HC 231H: Introduction to International Relations

Professor: Jane Cramer

4.00 credits

• CRN 13102: Monday & Wednesday, 1615-1745 @ LIL 232

This section of HC 231H is equivalent to PS 205 Introduction to International Relations, and therefore, not recommended for students who have already taken PS 205

For Political Science (PS) Majors, this course will count toward the 200-level course requirement and will serve as a gateway class for the Global Engagement Career Path. For PS Minors, this course will count toward the minimum credit requirement. 

From the Trojan and Peloponnesian Wars in ancient Greece through the wars among Native American tribes to recent conflicts in Iraq and Bosnia, nations have gone to war. The question is why? Several explanations have been offered, and the course discusses a variety of such explanations. For instance, some argue that wars are more likely when nations are equally powerful, whereas others think that an imbalance of power leads to war. Other explanations find the main causes in the characteristics of the states making up the system, arguing that it matters whether states are democratic, capitalist, domestically unstable, and so on. Finally, some believe that the characteristics of leaders are what matters the most, or that the fundamental cause of war is found in our human nature. The course also deals with conflict and cooperation in other areas of international politics. Thus, it discusses economic issues such as the gap between rich and poor countries, the political underpinnings of international economic relations, and the likely success of international attempts to tackle international environmental problems.