SEMINAR IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: REALISM
Dr. Y.K. Wang
Office: Zulauf 416
Office Hours: T & TH , and by appointment
This course introduces students to the realist paradigm of international relations. Topics include classical realism, structural realism, defensive realism, offensive realism, neoclassical realism, offense-defense theory, and balance of power. Additionally, we will also examine important issues such as the roles of sovereignty and morality in international politics.
This course encourages students to “think theoretically,” as theory is a useful tool to understand the complex world. At the completion of the course, students are expected to grasp the core arguments of various realist theories as well as their disagreements.
This is a seminar course. Students should actively participate in class discussion as this is an important part of the learning process. You are expected to complete all the reading and attend every class.
The following books should be available for purchase at the NIU Bookstore. For students with a limited budget, the books are also on 2-hour reserve at Founders Memorial Library. Items marked E-brary are available in e-Book format through the Library’s website at: http://www.niulib.niu.edu/books.cfm. Other required articles can be found on the course’s Blackboard website.
Stephen D. Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy.
John J. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.
Stephen M. The Origins of Alliances.
Kenneth. Theory of International Politics.
Michael. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations.
Grading will be based on:
Class Participation 15%
Three Oral Presentations 15%
Book Review 20%
Research Paper 50%
Class participation includes both attendance and discussion. Students should actively participate in class discussion as this is an important part of the learning process. I strongly encourage you to speak and share your thoughts and reactions to the materials covered in class. I will usually add points to your participation grade if you actively contribute to discussion.
During the semester, you will be assigned to do three oral presentations on the readings aimed to stimulate discussion. In your presentation, you should make connections between the readings, offer persuasive criticisms, analyze the methodology used, and raise questions for discussion. Do not simply summarize the readings; everybody is supposed to have read them! You should limit your presentation to ten minutes and distribute an outline beforehand. Your presentations will constitute 15% of your final grade.
For the book review (5-8 pages, double-spaced, size-12 font), you may select from the readings of this course. If you wish to review a book not listed on the syllabus, you must obtain approval from the instructor at least two weeks before the due date. In your essay, you should summarize the book’s main points and offer your own critique. Your summary should be no more than two pages. A good essay should go beyond the summary and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the book under review (e.g., methodology, credibility of sources, coherence of arguments, and structure). The essay is due in class on October 11. Ten percent of your essay grade will be deducted for each day the essay is late.
The research paper (20-25 pages, double-spaced, size-12 font) should be original. You must discuss the topic with me in advance and submit a one-page prospectus by November 1. The prospectus should include the central question, tentative argument, research method, and at leave five bibliographical sources. In addition, you are required to present your paper in one of the last two sessions of class and, depending on class size, serve as discussant for one or more papers of classmates. To give your classmates enough lead time, you must post a copy of your first draft on Blackboard by November 27. These presentations are designed to help you receive constructive feedback and strengthen your final paper. The revised paper is due in the department office on December 13 at 4 p.m. Ten percent of your paper grade will be deducted for each day the prospectus, first draft, or revised paper is late. This penalty is cumulative, so please submit your assignments on time.
Your final letter grades will be based on the following grading scale:
90% to 100% = A
80% to 89% = B
70% to 79% = C
60% to 69% = D
0% to 59% = F
1. Late Assignments. I will not accept late assignments unless under extreme circumstances. You must inform me as soon as possible before the assignment due date. Requests without prior notification and documented evidence will not be accepted.
Important Due Dates:
Book Review October 11
Prospectus November 1
First Draft November 27
Final Paper December 13
(Any changes will be announced in class or on Blackboard)
Week 1 APSA Conference (NO CLASS)
Week 2 Classical Realism
l Sean M. Lynn-Jones, “Realism and Security Studies,” in Craig A. Snyder, ed., Contemporary Security and Strategy (New York: Routledge, 1999): 53-76.
Donnelly, Realism and International
l Hans J. Morgenthau. Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. 5th ed. (New York: Knopf, 1985): chapters 1-3.
l Hans J. Morgenthau, Scientific Man vs. Power Politics. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1946): chapter 7.
Week 3 Structural Realism
l Waltz, Theory of International Politics, read entire book.
