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PS 124A: War!T, TH: 11-12:30, Hearst Annex A1Instructor: Ron Hassneremail: [email protected]ey.eduInstructor Office: 720 BarrowsOffice Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2-3:30, by appointment(To make an office hours appointment, please visit )War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Is this necessarily true? Wars are brutal andhorrific events, but are they all necessarily the result of miscalculation, accident orfanaticism? Can war serve a rational purpose? Are wars governed by rules and do statescare about these rules? Are some periods in history, particular parts of the world orcertain types of states, more war prone than others? What are tribal, ethnic, religious ornational groups actually fighting over? Can their conflicts be prevented, moderated orhalted? What can we do about terrorism and insurgencies? Have nuclear weaponschanged the face of modern war? How do nuclear weapons work anyway?This course seeks to answer these and other questions surrounding the phenomenon ofwar. We begin with a three-week survey of the history of war in the Western Hemisphereto examine the relationship between societies, the manner in which they fought and theweapons they used. We will then seek answers to the riddle of war from a variety ofdisciplines: What can soldiers, philosophers, economists, psychologists and sociologiststeach us about war?The core of the course seeks to introduce students to theories of war from withinInternational Relations theory. We will utilize in-class exercises, movies and discussionsections to get at some of the most challenging questions surrounding war. Finally, wewill examine several pressing issues relating to modern warfare: the proliferation ofweapons of mass destruction, civil wars, genocide, religiously motivated violence andterrorism. Students interested in enrolling should be prepared for a demanding class that will requireproactive involvement, mandatory attendance at weekly sections, three exams and severalwritten assignments. The class is also reading intensive: we will be reading three bookscover to cover as well as significant selections from a textbook and a course reader.This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate students. PS5 is a prerequisite forthis class. Students who have not taken PS5 will not be admitted to PS124, withoutexception, since PS124 assumes familiarity with IR theory. Please also note that the useof laptops and other electronic devices is not permitted in this class.1
Requirements and grading: I. Preparing for class and section: 10%.Due to time restrictions and implicit Berkeleypolicy, we will not be participating in war during this course. Therefore, our main sourceof information, aside from lectures, is the written word. Four required texts for thiscourse are available at the book store. They are:1. Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels(New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2003).