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Core 180: American Foreign Policy: Then and Now - Spring 2013

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to fundamental changes in American foreign policy from the Cold War to the present period. Toward this end, the course offers students a way to apply historical, political, economic, geographic, cultural and other relevant social science perspectives to a study of American foreign policy. The course has three sections. The first section examines the basic principles of American foreign policy in the post-World War II period. A discussion of American approaches to foreign policy during the Cold War years includes a systematic study of America’s relationship with the former Soviet Union, the application of American strategic concepts such as the Truman Doctrine, Containment, Détente, its quest for nuclear parity and the development of military doctrines such as Flexible Response and Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Korea and Vietnam are used as the dominant case studies to examine the nature of American military strategy and diplomacy in this period. The second section of the course reflects upon shifts in American foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. This section studies the American policy of humanitarian intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Somalia, during the Clinton years. The third and final section examines American foreign policy in the post-9/11 period. Faced with a new type of enemy (the rise of radical terrorist organizations), American foreign policy has experienced yet another significant shift in the last decade. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq provide the context to assess American foreign policy in this period. Both cases focus on political and diplomatic challenges confronting American efforts to build and sustain democracy, freedom, and the rule of law in unstable regimes.

Required textbook for this course

Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas G. Brinkley, Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 (New York: Penguin, 2011)

In addition to the basic text, there will be a set of additional readings that deal with the various social, economic, historical and political foundations of American foreign policy. These readings will be made available either in class or online via King’s library resource.


PS 429: International Relations Theory - Fall 2011; Fall 2012 

This is an introductory course in International Relations that equips students with a basic understanding of some of the most fundamental concepts and theories in the study of international politics. International Relations is primarily concerned with the study of states and state behavior in the international system. How do states interact? Why do some states fight each other while others do not? Why do states seek to pursue power? Do international institutions help in preventing states from aggressive posturing? These are just some of the very preliminary questions at the core of understanding state behavior at the international level. As part of this course, students will be introduced to dominant theories in the discipline with the objective of applying the theories to an understanding of relevant cases in human security, globalization, and terrorism.

Course Requirements  

Required Textbook for the Course: Robert Art and Robert Jervis, International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues, Pearson-Longman Press, 2011.


PS 429: Critical Cases in American Foreign Policy: Vietnam and Iraq  - Fall 2010

Course Objectives

Today, as America continues to fight two wars abroad, the war in Iraq has raised a number of important questions not only for the conduct of war but also for the direction of American foreign policy in the future. Is Iraq another Vietnam? Or, are both cases completely different?

This course is an effort towards comparing two of the most protracted as well as controversial wars in American history. In examining parallels between Vietnam and Iraq as well as the differences between both cases, the course will offer insights into military, diplomatic and strategic policy undertaken during both wars. In addition, the implications of adopting specific strategies for American foreign policy will also be evaluated.  The discussion on Vietnam and Iraq will be set in the background of major debates in   American foreign policy during and after the Cold War.

Course Requirements

There  are two required textbooks for this course:

·         John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (Penguin, 2007).

·         Richard N. Haas, War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraqi Wars (Simon and Schuster, 2009).


PS 371: Research Methods in International Relations - Spring 2010, 2011, 2012 

Course Description and Objectives

As part of this course, students will be exposed to various methodologies in qualitative research. Students will be expected to apply the methods taught towards a research paper. The following are some of the basic strategies/techniques/ methods used in qualitative research which will be taught as part of this course.

·         Designing Case Studies

·         Executing Case Studies

·         Structured Focused Comparison

·         Context, Process and Theoretical Integration

·         Analysis

·         Controlled Comparison and Within-Case Analysis

·         Process Tracing

·         Congruence Method

·         Memos, Diagrams and Theoretical Sampling

·         Interviews

Course Requirements

There are two required textbooks for this course:

·         Alexander George and Andrew Bennett, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005).

·         Juliet Corbin and Anselm Strauss, Basics of Qualitative Research (LA: Sage Publishers, 2008).

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


PS 492: International Conflict - Fall 2009

Course Description

Why do wars occur? What makes some states prefer war to peaceful solutions? Can peace-building be achieved in ethnically-divided societies? These are some of the questions this course seeks to examine. Towards this end, the course is organized around three sections. The first section introduces students to core ideas critical to the study of conflict: power, security, and the distribution of military capabilities. In the second section, students are introduced to three cases: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. The merit of studying the three different cases is to discern whether significant comparisons can be made between each case and the type of lessons that can be drawn about the nature of such conflicts. While studying the three separate cases, students will also be exposed to decision-making processes at the domestic level. The final section of the course focuses on the importance of peace-building initiatives in ethnically- divided areas of the world such as Rwanda, Angola, Cambodia and Liberia. Since this course is designed for upper-division students of political science, a basic knowledge of theories in the discipline is essential. 

Course Requirements  

There are three required textbooks for this course:  

A number of additional readings are available in the form of a course packet which can be picked up from my office at Hafey 205.



PS 374: Politics of the United Nations (with Dr. Beth Admiraal ) - Spring 2009

Course Description

This class will examine the United Nations and all of its aspects, including its structure, history, politics and context. We will embark on a semester long quest to understand and critique the UN, assess its effectiveness as a collective security organization, and its value in providing basic rights and services. Other inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations will be examined, particularly as they relate to the UN.

In addition, we will prepare for a trip to the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference to be held in New York city from April 7-11. To accomplish this, we will spend time learning about the UN member state that we are supposed to represent - Iraq - and shall develop strategies for best representing this country at the NMUN Conference. Each student will be assigned a committee in the first week and will research the committee and the topics that the committee will pursue at the NMUN Conference. Students will then write position papers for each of their respective committees. Over the semester, students will also be assigned topics of debate and discussion to improve oral speaking and debating skills.

The Model United Nations Conference is the largest simulation of the UN around the world. On average, 4,000 delegates attend the conference, about half of them from outside the United States. The opening and closing ceremonies take place in the General Assembly Hall of the UN and many ambassadors to the UN are available for lectures and conversations.

Photograph of Student Delegation with Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, Hamid-Al-Bayati:




Core 158: Introduction to Political Science  - Spring 2009

Course Description

This course is designed for students who are being introduced to the discipline of Political Science for the first time. The course provides students with a survey of some of the most important sub-fields within the discipline of Political Science, namely, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations and American Government. Students are expected to pay close attention to significant debates on various issues within the sub-fields of Political Science. The objective of this course is to engage students in the current debates in Political Science, equip them with the necessary knowledge for pursuing upper division Political Science courses in the future, and produce thoughtful and well-informed students in the discipline.

Course Requirements  

There are two required textbooks for this course:  



Core 190R: Contemporary Global Issues - Fall 2009

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.

Course Requirements

There are two required textbooks for this course:  


Core 188: American Government  - Fall - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; Spring- 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Course Description

This course introduces students to the structure and functions of American government and the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. The course provides an overview of fundamental concepts in American government such as the American constitutional framework, federalism, separation of powers, civil rights and civil liberties and ties these concepts into current debates. It further examines the functioning of different institutions such as the Presidency, Congress and bureaucracy and provides a glimpse into the nature of party politics, campaigns and elections. A major section of the course examines the basic principles governing America’s foreign policy abroad with special emphasis on events post 9/11. The course seeks to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of American government, politics and foreign policy as we understand it today.

Course Requirements

Required Reading:

In addition to this basic text, there are a few additional readings which will be made available online via King’s library resource.