Carleton University

46.547  International Relations Theory

Instructor: David B. Carment

Fall Term, 1997
Office: Paterson Hall 2A54 Friday 8:30-11:30
Office Hours: TBA Paterson 2A46


There is a fundamental divide between scholars and practitioners of international relations. The gap is artificial and unnecessary. The purpose of this course is to bridge it, based on the belief that while each situation has unique features, understanding general patterns of international relations can help practitioners formulate sound policy.

The seminar is guided by some basic questions. How is knowledge about international relations acquired? How can peace and cooperation be achieved and maintained in a changing international system? How can theory be applied to international relations policy? To address these and other questions this seminar will: (1) discuss the underlying assumptions and images that influence the practice of international politics; (2) provide through lectures and assigned readings, representative samples of theoretical works; (3) introduce to the student, key concepts and methodologies used by scholars in their study of international relations; and (4) apply international relations theory to the practice of international politics.

There are two phases of study in this seminar. The first part of the seminar will introduce some of the seminal contributions to international relations theory. This introduction provides the framework for a study of major debates within international relations theory. These debates focus on, among other things, the limits to cooperation and the role of institutions in managing conflict among states. In the second part of the course, students will be expected to apply the theory they have learned through participation in an interactive computer simulation involving other university teams throughout North America, South America, Asia and Europe (East and West). As they attempt to implement policy initiatives and work in teams to resolve international disputes, students will confront international relations issues in a context that provides an authenticity of experience and practicality. The objective is to enable participants to create and test organizational skills, understand the interdependence of international issues, appreciate cultural differences and approaches to world problems, and use computers for multi-nation communications. The class will represent Canada for the 1997/1998 simulation. The simulation is intended to focus on a few primary issues in the world and how these issues are related; it is not intended to cover all international issues that exist today. The main subgames are: International Trade, International Debt and Development, Global Environment, Human Rights,World Health, Arms Control and Regional Cooperation.

Classes will consist of lectures, student presentations, preparation for the simulation and on-line computer simulation. Students are expected to come to class having done all the required reading and prepared to contribute and listen to viewpoints of other students. Students are required to write an individual work of 15-pages based on the the application of international relations theory to the simulation. There will be a group presentation based on the issue paper presented midway through the course. The grading for the course is as follows:

Peer Evaluation (within policy groups) 10%

Group Evaluation (across policy groups) 10%

Issue Paper (group project) - 5 pages 15%

ICONS simulation (October 21 - November 22) 15%

Class participation 20%

Final Individual Paper - 15 Pages 30%



Students are not required to purchase any single text for the course. However, there are several texts that are very useful as general guides to international relations theory. You are strongly encouraged to consult at least two of the following:

Hobbes, T. Leviathan (London: 1968). chs.13,14,17. Selections are also found in Vasquez, J.A. Classics of International Relations (Englewoods-Cliff: 1986).

Holsti, K.J. The Dividing Discipline (Toronto: 1985).

Kegley, C. W. & Wittkopf, E.R. The Global Agenda: Issues and Perspectives (4th ed. 1995).

Machiavelli, N. The Prince (London: 1961) chs. 5, 9 17. Selections are also found in Vasquez, J.A. Classics of International Relations (Englewoods-Cliff: 1986).

Viotti, P. R. & Kauppi, M. V. International Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism and Globalism (London: 1993).



1. September 5 - The Meaning of Theory in International Relations


Banks, Michael "The International Relations Discipline: Asset or Liability for Conflict Resolution?" in Azar, E. E. & Burton, J. eds. International Conflict Resolution (Lynne Rienner, 1986).

Mansbach, R.W. & Ferguson, Y. H. "Values and Paradigm Change: The Elusive Quest for International Relations Theory" in Kauppi, P. and Viotti, M. eds. International Relations Theory (MacMillan, 1989).

Stein, J.G.; Risse-Kappen, T. "Symposium: The End of the Cold War and Theories of International Relations" International Organization (vol. 48, no. 2, 1994).



Barkin, S. "Legitimate Sovereignty and Risky States" in Schneider, G. and Weitsman, P. eds Enforcing Cooperation (St. Martin's Press, 1997).

Puchala, D. J. "The Pragmatics of International History" Mershon International Studies Review (April, 1995).

Singer, J.D. "The Incompleat Theorist: Insight Without Evidence" in Vasquez, J.A. Classics of International Relations (Englewoods-Cliff: 1986).


Additional Items:

* assign students to working groups
* discuss requirements for individual essay and in-class presentations
* review conference list and agenda items
* there will be a small fee for registering in the simulation

* important: each group should meet to prepare the first draft (2 page outline) of their issue papers. This first draft is to be distributed in class and discussed on Friday September 26. Students should use the list of agenda items for upcoming ICONS conferences as a guide when developing their respective proposals and recommendations.

