Th, 6:30-9:10                                                                                                       POLS 580T

Office Hours:                                                                                                          Fall 2006

Zulauf 103; 753 7042,



Theories of International Relations



This course provides a selective survey of the literature and concepts in the international relations field.  It aims to prepare students for more advanced study and research, as well as the candidacy examination (for doctoral students.)  The course should help students become able to participate in policy and scholarly discussions on international relations issues with fellow professionals.


Assigned and recommended readings will be available from the library’s e-reserves. 


Students may want to become familiar with the department’s webpage which has curricular information, course syllabi, as well as useful information about possible careers and other matters.


NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that mandates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.  If you have a disability, contact me early in the semester so that I can help to address your needs.  You will to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on campus on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303.)





-Contributions to class discussions (30%)

-Assigned class presentation (eight minutes each; 20%)

(one presentation of class reading(s); one effort to explain or interpret contemporary developments in light of theoretical frameworks introduced in class)

-Hard copy of final take-home exam due in Political Science Department by 4 p.m.,  Tuesday December 12th (50%)


Presentations of readings should very briefly review and assess the author(s)’s arguments, the appropriateness of the analytical approaches employed, and should place the readings in their theoretical context.



Schedule of meetings and readings



August 31, Overview of the course and international relations theory


September 7, History and international relations theory



-Marcus Fischer, “Feudal Europe, 800-1300: Communal Discourse and Conflictual Practices,” International Organization, 46, Spring 1992, pp.426-66

-E.H. Carr, The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations, 2nd edition (New York: Harper and Row, 1954) pp.1-21

-Joao M. de Almeida, “Challenging Realism by Returning to History: The British Committee’s Contribution to IR 40 Years On,” International Relations, 17:3, 2003         

-Nicholas Greenwood Onuf, The Republican Legacy in International Thought (Cambridge, 1998) pp.1-28

-Alex J. Bellamy, “Introduction,” in A.J. Bellamy, ed. International Society and its Critics (Oxford, 2005) pp.1-12


Recommended readings:

-Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital and European States, AD 990-1992 (Blackwell, 1992), pp.1-37

-Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society (Columbia University Press, 1977) pp.3-76

-Paul Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neorealist Thought,” International Security, 19:1, Summer 1994, pp.108-48


September 14, Classical realism (class meeting to be rescheduled)



-Thucydides, “The Melian Dialogue,” in Richard Betts, Conflict After the Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1994) pp.66-71

-Laurie Johnson Bagby, “The Use and Abuse of Thucydides,” International Organization, 48, Winter 1994, pp.131-53

-Michael Doyle, “Thucydidean Realism,” Review of International Studies, 16, July 1990, pp.223-237

-Michael Williams, “Hobbes and International Relations: A Reconsideration,” International Organization, 50:2, Spring 1996, pp.213-36


Recommended readings:

-Peter J. Ahrensdorf, “Thucydides: Realistic Critique of Realism,” Polity, 30:2, Winter 1997, pp.231-

-Daniel Harst, “Thucydides and Neo-Realism,” International Studies Quarterly, 33, March 1989, pp.3-28

-Steven Forde, “International Realism and the Science of Politics: Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Neorealism,” International Studies Quarterly, 39:2, June 1995, pp.141-60





September 21, Levels of analysis in international relations theory



-Andrew Linklater, The Transformation of Political Community (Polity Press, 1998) pp.14-45

-J. David Singer, “The Level of Analysis Problem in International Relations,” in G. John Ikenberry, ed., American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays (1989), pp.67-78

-Alexander Wendt, “The Agent-Structure Problem in International Relations Theory,” International Organization, 41, Summer 1987, pp.335-70

-Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State and War (Columbia University Press, 1965) pp.3-15, 42-79

-Barry Buzan, From International to World Society?  English School Theory and the Social Structure of Globalization (Cambridge, 2004) pp.6-26



September 28, Realism: variations on a theme



-Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison Wesley, 1979) 79-128

-John G. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (W.W. Norton and Co., 2001) pp.14-22, 29-54

-Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace 4th edition (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967) pp.3-14, 25-29, 161-71

