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Course Syllabus

Contemporary International Security


PSCI 7381.001 - Fall 2010
v2.0 10012010

Course Information
Dr. Brandon Kinne Class: Thursday 1:00pm–3:45pm
E-mail: brandon.kinne@utd.edu Location: GR 3.604
Web: http://www.utdallas.edu/∼bxk09100 Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00–4:00pm (GR 3.824)

Course Prerequisites
It is assumed that students have completed prior graduate-level coursework in the social sciences, such
as political science, political economy, sociology, or international economics.

Course Description
This course is a graduate seminar on the scientific study of militarized conflict. It examines contem-
porary theories of war and their connection to current trends in globalization and governance. We
will assess how warmaking is affected by such factors as international trade, balances of power, for-
eign direct investment (FDI), regime type, multinational production, environmental and demographic
pressures, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), American hegemony, international hierarchies, and
global social networks.

The “contemporary” aspect of the course means that we will focus on approaches to conflict that
are rooted in causal explanations rather than, for example, appeals to human nature. This literature
relies heavily on quantitative methodologies and formal modeling, and the bulk of it has emerged in
just the past 10 to 15 years. While experience with econometrics and/or modeling is not required,
students should be aware that both will feature heavily in the readings. This is not a course about
military history, homeland security, or current events. Rather, we are concerned with social scientific
explanations for why wars occur and how they can be prevented.

Student Learning Objectives


The primary objectives of this course are, first, to acquire a broad understanding of the state-of-the-art
in international security, and, second, to develop the tools to examine this literature critically.

Required Textbooks and Materials


Most of the readings are journal articles and are available through online databases like Jstor. There
are also three books to purchase, and a handful of book chapters on electronic course reserve. In

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general, students should expect to read the equivalent of 4-6 journal articles a week. Note that, al-
though the structure of the course will not change, there may be minor adjustments to the reading
assignments over the course of the semester. Any such changes will be announced in class.

Books to buy:

• Russett, Bruce, and John Oneal. 2001. Triangulating Peace: Democracy, Interdependence, and
International Organizations. New York: Norton.

• Kydd, Andrew. 2006. Trust and Mistrust in International Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press.

• Lake, David. 2009. Hierarchy in International Relations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Our course reserves page:

• http://utdallas.docutek.com/eres/coursepage.aspx?cid=907

Course & Instructor Policies


Since this is a seminar course, student participation is essential. Students should come to seminar pre-
pared to discuss the readings in depth. My expectation is that every student will regularly contribute
to the discussion—though, of course, quality always trumps quantity. Students who are uncomfortable
with extemporaneous discussion might find it helpful to prepare some comments and thoughts ahead
of time. Attendance is mandatory, and any unexcused absences will substantially lower your grade.

Leading Discussion
Each week, two or three students will be responsible for (1) introducing the week’s readings to the
seminar and (2) providing questions for discussion. Students leading discussion on the same day should
decide between themselves who will cover which readings. These are not formal presentations, but
exercises in stimulating thoughtful discussion. Students should aim for a concise and coherent oral
summary of their chosen readings, and should attempt to articulate (1) the reading’s main theme or
claim, (2) the methodology used to test or develop the claim, and (3) the conclusions or empirical
findings. Oral summaries should be no more than five minutes per article or chapter.

Discussion questions must be circulated by email to the rest of the class at least 24 hours prior to
class time (i.e., by Wednesday 1:00pm). A good discussion question does not merely ask a point of
clarification but provokes debate and invites disagreement. A question might focus, for example, on
a reading’s logic, methodology, or real-world relevance, or it might draw upon readings from previous
weeks to point out flaws and oversights. Students should plan to write no more than one question
per article or book chapter. We will not have time to discuss additional questions. Please take these
questions seriously, as they will form the basis of our in-class discussions.

Note that leading seminar discussion does not require submission of additional written work, other
than discussion questions.

Reading Responses
Students must write two response essays over the course of the semester, due on two separate weeks
of their choosing. Essays should be four to five pages in length (double spaced with 12-point font) and

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should critically respond to some relevant aspect of the week’s readings. Essays should avoid summary
and focus instead on critical analysis. The first essay must be completed by October 21st. Essays
should be submitted by email to the professor (not the entire class) no later than start of seminar on
the day they’re due. Late papers will not be graded. (Students are welcome to also submit a hard copy
of their essay at start of seminar, in addition to sending an e-copy.)

Critical Literature Review


The final requirement is a 15-page critical literature review on a selected topic, due at start of sem-
inar on Thursday, December 2nd. Topics should bear on the subject matter of the course, broadly
construed, and should be selected in consultation with the instructor. Students may wish to focus on
one of the topics covered by the course readings or on an excluded topic, such as alliances, deterrence
(conventional, nuclear, or extended), arms races, terrorism, or civil war. The literature review should
not merely summarize the views of different scholars. Rather, students should engage the literature
critically, identifying weak arguments, logical inconsistencies, empirical or theoretical omissions, and
so on. Depth is preferable to breadth; critiques should be tightly focused. Students will be required
to give a brief, 10-minute presentation of their paper on the last day of class, December 2nd.

