New Curricula for Teaching International Relations -   A Task for Regional Educational Institutions in Central and Eastern Europe

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Syllabi Collection 

On this page you can browse through different syllabi dealing with questions of international relations. We got these syllabi via internet or by directly addressing to the instructors of the seminars. All syllabi contain some useful information about: 

  • Relevant literature for different theoretical approaches and topics of international politics
  • Possibilities of structuring a university course in international relations
  • Some methodological aspects about teaching 
  • Basic questions dealing with central topics of IR theory or international politics
In the following you will find a list of syllabi that might be interesting for your work and for the preparation of the theoretical and case study papers as part of our common curriculum project. Each time we tried to give a short description of the information value of the syllabi that you can open through the different links we installed on this page. 
Bennett, James P., Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, New York
1. Introduction to International Relations: 
In this course Bennett bases his sessions on the book of Baylis/Smith, 1997, Globaliziation of World Politics, Oxford University Press. Each session refers to one of the different chapters out of Baylis/Smith. Attached are very useful and informative discussion summaries and class notes! 
2. Theories of International Relations: 
Here Bennett addresses central questions of IR Theory. Very helpful are lists of specific questions attached to some of the literature students are asked to read. These questions are helpful for reading, structuring and understanding the different texts. 
DerDerian, James, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1. International Relations' Theory: Representations of the Other 
DerDerian focusses on historical and philosophical aspects on IR theory. Therefore in his course he stresses more identity (ethnic, nationalist, social, cultural) than interests of states. 


Evangelista, Matthew, Cornell University
1. Introduction to International Relations: 
Here, Evangelista gives a short introduction to the historical background of international relations. Then he discusses international conflict, global economy and security issues. 


2. Comparative Foreign Policy: 
This seminar deals with foreign policy analysis along different categories: characteristics of countries; different issues (military policy versus trade policy); different time periods. 
3. Conflict, Cooperation and Norms: Ethnical Issues of International Affairs 
This seminar focusses on ethnical aspects of  IR theory. Throughout the seminar Evangelista develops different concepts of IR: national interest versus international morality; limits of international law; military intervention; economic globalization/ economic justice; economic sanctions. After that these concepts are applied to case studies: former Yugoslavia; Haiti; Nigeria; Mexico; Former Soviet Union and China. 


4. Field Seminar in International Relations: 
This seminar contains three elements: methodological and conceptional issues of IR; theory approaches that are critical to mainstream IR theories; issues: security; democratic peace; linkages between domestic politics and international relations. 
5. Politics of Transnationalism: 
In this course different views of globalization and transnational identity are discussed. Theoretically the evolution of transnational theories is part of the syllabi as well as social movement theory and different approaches of IR theory. 


6. Normative Elements of International Relations: 
In the context of this course the role of norms in International Relations is important. In dealing with this question Evangelista refers to 4 different elements: alternative frameworks, concepts, test cases and explanatory mechanisms. 
Guzzini, Stefano, Central European University, Budapest
1. Theories of International Relations: The Classical Debates 
This course aims at making students acquainted with the main stages of the evolution of IR as a discipline since 1945 which can be seen as an ongoing debate about the explanatory value of one particular theory, namely Realism. The purpose of the course is twofold. First, it wants to sensibilise students to the possibi-lities and limits of theoretical studies in IR. The course should allow students to be-come aware of different ways of seeing and understanding inter-national affairs. It is based on the practical distinction between the explanatory and constitutive function of theories. It should show not only how one can use theories to analyse “given” events, but how the deter-mination and analysis of these very events is itself constructed by different theories. This should en-hance the students' abilities to detect also implicit methodological and theoretical assumptions. 
Jervis, Robert, Columbia University, New York
1. Theories of International Relations: 
This course gives a general overview of different aspects of IR theory. Jervis focusses on: Level of Analysis; Realism/Neo-Realism; Systems: Balance of Power, Anarchy; Domestic Politics; Decision-Making and Ideas; Rational Choice. 


Kinsella, David, American University, School of International Service
1. Introduction to Theory in International Relations: 
This seminar gives an overview of the basic approaches of IR Theory. Kinsella differs between state-centric theories (Realism; Neo-Realism; Neoliberalism; Constructivism), non-state centric theories (Theories of Integration; Marxian/Critical Theory; Normative Theory), theories of foreign policy and postmodernism/feminism. For each of these theoretical columns he offers selective and useful reading lists. 