-Jeffry Legro and Andrew Moravcsik, “Is Anbody Still a Realist?” International Security, 24, February 1999

-Richard Ned Lebow, “The Long Peace, the End of the Cold War, and the Failure of Realism,” International Organization, 48:2, Spring 1994, pp.249-77


Recommended readings:

-Robert Jervis, “Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics, January 1978, pp.167-214

-Randall Schweller, “Neorealism’s Status Quo Bias: What Security Dilemma?” Security Studies, 3, pp.90-121



October 5, Liberalism and the Democratic Peace



-Mark Zacher and Richard Matthew, “Liberal International Theory: Common Threads, Divergent Strands,” in Charles Kegley, ed., Controversies in International Relations Theory (St. Martin’s Press, 1995), pp.107-50

-Michael Brown, Sean Lynn-Jones, and Steven Miller, eds., Debating the Democratic Peace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999)

>Russett pp.337-50, Layne pp.157-201, Spiro pp.351-54,

-Michael Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics,” American Political Science Review, 80, 1986, pp.1151-69


Recommended readings:

-Michael Brown, Sean Lynn-Jones, and Steven Miller, eds., Debating the Democratic Peace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999)

      >Doyle pp.3-57, Russett pp.58-81, Oren pp.263-73

-Anne-Marie Slaughter, A New World Order (Princeton)



October 12, Neo-liberal institutionalism



-Robert Powell, “Absolute and Relative Gains in International Relations Theory,” American Political ScienceReview, 85:4, 1991, pp.1303-20

-Robert Powell, “Anarchy in International Relations Theory: the Neorealist-Neoliberal Debate,” International Organization, 48:2, Spring 1994, pp.313-44

-Friedrich Kratochwil and John Ruggie, “International Organization: A State of the Art on the Art of the State,” International Organization,

-Robert Jackson, Classical and Modern Thought on International Relations (Palgrave, 2005) pp.1-16


Recommended readings:

-Robert Jervis, “Realism, Neoliberalism, and Cooperation: Understanding the Debate,” International Security, Summer 1999

-John Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Organization, 19:3, Winter 1994/1995.  Responses, Summer 1995, pp.39-93



October 19, Constructivism



-John Gerard Ruggie, “What Makes the World Hang Together? Neo-Utilitarianism and the Social Constructivist Challenge,” International Organization 52:4, Autumn 1998, pp.855-85

-Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy is What States Make of It,” International Organization, 46, Spring 1992, pp.391-426

-Yosef Lapid, “The Third Debate: On the Prospects of International theory in a Post-Positivist Era,” International Studies Quarterly, 33, 1989, pp.235-54

-Jacinta O’Hagan, “The Question of Culture,” in Bellamy, ed. International Society, pp.209-28


Recommended readings:

-Jack L. Snyder, “Anarchy and Culture: Insights from the Anthropology of War,” International Organization, 56:1, Winter 2002

-Jeffrey Checkel, “The Constuctivist Turn in International Relations Theory,” World Politics, January 1998, pp.324-48

-Jim George, “Realist ‘Ethics’, International Relations, and Post-modernism: Thinking Beyond the Egoism-Anarchy Thematic,” Millennium, 24:2, Summer 1995, pp.195-223

-James Lee Ray, “The Abolition of Slavery and the End of International War,” International Organization, 43, 1989, pp.405-39



October 26, Rationalist approaches



-Robert Powell, “Bargaining Theory and International Conflict,” American Review of Political Science, 5, 2002, pp.1-30

-James Fearon, “Rationalist Explanations for War,” International Organization, 49:3, Summer 1995, pp.379-414

-Stephen Walt, “Rigor or Rigor Mortis?  Rational Choice and Security Studies,” International Security, Spring 1999

            >commentaries and responses in International Security, Fall 1999

Recommended readings:

-Jack L. Goldsmith and Eric A. Posner, The Limits of International Law (Oxford)



November 2, Class, gender, networks: alternative lenses for understanding international politics



-Thomas Risse and Kathryn Sikkink, “The socialization of international human rights norms into domestic practices: introduction,” in Thomas Risse,  , and Kathryn Sikkink, eds. The Power of Human Rights (Cambridge, 1999)  pp.1-38