Grading Policy

• 15-page critical literature review, including presentation (40%)

• Two reading responses (30%)

• Class participation, including discussion questions and oral summaries (30%)

August 19 – Introduction

• Read for next time as a general overview: Jervis, Robert. 2002. “Theories of War in an Era of
Leading-Power Peace,” in American Political Science Review 96(1): 1-14.

August 26 – Models and Methods

• Fearon, James. 1991. “Counterfactuals and Hypothesis Testing in Political Science,” in World
Politics 43(2): 169-195.

• Beck, Nathaniel, Gary King, Langche Zeng. “Improving Quantitative Studies of International
Conflict: A Conjecture,” in American Political Science Review 94(1): 21-36.

• Diehl, Paul F. 2002. “Chasing Headlines: Setting the Research Agenda on War,” in Conflict
Management and Peace Science 19(1): 5-26.

• Vasquez, John, and Brandon Valeriano. 2010. “Classification of Interstate Wars,” in The Journal
of Politics 72(2): 292–309.

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September 2 - Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism

• Waltz, Kenneth. 1988. “The Origins of War in Neorealist Theory,” in Journal of Interdisci-
plinary History 18(4): 615-628.

• Mearsheimer, John. 2002. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, chapter 2. Online course
reserve.

• Axelrod, Robert, and Robert Keohane. 1985. “Achieving Cooperation under Anarchy,” in World
Politics 38(1): 226-254.

• Ruggie, John Gerard. 1998. “What Makes the World Hang Together? Neo-Utilitarianism and
the Social Constructivist Challenge,” in International Organization 52(4): 855-885.

• Jepperson, Ronald L., Alexander Wendt, and Peter J. Katzenstein. 1996. “Norms, Identity,
and Culture in National Security,” in The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in
World Politics. Katzenstein, Peter J., ed. Columbia: New York. Online course reserve.

September 9 - Rationalism

• Fearon, James. 1995. “Rationalist Explanations for War,” in International Organization 49(3):
379-414.

• Powell, Robert. 2006. “War as a Commitment Problem,” in International Organization 60(1):

• Wolford, Scott, Dan Reiter, Clifford Carrubba. Draft. “Information, Commitment, and War.”
(I’ll circulate a copy of this.)

• Slantchev, Branislav L. 2010. “Feigning Weakness,” in International Organization 64(3): 357–


388.

September 16 - Domestic Politics I: Signaling and Audience Costs

• Fearon, James. 1994. “Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Dis-
putes,” in American Political Science Review 88(3): 577-592.

• Schultz, Kenneth. 2001. “Looking for Audience Costs,” in Journal of Conflict Resolution 45(1):
32-60.

• Slantchev, Branislav. 2006. “Politicians, the Media, and Domestic Audience Costs,” in Inter-
national Studies Quarterly 50(2): 445-477.

• Tomz, Michael. 2007. “Domestic Audience Costs in International Relations: An Experimental


Approach,” in International Organization 61(4): 821-840.

• Weeks, Jessica. 2008. “Autocratic Audience Costs: Regime Type and Signaling Resolve,” in
International Organization 62(1): 35-64.

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September 23 - Domestic Politics II: Diversionary Uses of Force (“Externalization”)

• Smith, Alastair. 1996. “Diversionary Foreign Policy in Democratic Systems,” in International


Studies Quarterly 40(1): 133-153.

• Gelpi, Christopher. 1997. “Democratic Diversions: Governmental Structure and the External-
ization of Domestic Conflict,” in Journal of Conflict Resolution 41(2): 255-282.

• Fordham, Benjamin O. 2005. “Strategic Conflict Avoidance and the Diversionary Use of Force,”
in Journal of Politics 67(1): 132-153.

• Colaresi, Michael. 2007. “The Benefit of the Doubt: Testing an Informational Theory of the
Rally Effect,” in International Organization 61(1): 99-143.

• Pickering, Jeffery, and Emizet F. Kisangani. 2010. “Diversionary Despots? Comparing Autoc-
racies’ Propensities to Use and to Benefit from Military Force,” in American Journal of Political
Science 54(2): 477–493.

September 30 - Power

• Fearon, James. 1994. “Signaling versus the Balance of Power and Interests,” in Journal of
Conflict Resolution 38(2): 236-269.

• Powell, Robert. 1996. “Stability and the Distribution of Power,” in World Politics 48(2):
239–267.

• Powell, Robert. 1996. “Uncertainty, Shifting Power, and Appeasement,” in American Political
Science Review 90(4): 749-764.

• Reed, William. 2003. “Information, Power, and War,” in American Political Science Review
97(4): 633-641.

• Hegre, Hȧvard. 2008. “Gravitating toward War: Preponderance May Pacify, but Power Kills,”
in Journal of Conflict Resolution 52(4): 566-589.

• Braumoeller, Bear F. 2008. “Systemic Politics and the Origins of Great Power Conflict,” in
American Political Science Review 102(1): 77–93.

October 7 - Hegemony

• Kydd, Andrew. 2005. Trust and Mistrust in International Relations. READ chapters 1–3, 5,
and 7. SKIM chapters 4, 6, and 8.

