International Relations

Course Descriptions

  • IREL 280: The Mexican-American Border
    As the only place where the third world and first world touch, the Mexican-American border is unique. This course will focus on the border and how its unique location in the world has created a culture, language, politics, religion and economy that reflect the interdependence between these two neighboring countries. The course will begin with the history of the border from the Gadsden Purchase in 1854 to the passage of NAFTA in 2004 and then examine the impact of free trade on Mexico. The course will explore how people (immigration - both legal and illegal), resources (oil, workers), consumer products (household appliances, food, music, and art), environmental waste (toxic waste, water and air pollution) and technology (outsourcing) cross borders as globalization impacts both Mexicans and Americans. The course involves a three-week stay along the border in May. Pre-requisites: ECON 110 and SPAN 112 or its equivalent. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: BUSN 280, ECON 280, LNAM 280, SPAN 201
  • IREL 322: Education in Developing Countries
    (Education and Development in Developing Countries) This course explores the historical background, philosophical foundations and major themes in the education of 'developing countries' within the broader context of global development and social change. The specific goal of this course is to familiarize students with the evolution of and critical issues in formal education in most low income, less industrialized nations. Students will be able to explore contemporary themes in education from a historical and comparative perspective. Additionally, they will expand their conceptual schema for rethinking educational issues within and beyond their own societies. Geographically, this course covers countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but runs comparisons with countries in Europe and North America when theoretically relevant. Reading materials build on development studies and several disciplines in the social sciences and humanities such as history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and education. Not open to first year students. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: EDUC 322, SOAN 343
  • IREL 349: Topics: U.S. Presidents & Jerusalem
    Until 1967, the U.S. accepted the international consensus on the issue of Jerusalem, which called for the internationalization of the city according to General Assembly Resolution 181. Also, the U.S. refused to recognize both Israel's annexation of West Jerusalem and Jordan's annexation of East Jerusalem. After the 1967 War, Israel extended its control to Arab East Jerusalem and later declared all Jerusalem its eternal capital. Since then, American presidents have stopped short of pressuring Israel to abide by Resolution 181, arguing instead that the future of Jerusalem should be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. This course studies the complex history of the positions of modern American presidents on Jerusalem, focusing on how American domestic politics has shaped U.S. policy and the interactions between U.S. presidential administrations and international actors on the status of Jerusalem.
    Cross-listed as: ISLM 349
  • IREL 480: The 21st Century World (Dis)Order
    (Senior Seminar in International Relations: The 21st Century World (Dis)order) The international system of states is undergoing a power shift. Though it will remain the dominant world power for some time to come, most scholars agree that American global preeminence is waning. Yet scholars disagree about the effect of this shift on world order. Some see an effort by the United States and its closest allies to prop-up the current American liberal world order of global economic integration and cooperative security. Others envision either a 'post-American' world in which the United States and rising great powers re-negotiate the ground rules of a new liberal order, or a world in which the United States is one of a small number of great powers competing for power and influence in an illiberal world. Each of these possibilities raises compelling questions about war and peace, and cooperation and discord in twenty-first century international politics. Will this power shift jeopardize the liberal world order? Can this world order persist in the absence of American preeminence? How might the United States and its allies extend the current American world order?
    Cross-listed as: AMER 478
  • IREL 481: Security & Insecurity
    (Senior Seminar in International Relations: Security and Insecurity). Security studies in a mainstay of international relations scholarship and, like the international relations discipline itself, security studies has evolved and changed over the years. Drawing from theories of international relations, this senior seminar is an inquiry into the meanings of security (and insecurity). It underscores the wide variations in the application of the term to the objects of research, including the state (national security), the system of states (international security), the world beyond national borders (global security), and people and communities (human security). It applies these formations of security to a variety of issue areas in international relations today, both traditional (military affairs and economic affairs) and non-traditional (humanitarian and environmental affairs), thereby exposing students to an array of understandings and approaches to security studies in contemporary theory and practice. Students use their acquired knowledge to research and analyze a contemporary security issue or set of related issues. Prerequisite: Open to international relations and politics juniors and seniors only.

  • IREL 482: Democracy and the Middle East
    (Senior Seminar in International Relations: Theories of Democracy and the Middle East) In this seminar students examine and apply theories of democracy to the contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Students learn the roles that different factors play in determining outcomes such as democracy, women's rights, and rights of minorities. Among other explanations of democracy, students will learn about modernization theory, the resource curse, and the role of religion. Students will evaluate these explanations as they apply to the MENA, considering their strengths and weaknesses. By the end of the course, students should have a comprehensive understanding of the deterrents to democratization in the MENA and possible factors that could facilitate reform. Prerequisite: Open to senior IR majors and Politics majors (in the Global Politics track), or permission of instructor.