Krasner, Stephen, Stanford University
1. International Politics: 
Krasner discusses basic approaches of international politics (structuralism - realism - balance of power; marxism; liberalism - interdependence - globalism; national value - domestic strategies - democratic peace). After that these concepts are applied to different issues (world war I, II; cold war; strategic debate; trade and finance; intervention; human rights; post-cold war word: new internationl order?). 


2. Political Science: 
In this course basic concepts of political science are discussed: epistemology; realism - neo-realism; liberalism - neoliberal institutionalism; sociological institutionalism; constructivism; sovereignty; domestic-international interactions. 
Lentner, Howard, City University of New York
1. International Politics after the Cold War: 
Lentner deals with different aspects of international politics. He focusses more on different issues/topics than on the theoretical debate of IR. Also very useful are his tips for a research project design. His seminar covers the following topics: Security and economics in the Post-Cold-War system; globalization; global capitalism and the state; states and their roles in international politics; nations, nationalism and ethnic identities; culture, norms and identity in international politics. 


Lipson, Charles, The University of Chicago
1. International Relations: Perspectives on Conflict and Cooperation 
First, Lipson discusses different varieties of realism. Than he focusses on certain areas and aspects of international relations: International Political Economy; interdependence and public goods; institutions and cooperation; international relations and international history; role of international institutions. 


2. Introduction to International Relations: 
The first part of this seminar deals with analytical foundations of IR theory. After that, Lipson tries to apply different approaches of IR theory to questions of security and economics of international relations. 
Milner, Helen, Columbia University, New York
1. Theories of International Politics: 
Milner deals with certain aspects of international politics mainly from the theoretical point of view. Interestingly she also takes up methodological and epistemological questions of political science (Logic of Scientific Inquiry and Critics). Basically her seminar covers the following theoretical approaches: Levels of Analysis; balance of power and anarchy; realism, neo-realism; neoliberal institutionalism and international cooperation; role of domestic politics; decision-making; rational choice, bargaining, negotiation. 


Paris, Roland, University at Colorado at Boulder
1.International Organization
    Theory and Practice 
This course examines the theory and the practice of international cooperation and governance as parts of International Organizations.  
The seminar includes a number of practical issues and controversies and covers themes like:  mechanisms to control violent conflict, the management of global economy, the rising influence of international non-governmental organizations, the dynamics and meaning of european integration, the relationship between the principles of democracy and the practice of international organization. 
2. The Post-Cold War World 

This course seeks to map out the principal contours of the post-Cold War world. The first part of the course examines several depictions of contemporary global politics, and reviews some of the leading theories of international political economy. The analytical framework based on topics like: economic and cultural globalization, international security, the natural environment, demographic issues, and the changing nature of political authority in the post-Cold War world. 


Paznyak, Vyachaslau, European Humanities University, Minsk
1. Theories of International Relations: 
This course gives a profound introduction into theories of International Relations as well as a theory-based introduction into foreign policy analysis. 
In the first part of the course, the different schools of IR-Theory are analized as well as their respective critiques. The second part introduces into the methodologies of Foreign Policy Analysis by discussion units and levels of analysis, actors, instruments, forms of interaction in foreign policy. The course finishes with a discussion of the role of international organizations and the future world order. 


Reinhardt,Eric, Emory University
1. Introduction to International Politics: 
Reinhardt deals with three theoretical areas (Realism, liberalism and foreign policy analysis) and their related issues of international politics. These contain the following themes: security; international intervention; nationalism and ethnic conflict; international political economy; globalization; regional economic integration; international economic development. 


Risse, Thomas, European University Institute, Florence
1. Theories of International Relations: 
Risse gives a profound overview of different theoretical approaches dealing with international relations (realism; neoliberal institutionalism; constructivism-role of norms; rational choice versus constructivism; two-level-games - domestic politics - transnationalism; liberalism - democratic peace; critical theories: neo-gramscianism and feminist theories; post-structuralism). For each theory he offers selective and useful reading lists including relevant case studies. 