October 14 - Hierarchy

• Lake, David. 2009. Hierarchy in International Relations. Read chapters 1–5.

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October 21 - Geography, Demography, and the Environment

• Homer-Dixon, Thomas. 1991. “On the Threshold: Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute
Conflict,” in International Security 16(2): 76-116.

• Gleditsch, Nils Petter, et al. 2006. “Conflicts over Shared Rivers: Resource Scarcity or Fuzzy
Boundaries?” in Political Geography 25(4): 361-382.

• Lujala, Päivi. 2010. “The Spoils of Nature: Armed Conflict and Rebel Access to Natural
Resources,” in Journal of Peace Research 47(1): 15–28.

• Urdal, Henrik. 2005. “People vs. Malthus: Population Pressure, Environmental Degradation,
and Armed Conflict Revisited,” in Journal of Peace Research 42(4): 417-434.

• Buhaug, Halvard, Nils Petter Gleditsch, and Ole Magnus Theisen. 2008. “Implications of
Climate Change for Armed Conflict,” report to World Bank. Washington, DC: World Bank
Group. Download from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTRANETSOCIALDEVELOPM
ENT/Resources/SDCCWorkingPaper Conflict.pdf

• Goldstone, Jack. 2010. “The New Population Bomb,” in Foreign Affairs 89(1): 31–44.

• Browse papers from this conference: http://climsec.prio.no/papers download.aspx

October 28 - Regime Type (aka the Democratic Peace)

• Russett & Oneal, Chapters 2 and 3.

• Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, James Morrow, Randolph Siverson, and Alastair Smith. 1999. “An
Institutional Explanation of the Democratic Peace,” in American Political Science Review 93(4):
791-807.

• Valentino, Benjamin A., Paul K. Huth, and Sarah E. Croco. 2010. “Bear Any Burden? How
Democracies Minimize the Costs of War,” in The Journal of Politics 72(2): 528–544.

• Gartzke, Erik. 2007. “The Capitalist Peace,” in American Journal of Political Science 51(1):
166-191.

• Dafoe, Allan. Draft. “Democracy Still Matters: The Risks of Sample-Censoring, and Cross-
Sectional and Temporal Controls.” (I’ll circulate a copy of this.)

November 4 - Economic Interdependence

• Russett & Oneal chapter 4.

• Brooks, Stephen. 1999. “The Globalization of Production and the Changing Benefits of Con-
quest,” in Journal of Conflict Resolution 43(5): 646-670.

• Morrow, James. 1999. “How Could Trade Affect Conflict?” in Journal of Peace Research 36(4):
481-489.

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• Gartzke, Erik, Quan Li, and Charles Boehmer. 2001. “Investing in the Peace: Economic
Interdependence and International Conflict,” in International Organization 55(2): 391–438.

• Polachek, Solomon, and Jun Xiang. 2010. “How Opportunity Costs Decrease the Probability of
War in an Incomplete Information Game,” in International Organization 64(1): 133–144.

• Hegre, Hȧvard, John Oneal, and Bruce Russett. Draft. “Trade Does Promote Peace: New
Simultaneous Estimates of the Reciprocal Effects of Trade and Conflict.” (I’ll circulate a copy.)

November 11 - IGOs and International Institutions


• Russett and Oneal chapter 5.

• Voeten, Erik. 2005. “The Political Origins of the UN Security Council’s Ability to Legitimize
the Use of Force,” in International Organization 59(3): 527–557.

• Thompson, Alexander. 2006. “Coercion through IOs: The Security Council and the Logic of
Information Transmission,” in International Organization 60(1): 1–34.

• Boehmer, Charles, Erik Gartzke, and Timothy Nordstrom. 2004. “Do Intergovernmental Orga-
nizations Promote Peace?” in World Politics 57(1): 1-31.

• Chapman, Terrence L., and Scott Wolford. 2010. “International Organizations, Strategy, and
Crisis Bargaining,” in The Journal of Politics 72(1): 227–242.

November 18 - Social Networks


• Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., Miles Kahler, and Alexander H. Montgomery. 2009. “Network
Analysis for International Relations,” in International Organization 63(3): 559-592.

• Hafner-Burton, Emilie, and Alexander H. Montgomery. 2006. “Power Positions: International


Organizations, Social Networks, and Conflict,” in Journal of Conflict Resolution 50(3): 3-27.

• Maoz, Zeev, et al. 2006. “Structural Equivalence and International Conflict: A Social Networks
Analysis,” in Journal of Conflict Resolution 50(5): 664-689.

• Dorussen, Han, and Hugh Ward. 2008. “Intergovernmental Organizations and the Kantian
Peace: A Network Perspective,” in Journal of Conflict Resolution 52(2): 189-212.

• Ward, Michael D., Randolph M. Siverson, Xun Cao. 2007. “Disputes, Democracies, and De-
pendencies: A Reexamination of the Kantian Peace,” in American Journal of Political Science
51(3): 583-601.

November 25 - No class, Thanksgiving

December 2 - Paper Presentations

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University Policies http://go.utdallas.edu/syllabus-policies

These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Professor.