Political Science 2401
Fall Semester 1999
General Classroom Building 200
Dr. William M. Downs
Offered during the last academic semester of the twentieth century, Global Issues is a course aimed at introducing students to the events, trends, and problems facing citizens and leaders in an increasingly interdependent world. The course is designed to inform, to provoke, and most especially to inspire you to think seriously about pressing political, economic, social, and ecological concerns in the contemporary world. Assuming no prior knowledge of international relations or comparative politics, the course targets a multidisciplinary audience: students in business, education, and arts and sciences. Upon completion of the course, all students will emerge with a more sophisticated understanding of important core concepts (e.g., sovereignty, identity, development, sustainability, security), with a greater awareness of alternative perspectives to interpreting and resolving global dilemmas (e.g., population growth, environmental degradation, transnational crime flows), and with an enhanced confidence in your own ability to articulate informed positions on important issues.
Among the questions we will ask are the following:
TEXTS AND COURSE MATERIALS
The following books are required and are available at the university bookstore:
John T. Rourke. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in World Politics, 9th edition. Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 1999.
Samuel P. Huntington. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Touchstone, 1996.
The New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com/
The Washington Posthttp://www.washingtonpost.com
For additional Internet sites,
you should see the Global Affairs Resource Page for this course
Most class sessions will combine some mix of lecture and discussion/debate. All students should come to class having read the assigned reading for the day. However, class lectures may not always simply repackage the reading material and may, instead, expand well beyond the reading to related themes or tackle the themes of the reading in different fashion. In other words, lectures will complement the readings, not provide a substitute for doing them. Current events will be discussed throughout the course and may also be part of the exams. Additionally, we will on occasion make use of video resources and guest speakers.
I encourage you to make good use of my office hours (MW, 3:00-4:30). If these hours conflict with your own schedule, please call or e-mail to arrange an appointment. If you show up unannounced at my office outside of scheduled hours, unfortunately I will not be able to be of much help.
Teaching Assistant. Cecilie
Lilletvedt, a graduate student in the political science program, will serve
as teaching assistant for this course. She will assist in course preparation,
grading, and mentoring. If you have a pressing concern and cannot reach
me, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is sufficient demand, Ms. Lilletvedt may hold study sections for
interested students on occasion throughout the semester.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING SYSTEM
Students will be evaluated along four dimensions. A midterm exam and a final exam will determine one half of your grade. The remaining 50% will be determined by quiz scores (25%) and performance on three written assignments (25%).
Quizzes. As a means both
of testing your reading comprehension and of requiring consistent attendance,
unannounced quizzes will be given from time to time. They will be based
on the assigned readings. There will be no make-ups for missed quizzes.
Missing a quiz for medical reasons or for attending an official university
sponsored inter-collegiate event (but not a practice) will be excused only
when accompanied by a written note from the attending physician (one week
following absence) or team coach (one week prior to event).
Class Participation. Students must complete the assigned readings on time, and actively participate in class discussions.
Position Papers. There are twelve in-class debates scheduled during the semester, each of which is based on a Yes/No Issue in the Rourke book. You will sign up early in the semester for three of these debate themes. On the day of the debate you must come to class with a three-page position paper setting out an argument for your position on the issue. All debaters will then help contribute to an informed debate on the subject. The rest of the class will be invited to join in with provocative questions and comments.
See Sign-Up Sheet for Positions Papers
Examinations. Two in-class examinations, consisting of a midterm exam and final, will constitute 50% of each student's grade. The exams will consist of a mix of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. Material discussed in class and material covered in required readings will appear on the exams.
Paper 1 5%
Paper 2 10%
Paper 3 10%
Final Exam 30%
August 23 Introduction
A Special Moment in History: Framing Issues Poised to Shape a New Century
August 25 Globalization and Interdependence
Huntington, Chapter 1: "The
New Era in World Politics" (pp. 19-39)
Do Serious Threats to U.S. Security Exist?
Rourke, Issue 1 (pp. 2-21)
The Nation-State and its Contenders
September 8 Evolution of the Nation-State System
Huntington, Chapter 2: "Civilizations in History and Today" (pp. 40-55).
September 13 Challenges to the Nation-State: NGOs, IGOs, MNCs, IFIs, and the Attack of the Acronyms
(Under)Development: Economic and Social Dimensions
September 20 Setting the Pace? America’s Transition to the Global Market
Huntington, Chapter 3: "A Universal Civilization? Modernization and Westernization" (pp. 56-78).
Part IV. Conflict and Conflict Resolution
October 18 The Psychology of Enemy Making
Does the World Need to Have Nuclear Weapons at All?
Rourke, Issue 8 (pp. 136-147)
Will Creating a Palestinian State Promote Peace in the Middle East?
Rourke, Issue 2 (pp. 22-41)
Should a Permanent UN Military Force Be Established?
Rourke, Issue 9 (pp. 148-171)
Ethics and Human Rights in Peace and War
November 3 Principles and Values in the Global Arena
Should Foreign Policymakers Minimize Human Rights Concerns?
Would World Affairs Be More Peaceful if Women Dominated Politics?
Rourke, Issue 14
Transnational Challenges: Population Expansion, Crime, and the Environment
November 15 Ecological Problems in Perspective
Should the Kyoto Treaty Be Supported?
Rourke, Issue 17 (pp. 310-325)
November 29 Population Explosions and Immigration
Readings on Reserve at Library South:
Jennifer D. Mitchell, "Before the Next Doubling," World Watch (1998)
Rony Brauman, "Refugees: The Rising Tide," UNESCO Courier (1996)
Rourke, Issue 13 (pp. 240-252)
Should an International Criminal Court Be Established?
Rourke, Issue 11 (pp. 208-221)
Global Issues in Perspective
December 8 Making Sense of Disparate Trends…and Projecting the Future
Huntington, Chapter 12: "The West, Civilizations, and Civilization" (pp. 301-321).
Note: This course syllabus provides a general plan for the course; deviations may be necessary.
Note: Students are responsible for the information contained in the University’s Academic Honesty policy.
Note: The last day to drop and
receive a "W" is October 15.