Political Science | International Relations: Approaches & Issues
Y569 | 3799 | McGinnis

This seminar will introduce students to a wide array of approaches to
the scholarly study of international relations and world politics.
Students should realize that this is far too broad a topic to be
considered in its entirety in a single semester, and so seminar
participants should expect to continue to do additional readings on
this topic before (and after!) they complete their Ph.D. preliminary
exams. Emphasis will be placed on the most important ways in which
this massive field of research has been divided up into separate and
more manageable components. Specifically, we will compare theories
that (1) concentrate on using explanatory factors located at one or
more levels of analysis, from individual to global in scale; (2)
apply different methodological approaches (historical, behavioral,
institutional, structural, constructivist); (3) can be classified
within the standard paradigmatic approaches of realism, liberalism,
structuralism, constructivism, along with various neo-variants of
each. However, students should be advised against adopting an
exclusivist position in any of these debates, for the most
interesting recent research programs transcend one or more of these
standard categories. This is especially the case for current
approaches to the broad topic of global governance, a topic that will
receive particular attention in this course. Readings will be
extensive and students will be asked to complete a final exam (sort
of a pre-prelim exercise), discussion memos, and reports on their own
readings on some specialized topic. Students seeking additional
detail on topics to be covered should consult the instructor. (Also,
since this seminar is specifically designed for students studying
towards a Ph.D. in political science, graduate students from other
disciplines should check with the instructor before enrolling.)