International Politics Lab
Professor: Livio di Lonardo
In this course, we aim to provide students with an introduction to the
study of international politics. The course includes eight lectures, a project
(more details on this to be offered in class) and a company visit.
The lectures are grouped in three parts. In the first part, we examine analytical tools to understand and explain international politics. We analyze how the interests and power of political leaders translate into foreign policies. We also discuss the main problems and challenges in international politics referring and using current examples such as the North Korea crisis or the Syrian civil war.
In the second part, we examine the reasons for conflict between states (e.g. interstate wars) and between states and non-state actors (e.g. terrorism). Here are a few questions we will tackle: Why do political leaders decide to go to war? How do they deter rivals or enemies from taking damaging actions? Why do groups use terrorism? How do we counter this tactic?
In the third part, we will focus on foreign aid and international trade. We look at why foreign aid has not succeeded in curbing poverty around the world, we examine the winners or losers of international trade, and discuss central concepts such as comparative advantage and trade barriers. In addition, we cover the role and function of the World Trade Organization and the settlement of international trade disputes.
Students will be required to actively participate in the class. They will learn the strategic approach to international politics. Students will also strengthen their analytical skills, public speaking skills, teamwork skills.
Prerequisites: No knowledge of economics or politics is necessary to attend this course. Students are expected to have basic knowledge in analytical thinking. The course is highly interactive and we expect students who are genuinely interested in designing and implementing public policy. This involves economic thinking and political persuasion.
Assessment: Friendly qualitative feedback will be given based on the individual class participation and final presentations by small groups.
Recommended Reading: I recommend the following two (very good, but rather expensive) introductory books
- Bueno de Mesquita, B. (2013) Principles of International Politics. Washington: CQ Press.
- Frieden JA, Lake, DA and Schultz, KA. (2013) World Politics. New York: Norton.
The course is an introduction to our university’s interactive and hands-on approach to teaching the BSc in International Politics and Government.