* INTERNET: in addition to conventional research material, students are strongly encouraged to use INTERNET resources to obtain information for their papers. The main ICONS Web site provides several useful links to government documents, treaties and other resources.


Macro Perspectives

2. September 12 - Realism and Neo-Realism


Gilpin, R. "The Richness of the Tradition of Political Realism" International Organization (vol. 38, no.2, 1984).

Morgenthau, H. Politics Among Nations (Yale University Press: 1978) chs. 1,3,15.



Grieco, J.M. "Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the Newest Liberal Institutionalism", International Organization (Vol. 42, 1988).

Levy, J. "Contending Theories of International Conflict" in Crocker, C., Hampson, F. and P. Aall, eds. Managing Global Chaos (USIP Press, 1996).

Powell, R. "Anarchy in International Relations Theory: the Neorealist-Neoliberal Debate" International Organization (vol. 48, no. 2, 1994).

Sylvester, C. Feminist Theory and International Relations in a Post Modern Era (Cambridge, 1994) Chapters 1 and 2.


3. September 19 - Neo Liberalism


Axelrod, R. The Evolution of Cooperation (New York: 1984) chs. 2,4.

Stephen Krasner. "Structural Causes and Regime Consequences: Regimes as Intervening Variables" in International Organization (Vol. 36, no. 2, 1982). pp. 1-21.

Keohane, R. "Neoliberal Institutionalism" in Keohane, R. ed. International Institutions and State Power (Columbia University Press, 1989).



Nolan, J. ed. Global Engagement (Brookings, 1994) Chapters 1 and 2.

Vayrynen, R. "International Stability and Risky States: The Enforcement of Norms in Schneider, G. and Weitsman, P. eds. Enforcing Cooperation (St. Martin's Press, 1997).

Zacher, M. and Richard A. Matthew "Liberal International Theory: Common Threads, Divergent Strands" in Kegley C. ed. Controversies in International Relations Theory (St. Martin's Press, 1995).


Micro Perspectives

4. September 26 - Theory and Foreign Policy


Hermann, Margaret, Hermann, C. and Hagan, J., "How Decision Units Shape Foreign Policy Behaviour," in Hermann, C. F. Kegley, C. and Rosenau, J. eds. New Directions in the Study of Foreign Policy. (Harper Collins, 1987) pp. 309-338.

Putnam, R. D. "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games", International Organization (vol. 42, 1988).



Hermann, M. "The Effects of Personal Characteristics of Political Leaders on Foreign Policy," in Maurice East et al. ed. Why Nations Act: Theoretical Perspectives for Comparative Foreign Policy Studies. (Sage Publications, 1978) pp. 49-68.

Zelikow, P. "Foreign Policy Engineering From Theory to Practice and Back Again" International Security (Spring 1994). pp. 143-171.


Additional Items

* Presentation of Issue Briefs (1 Page Outline)



5. October 3 - Human Rights and Ethnicity

Individual Essay Outline Due (2 pages)



Bunch, C. and Carrillo, R. "Global Violence against Women" in Klare, M. and Thomas, D., eds. World Security Challenges for a New Century (St. Martin's Press, 1994) pp. 256-273.

Sikkink, K. "The Power of Principled Ideas: Human Rights Policies in the United States and Western Europe", in Goldstein, J. and Keohane, R. eds., Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions and Political Change (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 139-70.

Stack, J. "The Ethnic Challenge to International Relations Theory" in Carment, D. and Patrick J., eds. Wars in the Midst of Peace (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997)



Alfred, G. and Franke Wilmer (1997) "Indigenous Peoples, States and Conflict" in Carment, D. and Patrick James eds. Wars in the Midst of Peace (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press)

Niarchos, C.N., "Women, War and Rape: Challenges Facing the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia", Human Rights Quarterly (17, 4, November 1995).

Weiss, T., G. Forsythe, D. P. and Coate, R. A. eds. The United Nations and Changing World Politics (Westview, 1994) Chapters 6 and 7.


6. October 10 - The Environment


Haas, P. Keohane, R. and Levy, M. Institutions for the Earth (MIT Press, 1993) Chapter 9.

Pirages, D. "The Ecological Perspective on International Politics" in International Studies Quarterly (27, 1983 )pp. 243-255.

Tuchman Mathews, J. "The Environment and International Security" in Klare, M. and Thomas, D. eds. World Security: Challenges for a New Century (St Martin's Press, 1994) pp. 274-290.



Surkhe, A. "Environmental Change Migration and Conflict" in Crocker, C., Hampson, F. and Aall, P. eds. Managing Global Chaos (USIP Press)

Homer Dixon, T. F. "On the Threshold: Environmental Changes and Acute Conflict," International Security, (Fall 1991) pp. 76-116 and "Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases," International Security, (Summer 1994) pp. 5-40.


