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Peter S. Henne

POLS 051: Introduction to International Relations

Posted: August 22nd, 2018 by phenne

I teach POLS 051, Introduction to International Relations frequently. This course provides students with an introduction to international relations. The course covers the major theories of and approaches to international relations, key concepts in the study of international conflict and cooperation, and the dilemmas foreign policymakers face. Students will learn about academic research on topics ranging from the balance of power to globalization, and discuss these in the context of current events. They will also learn how these topics relate to a variety of careers in international relations. The course is a mix of lecture and discussion, including organized debates and a policy simulation.

After taking this course, students will be able to:
1. Understand important theories and topics in international relations.
2. Analyze the causes and consequences of current events in international relations.
3. Engage in ongoing debates among scholars and policymakers on a variety of international relations topics

The course is divided into four units:

  1. “What is International Relations,” discusses the definition, foundational theories, and key concepts of the sub-field.
  2. “International Relations Concepts,” covers important ideas in the study of international conflict and organization, including the security dilemma, international norms, and the democratic peace theory.
  3. “Foreign Policy Statecraft,” dealing with some of the ways foreign policy makers attempt to make sense of the international system. This includes topics such as counterterrorism, humanitarianism, and nuclear weapons.
  4. “Current Events and Issues,” applies these concepts and theories to several current events and issues in international relations, ranging from the rise of China to the Arab Spring and climate change

In Fall 2018, I am teaching this course as a Foundational Writing/Teaching Advising Program course. In addition to learning about international relations, first-year students will also gain skills in college-level writing and gain direct advising from me as they get to know the University of Vermont.

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