Fall 2012: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00-2:20 in Kauke 238


Professor Matthew Krain

Office: Kauke 104; x2469


Office Hours: Mondays 3-4pm; Wednesdays 1-2pm; Fridays 10-11am, and by appointment




The overarching goal of this course is to prepare students to engage in advanced study and do research in international relations [IR] by providing them with a theoretical background in the field. Therefore, this course provides an overview of an array of theories of international relations, from the major debate of (neo)realism vs. (neo)liberalism to the more recent challenge to rationalist explanations by constructivism, to more "radical" challengers such as (neo)Marxism, and feminist IR theory. We will also examine contending theoretical approaches to some key issues in IR. Through in-depth discussion and a series of papers and exams, students will explore, compare and debate the merits and utility of theories.



By the end of the course, students should be able to:

- understand the differences between and among various meta-theoretical perspectives in IR, and understand the assumptions upon which they are founded

- understand how IR scholars use meta-theoretical "schools of thought" to develop issue-specific or phenomenon-specific theoretical arguments

- critically read and analyze theoretical arguments in IR scholarship

- identify authors' underlying theoretical assumptions

- develop expectations (hypotheses) regarding the real world, given theoretical arguments



Throughout the course we will use the following books:


- [VK] Paul R. Viotti and Mark V. Kauppi (2011), International Relations Theory, Fifth Edition. Longman Publishers. ISBN: 978-0-205-08293-3.


- [MS] Karen Mingst and Jack Snyder (2011). Essential Readings in World Politics. Fourth Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN: 978-0-393-14423-9.


- American Political Science Association (2006). The Style Manual for Political Science. Washington, DC: American Political Science Association. [OR see for a summary of the key guidelines]


Supplementary readings will be available on-line via our class web page ( or will placed on electronic reserve through the library (, password = "theories").


Finally, you are expected to keep up with news around the world. This will require you to get your news from multiple reputable sources that have substantial global coverage. Two particularly noteworthy and reliable sources that you can access online are The New York Times at and the BBC World Service at


All readings MUST be completed by the class session for which they are assigned. They will be necessary background for lectures and discussion, and you will be held responsible for them, in class and on exams.



The grades will be assigned as follows:           


20% - Exam #1 (Midterm)                            

20% - Exam #2 (Final)

10% - Paper #1 (Article Review)

25% - Paper #2 (Literature Review/Theory Paper)

25% - Participation & Professionalism



This class will have two examinations, each in-class exams, each worth 20% of the final class grade. The September 27th midterm will be during our normal class time that day. The final exam will be from 2-5pm on December 12th. CHEATING, PLAGIARISM OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, AND WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC FAILURE FOR THE COURSE!



This class will have two papers. The first is an article/book review, due at the beginning of class on October 25th. Students will present their articles on either October 25th or October 30th. Each student will choose an article or book from a list distributed by the instructor. They must then complete a concise, clear, critical review of no more than 750 words. We will discuss the articles reviewed in class on the due date. This paper is worth 10% of your overall class grade.


You will also be responsible for a larger (approximately 13-18 pages) "literature review/theory" paper, due at the beginning of class on November 27th. This paper provides students with an opportunity to more closely explore one particular theoretical question of interest, and the way in which authors from different theoretical perspectives have approached that question. Students will choose their topic in consultation with the instructor. Papers should address the nature of the problem/puzzle, discuss and evaluate the theoretical arguments involved, and develop a testable hypothesis of one's own. Possible topics will be discussed in class. All papers must be formatted using the APSA Style Manual. Further details will be distributed and/or discussed by the instructor in class. This paper is worth 25% of your overall class grade. REMINDER: CHEATING OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, AND WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC FAILURE FOR THE COURSE!



Participation is encouraged and REQUIRED in this class. Your participation is essential to the smooth and efficient running of the class. The intention is to run the class as an advanced seminar, where students will engage in an open dialogue based on the readings assigned for that day. Thus, students are required to have completed the assigned readings before class and to participate in discussions on a regular basis. Failure to be properly prepared or a lack of quality and fully engaged discussion will result in a significant reduction in the class grade (and overall class quality). My hope is that the classroom will contain an atmosphere in which ideas and opinions will be welcomed and addressed. As such, please note that you will be graded on a number of criteria beyond simple participation, under the rubric of "professionalism". Professionalism refers to factors such as attendance, promptness, courtesy, constructive contributions to class dialogue, respect for other class members' contributions, overall improvement, and other intangibles, to be evaluated and assigned at the discretion of the instructor.