Additional Items:

* important: once the issue briefs have been reviewed and authorized by the class, these communiqués should be immediately sent out, via Polnet, to all other countries participating in the ICONS simulation. This will give counterparts in these teams at least seven days to review Canadian positions (and recommendations) regarding issue areas and upcoming conferences.


7. October 17 - Trade and Integration

Barbieri, K. "Risky Business: The Impact of Trade Linkages on Interstate Conflict, 1870-1985" in Schneider, G. and Weitsman, P. Enforcing Cooperation (St. Martin's Press, 1997).

Hughes, B. "Evolving Patterns of European Integration and Governance: Implications for Theories of World Politics" n Kegley C. ed. Controversies in International Relations Theory (St. Martin's Press, 1995).

Olsen, M. "Economic Nationalism and Economic Progress" in Booth, J., James, P. and Meadwell, H. eds. Politics and Rationality (Cambridge, 1993).



Gilpin, R. The Political Economy of International Relations (Princeton, 1987) chs. 1,2.

Doran, C. "Power Transitions and Conflict Resolution" in Vasquez, John, ed. Beyond Confrontation (University of Michigan Press, 1995).

Shambaugh, G. "Threatening Friends and Enticing Enemies in an Uncertain World" in Schneider, G. and Weitsman, P. eds. Enforcing Cooperation (St. Martin's Press, 1997).


Additional items

* all revised issue papers will be sent to Simulation Control (SIMCON) on or before October 17.
* discuss conference dates and agenda items.



8. - 12. October 21- November 21

5 Classes in Total

1. During the simulation, students on terminal duty are responsible for collecting and filing (in the appropriate folders) all messages received and sent during that day. Please keep communiqués organized by date and time (most recent communiqués should be on top in each folder).

2. Members of specific policy groups should coordinate with the person(s) on terminal duty when sending messages to other country teams. Anyone can send a messages through Polnet as long as (a) the person on terminal duty is aware of (or has read) the communiqué being sent, and (b) at least two other members of the group have seen the final version of the communiqué in question.

3. Issue teams should send at least 6-8 significant messages (i.e., proposals, recommendations, offers, etc.) each week in preparation for upcoming conferences. Please refer to the schedule for conference dates and times. All teams will be evaluated on the number and quality of messages they send during the simulation.

4. There are no required readings during the simulation. Students are strongly encouraged to spend their time preparing for upcoming conferences by contacting their counterparts from other country teams. This is the only way to establish a strong position and to generate enough support (prior to the conferences) to get your team's proposals passed during on-line conferences.

5. Items on the agenda for all classes during the simulation:

* distribution of messages to appropriate groups for discussion
* updates from each group on Canadian policy and reactions
* discussion of problems and conflicts with other country teams (or SIMCON)
* conference updates and strategies
* assessment of overall progress and performance


13. November 28

Post Simulation Debriefing

Course summary and evaluations.

* Final drafts of Issues Papers due (revised in light of simulation)
* Individual Essay Due due December 5


 A. Format of Issue Papers (Group)

The issue brief will consist of no more than 500 pages. It should summarise the main points in the issue paper.
The issue paper is to be no longer than 5 pages. Students should use the list of agenda items for upcoming ICONS conferences as a guide when developing their respective proposals and recommendations.


B. Format of Presentations on Readings

Course readings will be presented in class by individuals. Critiques of the readings should be summarised on one page to be circulated among the students the Monday before each class. The summaries, as well as the presentation, should focus on the paper's argument, its assumptions, its substantive content and its implications for policy.


C. Format of Individual Essay

The individual paper should focus on the policy-relevant aspects of theory in one or more of the following ways: It may be diagnostic, whereby emphasis is placed on describing how/why things work. It may also take the form of a conditional generalization -- i.e., in situation X, if one does Y, one should expect Z. Finally, policy-relevant theory may be prescriptive, offering explicit recommendations to policy makers faced with certain kinds of problems. Students are encouraged to test a theory against the patterns and processes of cooperation and conflict encountered during the simulation. They may choose to do so within an issue area, by testing a theory's underlying assumptions about state behaviour or by comparing across different theories or issue areas. Students are strongly encouraged to update their working drafts during the simulation. The final draft should reflect the application of theory learned in the course to the practice of policy during the simulation.

A Title Page

A Statement of the Problem which identifies the major problem addressed and how it fits into international mediation

A Research Question which identifies the specific research questions associated with your paper

A Theoretical Framework


An Argument which is the substance of the paper

Conclusions which identify the findings of your research

A Bibliography which refers to materials actually used in your research paper


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