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PS102-01-10 - Political Science 102 INTRODUCTION TO...

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Political Science 102: INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Spring 2009 Voorhees 105, Tuesdays and Fridays, 11:30 – 12:50 Professor Edward RHODES Hickman Hall 511 Telephone: 732-932-6875 Email: [email protected] Mr. Brian Cramer Mr. Tim Knievel Mr. Andrew Spath Office Hours: Friday, 2:30-3:30, or by appointment Why Study International Relations? These are exciting and troubling times to study global politics. The world has entered a period of dramatic and confusing change. Many of the institutions that shaped and regulated our world's political life are undergoing rapid evolution or decay, and new institutions are emerging equally quickly. Events such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon raise concerns about the violent nature of global politics -- even while the globalization of the world's economy accelerates and international cooperation to solve emerging global problems continues to increase. We are witnessing the profound but still uncertain transformation of a system of international politics that originally emerged in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in response to the collapse of medieval order. This "Westphalian system" of world politics, organized around sovereign states, evolved in the eighteenth century to cope with the rise of democracy and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to accommodate industrialization and the rise of nationalism. Today, however, another revolution appears to be in process. Armed with greater education, with new ways of defining their identity, and with new ways of viewing their world -- and empowered with new tools, like computers, the internet, and cellular telephones, for analyzing and sharing ideas and data -- individuals are finding new ways to organize and to achieve their goals. Many of these changes permit ordinary people to question authority and, for better or worse, to resist hierarchical institutions that attempt to control their behavior and impose order on political, economic, and social interaction. Paralleling this institutional shift is a transformation in the global agenda and in the meaning of "security." Issues like crime, disease, human rights, economic development, and environmental protection increasingly span national borders and compete for international attention along side more traditional issues like war and peace. And competing conceptions of identity -- along ethnic, gender, and cultural lines -- create new cleavages in global politics, vying with those based on citizenship or national identity. Thus in today's world, three sets of fundamental questions about global politics have simultaneously been reopened. First, questions of what "security" means and what institutions will be responsible for providing it -- questions that were resolved in the seventeenth century by the development of the "state" -- are again being debated. Second, the central political question of the eighteenth century -- how to create democratic political institutions that empower individuals and yet permit the achievement of collective purposes -- is back. And third, the question of "who we are" -- that is, the issue of identity --
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