Rosati, Jerel A., University of South Carolina
1. Foreign Policy Analysis: 
Rosati concentrates on basic questions of foreign policy analysis. Different aspects of this research area are taken into account: decision-making; role of personality; role of perceptions and beliefs; role of culture; role of state and society. For this seminar three major theoretical approaches have been chosen: situational approaches; global approaches and interaction of internal and external factors of foreign policy. Useful might be the attached requirements of foreign policy papers. 


Rosenau, James N., George Washington University
1. The Dynamics of Globalization 

This syllabus is very useful in terms of two aspects: First, it gives some suggestions concerning the demands students are supposed to meet in order to pass the seminar (wirtten evalulations of books, weekly papers, final analytical paper) and also it contains some basic questions to be addressed when discussing „globalization“. Second, this seminar reflects this theme from a various range of aspects, e.g. history of globalization, space and territory, economic processes, cultural processes, organizations + networks, domestic processes, international processes, regional processes, transnational actors, world society, technological dynamics + communication, security, environment or socio-psychological processes. 


2. Turbulence in World Politics  

Here Rosenau gives some useful hints concerning the structure and aim of analytical papers. In this seminar he focusses on conceptual and methodological aspects of studying world politics. He discusses different paradigms of international politics on a macro- and a micro-level as well as their interaction.  

Silverstone, Scott, University of Pennsylvania
1. Writing about International Relations: 
Silverstone's seminar contains three main elements: discussion of methodological aspects (writing and reading skills), theoretical foundations of IR theory (anarchy, power and international relations; cooperation and international relations; levels of analysis) and case studies (different historical cases; post-cold-war era). 


Taliaferro, Jeffery
1. Theories of International Relations: 
Taliaferro gives a very broad overview of theories of international relations. For each theory he offers selective and useful reading lists.In his syllabi the following theoretical perspectives are dealt with: Level of analysis; competing traditions in the study of international politics; neoliberal institutionalism; alliances; anarchy and international cooperation; conflict management; security dilemma; democratic peace; domestic politics and international behaviour; role of norms and beliefs; psychological theories of foreign policy analysis. 


Tickner, Judith Ann, University of Southern California
1. International relations theory 

This seminar gives an overview of the discipline of IR with a focus on ist evolution; scientific vs. traditional conceptions of IR; different players and levels of IR and foreign policy; different theoretical approaches (realism, neorealism, liberal theories, regime theories, communitarianism, post-positivist theories, feminist theories). Furthermore she discusses these theoretical approaches in the context of different topics like war+peace; cooperation+conflict and international ethics. 


2. Gender and international relations 

This seminar examines some of the recent literature which is beginning to develop feminist critiques of various theoretical approaches in the discipline of international relations.  
Drawing on a variety of feminist theoretical perspectives, the seminar addresses the question as to whether international relations theories  are gendered and, if so, how this might affect their explanations and understandings of, and prescriptions for, the conduct of world politics.  Issues, central to the discipline, such as war, peace, security, and the workings of the global economy, are examined through feminist lenses.  Issues less central to the discipline conventionally defined, where feminist theories are making new contributions, such as development, human rights, culture and identity politics, will also be discussed. 

Wendt, Alexander
1. Self-Determination and World Order: 

For several centuries states were the only entities that had a right to self-determination in the international system.  However, since World War Il the international system has come under increasing pressure to recognize two new forms of self-determination: individuals calling for  respect for human rights, and ethnic groups or nations calling for secession or autonomy from existing states.  This seminar explores the tensions between the claims of these three "selves" as they relate to the problem of designing democratic constitutional orders on both the national and international levels. 


2. International Politics: 

This course is an introduction to key issues in contemporary international relations.  Although the discussion will be grounded throughout in real world problems, past and present, the primary emphasis is on concepts and theories rather than current events or history.  The goal is to develop the analytical and theoretical skills necessary for thinking critically about international relations, whatever the specific content of those relations might be.  The course is divided into three parts. Part One takes up the problem of War, arguably the most fundamental issue faced by anarchic systems.  Part Two examines the problems of Economy when embedded within an anarchy.  Part Three explores the emergence of Law under anarchy, and its implications in different issue areas.