Monday, February 08, 2016

Readings POLSC 4 — World Politics (Spring 2016)

Dr. Donald Douglas, Long Beach City College, Spring 2016
POLSC 4 World Politics – Take-Home Essay Assignment

Students are to write a 3-5 page essay, double spaced with 10- or 12-point font, stapled in the upper left-hand corner. The topic is for students to use international relations theory to analyze the recent Atlantic Monthly essay from Professor Graham Allison, “The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?” What is the Thucydides Trap? Where does this theory fit into the larger debates in international relations? Be specific. Professor Allison is a prestigious and long-time analyst of security issues, and he makes a very forceful argument on the likelihood of war between the U.S. and China? Do you agree with his predictions? Does his essay tap into any specific theories mentioned in our textbook by James M. Scott et al., IR? Discuss.

Further, use the following articles for the basis of your analysis: Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in the Twenty-first Century: China's Rise and the Fate of America's Global Position,” International Security (Winter 2015/16); Michael Beckley, "China's Century? Why America's Edge Will Endure," International Security (Winter 2011/12); Mark L. Haas, “A Geriatric Peace? The Future of U.S. Power in a World of Aging Populations,” International Security (Summer 2007); John Mearsheimer, “Can China Rise Peacefully?” National Interest (October 2014); and Salvatore Babones, “American Hegemony Is Here to Stay,” National Interest (June 2015).

(All readings are available online and will be posted at the class blog and announced in class.)

No other outside reading is necessary. That said, additional readings may be used, but only at the discretion of Professor Douglas (i.e., you’ll need advanced-approval for readings not included on this handout). The assignment is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Late papers are not accepted. Or, to be clear, it’s possible that I would accept a late paper in a genuine emergency, on the scale of personal hospitalization or the death of an immediate family member. A zero grade on the paper assignment will result in a “D” or “F” grade for the entire semester (depending on the student’s outstanding class average).

Note that according to college policy, a critical thinking (writing) project is a requirement for all GE transfer classes.

Now, here’s the thing: The assignment forces students to think theoretically. Sometimes immediate events appear of greater significance than they actually are relative to the long-term goals of American grand strategy. What do you think? Is the China threat that bad? Why or why not? What theories are most compelling here (or at least, most interesting and persuasive)?

Also, be sure to give concrete examples to back up your claims. That is, be specific and scholarly in your analysis. Do you think the U.S. has ceded power and influence to China? You don’t have to agree with any of the articles assigned in making an assessment, but be sure to elaborate your own perspective with reference to the major theoretical paradigms presented in class this semester.


Dr. Donald K. Douglas
Long Beach City College: Spring 2016
Office Location: T2361
Office Hours: M-W 10:25am-12:40pm; T 2:30-3:00pm
E-mail: ddouglas [at]

Course Outline and Reading Assignments:

I. The Study of World Politics

James M. Scott, Ralph G. Carter, and A. Cooper Drury, IR, 2nd. Ed (Boston: Wadsworth, 2016),
Chapter 1.
John Mearsheimer, "Structural Realism," in Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith, eds., International Relations Theories, 3rd ed. (2013).

II. Anarchy, States and Non-State Actors

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 2.
Jessica Mathews, “Power Shift,” Foreign Affairs (January/February 1997).

III. Liberalism and Realism

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 3.
Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, "Realism and Complex Interdependence," Chapter 2, in Power
and Interdependence, 3rd edition (2001).

 ************* Midterm Examination *************

IV. Alternative Perspectives on IR

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 4.
Alexander Wendt, "Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power    
Politics," International Organization (Spring 1992), especially pp. 391-395.
J. Ann Tickner, "Engendered Insecurities: Feminist Perspectives on International Relations," in
Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security (1992).

RECOMMENDED: Michelle Goldberg, "A Generation of Intellectuals Shaped by 2008 Crash Rescues Marx from History's Dustbin," The Tablet, October 14, 2013. And Alan Johnson, "The New Communism: Resurrecting the Utopian Delusion," World Affairs, May/June 2012.

Also, Francis Fukuyama, "U.S.-Soviet Interactions in the Third World" (RAND Corporation, 1985). And Fukuyama, "Women and the Evolution of World Politics," Foreign Affairs (September/October 1998). A free PDF version is here.

More, Anne Sisson Runyan and V. Spike Peterson, Global Gender Issues in the New Millennium (Westview, 2010). Read the introduction here.

And Laura Sjoberg, ed., Gender and International Security: Feminist Perspectives (Routledge, 2010).

Plus, Cynthia Weber, Queer International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2016). And Weber, "Why is there no Queer International Theory?," European Journal of International Relations (April 2014).

V. Understanding Conflict and War

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 5.

 ************* Midterm Examination ************

VI. International Conflict Management

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 6.
John Lewis Gaddis, "The Long Peace: Elements of Stability in the Postwar International  System,” International Security (Spring 1986).

VII. International Institutions and Security Cooperation

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 7.

VIII. Trade, Finance, and Economic Integration

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 8.
Helen Milner, "International Political Economy: Beyond Hegemonic Stability," Foreign Policy (Spring 1998).
Benjamin J. Cohen, "The Future of the Euro: Let's Get Real," Review of International Political Economy (2012).

************** Midterm Examination **************

IX. Economic Statecraft

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 9.
George A. Lopez and David Cortright, "Containing Iraq: Sanctions Worked," Foreign Affairs
(July/August 2004).

X. Political Economy and Development

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 10.
Andre Gunder Frank, "The Development of Underdevelopment," Monthly Review (September 1966).
David Dollar and Aart Kraay, "Spreading the Wealth," Foreign Affairs (January/February 2002).
Ruchir Sharma, "Broken BRICs: Why the Rest Stopped Rising," Foreign Affairs (November/December 2012).

XI. Human Rights

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 11.

************** Midterm Examination  *************

XII. The Global Environment

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 12.
Bjørn Lomborg, "Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now. The Club of Rome's Problem – and Ours," Foreign Affairs (July/August 2012).
Steven Hayward, "In Denial: The Meltdown of the Climate Campaign," Weekly Standard (2010).

XIII. Transitional Advocacy Networks

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 13.

XIV. The Future of World Politics

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 14.
Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993).
Der Spiegel, "Assaulting Democracy: The Deep Repercussions of the Charlie Hebdo Attack," January 9, 2015.

********** Final Examination ***********

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