io_syllabus_usc 2009 (1)

io_syllabus_usc 2009 (1) - IR 306 International...

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IR 306 International Organizations Professor Brian Rathbun Fall 2009 TuTh 12:30-1:50 This course is an introduction to the topic of international organization, efforts by states and non- state actors to realize collective goals through cooperation. We will focus on formal, state- dominated institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union as opposed to topics in international law or non-governmental actors. We seek to answer two major questions. First, how have states in the past collaborated to reach mutually beneficial outcomes and how successful have they been? Second, how can these organizations be adapted to address entirely new questions that have emerged today? Unlike other international relations courses you may have taken, this class will begin with a substantive section on the United Nations, the most well known of the international organizations. This will provide an empirical foundation to ground our discussion about theories of international organization and cooperation. Schools of thought are not just academic; implicitly they form the worldviews of those in the real world engaged in foreign affairs and inform their beliefs about what international organizations can and cannot do. We will see this in the section on political approaches to international organizations. From there we will transition from questions of political order to economic order through an investigation of the history and the present challenges facing the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, as well as the global movements that have emerged to reform them. Finally we will investigate the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Union and the human rights regime comprised by war crimes tribunals and the International Criminal Court. For each organization we explore, the first part will be historical . We will learn the complete history of these organizations – the problems they were designed to solve, the concepts that underlie their organization, and the evolution of their role in the face of changing international conditions. This portion of the class will be explanatory . We are interested in trying to account for why political decision-makers made the decisions they did, whether they failed or succeeded, and what this says about the nature of international politics and our ability to reshape our environment and solve international problems. The second portion of each section is devoted to the challenges faced by each international organization. Almost every international organization we study is experiencing a time of crisis generally either because the issues the organizations were originally created to tackle are not those that they currently address or because the geopolitical environment has changed. This has led to urgent calls for institutional and substantive reform, a question that we will discuss in class. Here our focus moves from explanation to prescription . Knowing what we do about
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io_syllabus_usc 2009 (1) - IR 306 International...

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