-Richard M. Price, “Transnational Civil Society and Advocacy in World Politics,” World Politics, 55:4, July 2003

-Michael Gordon, “Domestic Conflict and the Origins of World War I: the British and German Cases,” Journal of Modern History, 1974, pp.191-226

Recommended readings:

-Carol Cohn, “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals,” Signs, 12:4, 1987, pp.687-718

-J. Ann Tickner, “You Just Don’t Understand: Troubled Engagements Between Feminists and IR Theorists,” International Studies Quarterly, 41, December, pp.611-32

-Martha Finnemore and Stephen Toope, “Alternatives to ‘Legalization’: Richer Views of Law and Politics, International Organization, 55, 2001, pp.743-58







November 9, Applied analysis: East Asian security



-Mel Gurtov, “American crusades,” Confronting the Bush Doctrine (Routledge 2003) pp.1-38

-Amitav Acharya, “Will Asia’s Past Be Its Future?” International Security 28:3, Winter 2003/2004

-David C. Kang, “Hierarchy, Balancing, and Empirical Puzzles in Asian International Relations,” International Security, 28:3, Winter 2003/2004

-Peter J. Katzenstein and Nobuo Okawara, “Japan, Asian-Pacific Security, and the Case for Analytical Eclecticism,” International Security, 26:3, Winter 2001/2002

-Lowell Dittmer, “East Asia in the ‘New Era’ in World Politics,” World Politics, 55:1, October 2002



Novermber 16, International Political Economy



-John Gerard Ruggie, “International Regimes, Transactions and Change: Embedded Liberalism in the Postwar Economic Order,” International Organization, 36, 1982, pp.379-415

-Dani Rodrik, Has Globalization Gone Too Far? (Washington, D.C.: Institute of International Economics, 1997) pp.1-10, 69-85

-Layna Mosley, Global Capital and National Governments (Cambridge, 2003) pp.1-20

-Richard Falk, “(Re)Imagining the Governance of Globalization,” in Bellamy, International Society, pp.195-208

-Barry Buzan, From International to World Society, pp.27-62, 245-49



November 30, U.S. Primacy



-The White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington, D.C., 2002)

-William Wohlforth, “The Stability of a Unipolar World,” International Security, 24:1, Summer 1999

-Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment Revisited,” The National Interest, Winter 2002,2003

-Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire (Metropolitan Books, 2004) pp.1-37

-Robert Kagan, “Power and Weakness,” Policy Review, 113, June/July 2002, pp.3-28

-Robert J. Art, A Grand Strategy for America (Cornell University Press, 2003) pp.223-48


Recommended readings:

-Emmanuel Todd, After the Empire (Columbia University Press)

-Charles Krauthammer, “Democratic Realism: An American Foreign Policy for a Unipolar World,” 2004 Irving Kristol Lecture,

-Niall Ferguson, Colossus (Penguin, 2004) pp.286-302

-Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Choice (Basic Books) pp.213-30



December 7, Rethinking Sovereignty



-Tony Smith, “In Defense of Intervention,” Foreign Affairs, 73, 1994, pp.34-46

-Francis Fukuyama, “Nation-Building 101,” The Atlantic Monthly, January 20, 2004

-P.Q. Hirst, “Another Century of Conflict? War and the International System in the 21st Century,” International Relations, 16:3, 2002, pp.327-42

-International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect (Ottawa: International Development Research Corporation, 2001)

-Robert Jackson, The Global Covenant (Oxford, 2000) pp.294-315

-Richard Devetak, “Violence, Order, and Terror,” in Bellamy, International Society and its Critics, pp.242-46


Recommended readings:

-Audrey Kurth Cronin, “Rethinking Sovereignty in the Age of Terror,” Survival, 44:2, Summer 2002, pp.119-39

-Mark Zacher, “The Territorial Integrity Norm,” International Organization, 55:2, Spring 2001, pp.215-50

-Francis Fukuyama, State Building and World Order (Cornell University Press, 2004) pp.1-42, 92-118

-Joel Krieger, Globalization and State Power (Pearson Longman, 2005) pp.114-33