Week 4 Defensive Realism
l Snyder, Myths of Empire (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991): chapters 1-2.
l Charles L. Glaser, "Realists as Optimists: Cooperation as Self-Help," International Security 19, no. 3 (Winter 1994/95): 50-90.
l Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, "Security Seeking under Anarchy: Defensive Realism Revisited," International Security 25, no. 3 (Winter 2000/01): 128-61.
Week 5 Offense-Defense Theory
l Robert Jervis, "Cooperation under the Security Dilemma," World Politics 30, no. 2 (1978): 167-214.
l Sean M. Lynn-Jones, "Offense-Defense Theory and Its Critics," Security Studies 4, no. 4 (1995): 660-691.
l Stephen Van Evera, "Offense, Defense, and the Causes of War," International Security 22, no. 4 (Spring 1998): 5-43.
l Charles L. Glaser and Chaim Kaufmann, "What is the Offense-Defense Balance and How Can We Measure It?" International Security 22, no. 4 (Spring 1998): 44-82.
l Keir Lieber, “Grasping the Technological Peace: The Offense- Defense Balance and International Security,” International Security 25, no. 1 (Summer 2000): 71-104.
Week 6 Offensive Realism—I
l Randall L. Schweller, "Neorealism's Status-Quo Bias: What Security Dilemma?" Security Studies 5, no. 3 (Spring 1996): 90-121.
l Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, chapters 1-5.
l Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981).
Zakaria, From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of
Week 7 Offensive Realism—II
BOOK REVIEW DUE
l Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, chapters 6-10.
Layne, "The 'Poster Child for Offensive Realism':
Elman, "Extending Offensive Realism: The Louisiana Purchase and
Layne, The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the
Week 8 Bringing the State (and Individual) Back In
l Colin Elman, "Horses for Courses: Why Not Neorealist Theories of Foreign Policy?" Security Studies 6, no. 1 (Autumn 1996): 7-53.
l Kenneth Waltz, "International Politics Is Not Foreign Policy," Security Studies 6, no. 1 (Autumn 1996): 54-57.
L. Schweller, "Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the
l Gideon Rose, "Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy," World Politics 51, no. 1 (October 1998): 144-72.
A. Thayer, "Bringing in
Week 9 Balancing, Bandwagoning, and Buckpassing
l Walt, The Origins of Alliances, chaps. 1, 2, 5, 8.
l Re-read Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, chaps. 5, 8.
A. Vasquez and Colin Elman, eds. Realism and the Balancing of Power: A New
Week 10 Soft
One-page Prospectus Due
Robert A. Pape,
"Soft Balancing against the
T. V. Paul,
"Soft Balancing in the Age of
l Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth. "Hard Times for Soft Balancing." international Security 30, no. 1 (Summer 2005): 72-108.
l Kier A. Lieber and Gerard Alexander. "Waiting for Balancing: Why the World Is Not Pushing Back." International Security 30, no. 1 (Summer 2005): 109-139.
l Robert Art, et. al., “Correspondence: Striking the Balance,” International Security 30, no. 3 (Winter 2005/06): 177–196
John Ikenberry, ed.
Paul, James J. Wirtz, and Michel Fortmann, eds., Balance of Power: Theory
and Practice in the 21st Century (Stanford:
M. Walt, Taming American Power: The Global Response to
Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion
Revisited: The Coming End of the
l Barry R. Posen, "European Union Security and Defense Policy: Response to Unipolarity?" Security Studies 15, no. 2 (April-June 2006): 149-186
Week 11 Sovereignty
l Krasner, Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy, read entire book. (E-brary)
Week 12 Can Realism be Moral?
l Hans Morgenthau, “The Twilight of International Morality,” Ethics 58, no. 2 (January 1948): 79-99.
l Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, TBA.
l Michael C. Desch, “It is Kind to be Cruel: The Humanity of American Realism,” Review of International Studies 29 (2003): 415-426.
l Marc Trachtenberg, “The Question of Realism: A Historian’s View,” Security Studies 13, no. 1 (Autumn 2003): 156-194.
Michael C. Williams,
The Realist Tradition and the Limits of International Relations (
l Noel Malcolm, "What Hobbes Really Said," National Interest, no. 81 (Fall 2005): 122-128.
Week 13 Thanksgiving
November 27: First Draft Due on Blackboard
Week 14 Presentation and Discussion of Research Papers
Week 15 Presentation and Discussion of Research Papers
Week 16 Final Paper Due