As part of your participation, you will be required to submit by email at least ONE discussion question per week regarding the readings to be discussed that week. You may focus your discussion question(s) on readings from either the first or second class session of that week, but must submit questions for at least ONE CLASS SESSION PER WEEK over the course of the semester. Questions are to be emailed to the instructor and to the class as a whole via a class LISTSERV. More details about this element of your class participation will be discussed by the instructor in class.



Note #1: Please turn off cell phones and other electronic devices before class begins as a courtesy to others. If you bring a laptop computer or tablet device to class, it should be used for note-taking only. Please also refrain from recording any part of the course in any manner other than via written or typed class notes, unless explicitly approved by the instructor.


Note #2: Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Any missed assignment or unexcused exam absence is subject to an automatic failing grade for the course (in other words, you cannot pass the class unless you do all of the work!). Late written assignments will be graded down one full letter grade for each day late. A paper handed in five minutes after the deadline is considered a day late. If you anticipate missing an exam or a paper deadline, consult with the instructor as soon as possible.


Note #3: Students are encouraged to study together and assist one another in learning the material. It is assumed that you have done your own work, and that you conduct yourself according to the expectations laid out in the Wooster Ethic and the Code of Academic Integrity, as enumerated in the Scot's Key ( Students are reminded that they are obliged to understand, to uphold, and to comply with the Code of Academic Integrity and the Wooster Ethic at the College of Wooster. Students who have questions or concerns about these policies (after having read them again) should make an appointment to see me to discuss them; indeed, I welcome this discussion and encourage students to see me in advance of any assignment about which they have doubts or questions. PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY VIOLATION OF THE WOOSTER ETHIC AND/OR THE CODE OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY MEANS THE STUDENT'S IMMEDIATE FAILURE IN THE COURSE, AS WELL AS POSSIBLE SUBSEQUENT ACADEMIC DISCIPLINARY ACTION.


Note #4: Students are encouraged to discuss assignments with me during office hours. However, students seeking to change their grade on an assignment or essay portion of an exam should be advised that I reserve the right to alter your grade in either direction (i.e.- if new problems are found during the re-grade the grade would go down).


Note #5: I am happy to assist you in any way, but cannot do so retroactively. Thus, it is your responsibility to inform me ahead of time about factors that are likely to interfere with your performance in the class. Measures for students with disabilities, non-native writers of English and other special issues will be taken in compliance with the college's policies.






I. Introduction to the Study of Theories of International Relations


Aug. 28 – Introduction to Theories of International Relations

- Chapter 1: Thinking About IR Theory [VK: 1-18]

- Jack Snyder, "One World, Rival Theories" [MS: 2-10]


Aug. 30 – Theories, Images, Hypotheses, and International Relations

- James Rosenau, "Thinking Theory Thoroughly" [VK: 19-26]

- Kenneth Waltz (1979). "Laws and Theories," Chapter 1 in Theory of International Politics. New York: McGraw-Hill (1-17). [E-Reserve]

- Stephen Van Evera (1997). Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Chapter 1. [E-Reserve]


Sept. 4 – Thinking Theoretically, with a Focus on Levels of Analysis

- Kenneth Waltz, "Explaining War: The Levels of Analysis" [VK: 96-109]

- Robert Putnam (1988). "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games," International Organization 42, 3: 427-460.


II. Conventional Theoretical Approaches: Realism vs. Liberalism


Sept. 6 – The Theoretical Roots of Classical Realism

- Chapter 2: Realism: The State and Balance of Power [VK: 39-82]

- Thucydides, "The Melian Dialogue" [VK: 83-87]

- Niccolo Machiavelli, "On Princes and the Security of Their States" [VK: 88-90]

- Thomas Hobbes, "Of the Natural Condition of Mankind" [VK: 90-93]

- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "The State of War: Confederation as a Means to Peace in Europe" [VK 93-96]

- Carl von Clausewitz, "War as an Instrument of Policy" [MS: 322-326].


