Beth A. Simmons, Handbook of International Relations, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2008.

Stanley Hoffman, Duties Beyond Borders: On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics, New York: Syracuse University Press 1981.

R. J. Vincent, Human Rights and International Relations, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Richard Falk, Human Right Horizons: The Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World, New York: Routledge, 2000.

Alison Brysk, Global Good Samaritans: Human Rights as Foreign Policy, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Jack Donnelly, Realism and International Relations, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Richard P. Hiskes, The Human Right to a Green Future: Environmental Rights and Intergenerational Justice, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Henry R. Nau, ed., International Relations Perspectives, Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2010.

David Boucher, The Limits of Ethics in International Relations: Natural Law, Natural Rights, and Human Rights in Transition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Jon Mandle, Global Justice, London: Polity Press, 2006.

Daniel Weinstock, Global Justice, Global Institutions, Calgary, Canada: University of Calgary Press, 2005.

Shadi Mokhtari, After Abu Ghraib: Exploring Human Rights in America and the Middle East, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Beth A. Simmons, Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Jean H. Quataert, Advocating Dignity: Human Rights Mobilizations in Global Politics, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

Time Dunne and Nicolas J. Wheeler, eds., Human Rights in Global Politics, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Edward C. Lorenz, Defining Global Justice: The History of U.S. International Labor Standards Policy, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001.

Charles William Kegley and Shannon Lindsay Blanton, World Politics: Trend and Transformation, Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2011.

Jeffry A. Frieden, David A. Lake, and Kenneth A. Schultz, World Politics: Interests, Interactions, and Institutions, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.

Time Dunne, Milja Kurki, and Steven Smith, eds. 2nd Edition, International Relations Theories: Disciple and Diversity, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Annette Freyberg-Inan, Ewan Harrison, and Patrick James, eds., Rethinking Realism in International Relations: Between Tradition and Innovation, Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens, The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 4th Edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

David P. Forsythe, ed., Encyclopedia of Human Rights, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, five volumes.

CQ Press, Global Issues: Selections from CQ Researcher, 2010 Edition, 2011; especially chapters on future of globalization, U.S.-China relations, women’s rights, and climate change.

Class Meetings

Lectures and discussions occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Attendance is strongly recommended and class participation is valued highly. The instructor certainly reserves the right to adjust a student’s grade based on his or her participation (or lack thereof) in class.


You will be evaluated on the basis of several class participations, a rigorous research project/paper term (40-45 pages), a portfolio of current issues of world politics significance, and participation in two workshops. The details regarding the term paper assignment and its structure will be discussed thoroughly in the second meeting of the term. Here is the breakdown:

Term paper(50%)250 points

Portfolio(10%) 50 points

Workshops(10%) 50 points

Class participation(10%) 50 points

Class presentations(20%) 100 points

Total(100%) 500 points

The grading scale will be as follows:

A= 475 or aboveB-=415-424D+=335-364



B=425-434C-=365-374F=314-and below

Students are expected to attend all class sessions, to read all assignments before the dates they are discussed in class, to contribute to class discussions, and to prepare summary reports on the day of presentation.

Attendance Policy

Your regular class attendance on Tuesdays and Thursdays is required. Please make every possible effort to attend class consistently. The attendance policy in this course is as follows:

Missed sessionsThe Percentage to be taken off the final exam grade





More than 5Failure in the grade or the maximum grade will be D.

Course Rules

The following rules govern the requirements for this course:

  1. Make-up exams are given only under extraordinary circumstances. The nature & timing of exam will be determined by the instructor. Students are strongly urged to avoid make-up tests by taking regular exams.
  2. Failure to take any one of the exams results in a failing grade for the course.
  3. Failure to turn in your paper by the date assigned will result in a failing grade for that assignment (20% of the overall grade.
  4. Instructor reserves the right to use his discretion in instances of extreme emergency or serious illness. Appropriate documentation must be provided by students in either events.

Learning Support

There are Teaching Assistants (TAs), who are available to help with certain aspects of presentation and/or research projects. TAs have no discretion on procedural matters (due dates, extensions, etc.) and are not responsible for or involved in grading. Additionally, IR Librarian, Mira Foster ( is a great source for your research project. Here is more information on Ms. Foster:

Mira Foster

Senior Assistant Librarian

J. Paul Leonard Library

SF State University

1630 Holloway Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94132

Tel: (415) 405-2590


Instant Messenger: mirasfsu