Core 190 (Sections a & B): An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Issues in ir

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Core 190 (Sections A & B): An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Issues in IR

Tuesday & Thursday 11:00-12:15 (MU 213); 12:30-1:45(MC 315)

Course Instructor: Dr. Ayesha Ray

King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711

Office Hours: MWF 9-10, 2-4; TTH 2-4

Location: Hafey-Marian 205


I. Course Objectives
This course attempts to examine some of the most pressing issues in the world today by adopting an interdisciplinary approach. The course is divided into three major sections. The first section introduces students to fundamental approaches in five core disciplines: History, Political Science, Economics, Anthropology and Geography. The second section examines global issues in regions such as Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In examining these regions, students are encouraged to think about global issues through an interdisciplinary lens. The third and final section focuses on contemporary global problems such as international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, human rights and ethnic conflict. The primary objective for developing an interdisciplinary approach is to introduce students to the core concepts in all five disciplines and then apply those concepts to an understanding of historical, political, cultural and economic issues in different regions of the world. This course is all about trying to form connections between world events and the multiple contexts that inform them.

II. Course Requirements
There are two required textbooks for this course:

  • Sheldon Anderson, Jeanne A.K. Hey, Mark Allen Peterson, Stanley W. Toops, and Charles Stevens. eds. International Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Issues (Westview Press, 2008).

  • Scott Sernau, eds., Contemporary Readings in Globalization (Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press, 2008).

A number of additional readings will be posted on the course web page.

  • Class participation is actively encouraged. You will be expected to participate in small group discussions, which will be held regularly during the course of the semester.

  • Reading the New York Times is highly recommended.

  • You are expected to DO the required reading.

Grading Policy

  • There will be two examinations and one research paper. The examinations will consist of essay type questions and may even include a few multiple choice questions. The research paper should not be more than 10 pages in length, 12pt. Font, double spaced. The research paper will ask you to adopt any one of the disciplinary approaches in examining a specific regional issue. (For example, how does history help us understand the nature of conflict between India and Pakistan?). You will have the freedom to choose the topic for your research paper but emphasis will be placed on making a coherent argument.

First Exam: 20%

Second Exam: 20%

Research Paper: 40%

Class Participation: 20%

  • No incompletes or late papers will be accepted. Make-up exams will be allowed only if you have a legitimate reason for absence and provide documentation in support of your absence.

  • This course places a lot of emphasis on class participation. Your class participation grade will be evaluated on the basis of raising interesting and engaging questions for your classmates and through your participation in class activities.

Academic Dishonesty
Please carefully follow all the guidelines on academic dishonesty as outlined in the King’s Student Handbook. Plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade (for the assignment) or/and disciplinary action. This means that under no circumstance can you use someone else’s work or ideas as your own. To state it simply, please “cite” all external sources while writing a paper.

Course Schedule and Reading Assignments

(Please note that some of the supplemental readings might be subject to change)

  1. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Issues

August 26: Introduction
August 28: The Role of Political Science in International Relations

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 1, pp. 11-31.

September 2: Historical Interpretation in International Conflict

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 2, pp.33-49.

September 4: The Importance of Historical Context
John Lewis Gaddis, “Were the Hawks Right About the Vietnam War?”, Atlantic Monthly, April 2000, Vol. 285, No.4.
John Lewis Gaddis, “After Containment”, New Republic, Volume 232, Issue 15, April 25, 2005.

September 9: Geography in International Affairs

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 3, pp.53-73.

September 11: PBS Frontline Video

“Is Wal-Mart Good for America?”

Charles Fishman, “The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know” in Scott Sernau, pp. 15-18.

September 16: Theories of Economics in International Relations

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 4, pp. 75-100.

September 18: World Trade and Global Development

John Cassidy, “Always with Us: Jeffrey Sach’s Plan to Eradicate Poverty”, in Scott Sernau, pp.33-36.

Josh Bivens and Robert E. Scott, “China Manipulates Its Currency- A Response in Needed”, EPI Policy Memorandum, No.116, Economic Policy Institute, September 25, 2006. (
* Marco Visscher, “How One Company Brought Hope to the Poor”, in Sernau, pp.65-68.

September 23: Anthropology for International Communication

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 5, pp.103-128.

September 25: Intercultural Relations

William O Beeman, “Iran and the United States: Postmodern Culture Conflict in Action”, Anthropological Quarterly, Vol.76, No.4, pp.671-91.

September 30: Review Session for First Exam
October 2: FIRST EXAM

II. Case Studies

October 7: Europe and the Modern World
Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 6, pp. 133-175.
Laurent Cohen-Tanugi, “The End of Europe?”, Foreign Affairs, Nov-Dec 2005, pp.55-67.
October 9: Europe and Modern World
Graham Murray, “France : The Riots and the Republic”, CRS Reader, pp.93-104.
Larry Diamond, “The Global State of Democracy”, Current History, December 2000, pp.413-418.
Monika Steffen, “Aids and Health Policy Responses in European Welfare States”, CRS Reader

October 14: Asia and International Studies

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 7, pp. 179-217.

October 16: Asia and International Studies
Unmesh Kher, “Outsourcing Your Heart”, CRS Reader, pp. 143-146.
Celia W. Dugger, “U.S Plans to Lure Nurses May Hurt Poor Nations”, CRS Reader, pp. 159.

October 21: Latin American Economic Development

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 8, pp.219-253.

October 23: Latin America and U.S. Relations
Steve Ellner, “The ‘Radical’ Thesis on Globalization and the Case of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, CRS Reader, pp.19-22.
Mercedes Olivera, “Violence Femicida: Violence against Women and Mexico’s Structural Crisis”, CRS Reader, pp. 59-64.
Sebastian Von Einsiedel and David M. Malone, “Peace and Democracy for Haiti: A UN Mission Impossible?”, CRS Reader, pp. 119-126.

October 28: The Middle East and the Islamic World

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 9, pp. 255-285.

October 30: The Middle East and the Islamic World
Vali Nassr, “When the Shiites Rise” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2006.

November 4: Assignment/Paper Due After Class

November 4: Africa and the International Community

Sheldon Anderson, Chapter 10, pp. 299-337.

November 6: Africa and the International Community

Nancy Gibbs, “The Good Samaritans: Melinda Gates, Bono and Bill Gates”, CRS Reader, pp.55-58.

Julia Maxted, “Exploitation of Energy Resources in Africa”, CRS Reader, pp.163-168.
Paul Raffaele, “Born Into Bondage”, CRS Reader, pp. 37-42.

Section III. Contemporary Issues

November 11: International Terrorism

* Barry Posen (2002) “The Struggle Against Terrorism”, International Security, Vol.26(3).
November 13: International Terrorism

* PBS DOCUMENTARY: Inside the Terror Network (please note that this documentary may be subject to change depending on availability)

November 18: Nuclear Proliferation

* Scott Sagan (1996-97) “Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons: Three Models in Search of a Bomb”, International Security, Vol.21(3).
November 20: Sections on Contemporary Global Issues from the Sheldon Anderson text book.
December 2: Review Session
December 4: Research Paper Due

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