Sept. 11 – Classical Realism During and After the Cold War

- Hans Morgenthau, "The Balance of Power," "Different Methods of the Balance of Power," and "Evaluation of the Balance of Power" [MS: 99-104]

- Thomas C. Schelling, "The Diplomacy of Violence" [MS: 326-334]

- John Mearsheimer, "Anarchy and the Struggle for Power" [MS: 31-50]

- James D. Fearon, "Rationalist Explanations for War" [MS: 349-374]                  


Sept. 13 – Neorealism

- Robert Gilpin, "War and Change in World Politics" In VK (1999) 3rd Ed., pp. 145-153. [E-Reserve]

- Robert O. Keohane, "Theory of World Politics: Structural Realism and Beyond" In VK (1999) 3rd Ed.,  pp. 153-183. [E-Reserve]

- Paul Huth, Christopher Gelpi and D. Scott Bennett (1993). "The Escalation of Great Power Militarized Disputes: Testing Rational Deterrence Theory and Structural Realism." American Political Science Review 87, 3: 609-623.


Sept. 18 – Idealism / Liberalism

- Chapter 3: Liberalism: Interdependence and Global Governance [VK: 129-137; 161-166]

- Immanuel Kant, "To Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch" [MS: 12-15]

- Woodrow Wilson, "The Fourteen Points" [MS: 17-19]

- Michael Doyle, "Liberalism and World Politics" [MS: 50-64]


Sept. 20 – Neoliberalism

- Chapter 3: Liberalism: Interdependence and Global Governance [VK: 137-161]

- Robert O. Keohane, "From After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy" [MS: 292-307]


Sept. 25 – "The English School" of IR Theory: Law and Order in International Relations

- Chapter 5: The English School: International Society and Grotian Rationalism [VK 239-253]

- Hugo Grotius, "The Law of Nations on War, Peace and Freedom of the Seas" [VK: 254-260]

- Hedley Bull, "Does Order Exist in World Politics?" [VK: 267-269]

- Dale Copeland (2003). "A Realist Critique of the English School," Review of International Studies 29, 3: 427-441.




III. Some Theoretical Alternatives to (Neo)Realism and (Neo)Liberalism


Oct. 2 – Review Exam #1; Discuss Paper #1; Discussion Ahead of Film Viewing

- Graham T. Allison (1969). "Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis" American Political Science Review 63, 3: 689-718.

* * * WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 3rd at 7:00pm in KAUKE 244: FILM – THIRTEEN DAYS * * *


Oct. 4 – Theories of Foreign Policy and Decision Making

- Review: Allison (1969) and Putnam (1988)


Oct. 9 – Constructivism

- Chapter 6: Constructivist Understandings [VK 277-301]

- Alexander Wendt, "Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics" [MS: 64-88]

- Martha Finnemore, "Constructing Norms of Humanitarian Intervention" [VK: 309-316]


Oct. 11 – Hybrid Conceptions of Power and the Use of Force

- Joseph S. Nye, Jr., "Hard and Soft Power in American Foreign Policy" [VK 109-117]

- Anne-Marie Slaughter (2011). "A New Theory for the Foreign Policy Frontier: Collaborative Power" The Atlantic November 30, 2011.

- David Kilcullen, "From The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One" [MS 416-444]




Oct. 18 – Marxism, Neo-Marxism, Post-Colonialism

- Chapter 4: Economic Structuralism: Global Capitalism and Postcolonialism [VK: 189-218]

- J. A. Hobson, "The Economic Taproot of Imperialism" [VK 219-222]

- Barbara Bush, "Culture and Imperialism" [VK 222-226]

- Immanuel Wallerstein, "Modern World System as a Capitalist World-Economy" [VK: 227-233]


Oct. 23 – Feminist IR Theory

- Chapter 8: Feminist Understandings in IR Theory [VK 360-370]

- J. Ann Tickner, "Man, the State, & War: Gendered Perspectives on National Security" [MS: 89-97]

- J. Ann Tickner, "Why Women Can't Rule the World: International Politics According to Francis Fukuyama" [VK: 380-385]

- R. Charli Carpenter (2005). "Women, Children and Other Vulnerable Groups": Gender, Strategic Frames and the Protection of Civilians as a Transnational Issue" International Studies Quarterly, 49, 2: 295-334.


Oct. 25, 30 – Discussion of Article Reviews [ARTICLE REVIEW PAPERS due 10/25]


Nov. 1 – Writing Literature Reviews & Developing a Theoretical Argument

- Knopf, Jeffrey W. (2006). "Doing a Literature Review" PS: Political Science and Politics 39, 1: 127-132.

- Dursun Peksen (2009). "Better or Worse? The Effect of Economic Sanctions on Human Rights," Journal of Peace Research, 46, 1: 59-77.

- Timothy Peterson and A. Cooper Drury (2011). "Sanctioning Violence: The Effect of Third-Party Economic Coercion on Militarized Conflict," Journal of Conflict Resolution 55, 4: 580-605.


IV. Competing Perspectives on Key Issues in International Relations


Nov. 6 – The Responsibility to Protect? Peacekeeping and Intervention Against Atrocities

- Virginia Paige Fortna, "From Does Peacekeeping Work?" [MS 224-232]

- Margaret E. Keck & Kathryn Sikkink, "Transnational Advocacy Networks in International Politics" & "Human Rights Advocacy Networks in Latin America" [MS: 253-264]

- Martha Finnemore, "From The Purpose of Intervention: Changing Beliefs about the Use of Force" [MS 459-483]


Nov. 8 – The Pathologies of Humanitarianism: Bureaucrats, Bystanders and Hazards

- Samantha Power, "Bystanders to Genocide: Why the United States Let the Rwandan Tragedy Happen" [MS: 233-253]

- William Easterley, "The Healers: Triumph and Tragedy" [MS 575-592]

- Alan J. Kuperman (2004). "Humanitarian Hazard: Revisiting Doctrines of Intervention," Harvard International Review, 26, 1: 64-68.

- Philip Gourevitch (2010). "Alms Dealers: Can You Provide Humanitarian Aid Without Facilitating Conflict?" The New Yorker. October 11, 2010, pp. 102-109.


Nov. 13 – Understanding Communal Conflict

- Barry Posen (1993) "The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict" Survival. 35,1: 27-47. 

- Anthony Oberschall (2000). "The Manipulation of Ethnicity: From Ethnic Cooperation to Violence and War in Yugoslavia." Ethnic and Racial Studies, 23, 6: 982-1001.

- Bass, Gary J. (2006). "What Really Causes Civil War?" New York Times Magazine. August 13, 2006.


Nov. 15 – Terrorism

- Andrew H. Kydd and Barbara F. Walter. "The Strategies of Terrorism" [MS 392-415]

- Michael Stohl (2008). "Old Myths, New Fantasies and the Enduring Realities of Terrorism" Critical Studies in Terrorism, 1, 1: 5-16.  

- M. Zaldi (2011). "Few Gains for Terrorists" Dawn. May 23, 2011.


Nov. 20 – Out of Bounds?: Rogue States and Transnational Terrorist Networks

- Barak Mendelsohn (2005). "Sovereignty Under Attack: The International Society Meets the Al Qaeda Network" Review of International Studies. 31,1: 45-68.

- Elizabeth N. Saunders (2006). Setting Boundaries: Can International Society Exclude ‘Rogue States'?" International Studies Review 8: 23-53.




Nov. 27 – International Political Economy – LIT. REVIEW/THEORY PAPERS DUE

- James Fallows (1993). "How the World Works," Atlantic Monthly. December 1993.   

- V. Spike Peterson (2010). "International/Global Political Economy," Chapter 15 in Gender Matters in Global Politics, Edited by Laura J. Shepard. London: Routledge (pp. 204-217). [E-Reserve]


Nov. 29 – International Governmental Institutions and Global Governance

- John Mearsheimer, "The False Promise of International Institutions" [MS: 308-319]

- Craig Murphy, "International Organization and Industrial Change" In VK (1999) 3rd Edition, pp. 383-396. [E-Reserve]

- Michael N. Barnett and Martha Finnemore (1999). "The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations" International Organization. 53,4: 699-732.


Oct. 4 – Is There a Role of Ethics and Morality in IR Theory?

- Chapter 9: Normative IR Theory: Ethics and Morality [VK 391-414]

- Immanuel Kant, "Morality, Politics, and Perpetual Peace" [VK 415-420]

- E. H. Carr, "The Nature of Politics" [VK 421-424]

- John Rawls, "The Law of Peoples" [VK 425-430]


Dec. 6 – Should International Relations Theory Have Practical Applications?

- Barack Obama, "On War and Peace – The Nobel Prize Speech" [VK 430-436]

- Joseph S. Nye, Jr. (1998). "Theory and Practice in International Relations," Interview with Harry Kreisler, Conversations with History, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley. April 8, 1998.

- Stephen Walt (2005). "The Relationship Between Theory and Policy in International Relations" Annual Review of Political Science 8,1: 23-48.


Dec. 12 FINAL EXAM: 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.