syllabus - PLSC 300D The Scientific Study of War Fall 2010...

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1 PLSC 300D: The Scientific Study of War Fall 2010 Mundelein Center- Room 620 T Th 11:30-12:45 Professor Melin Office: Coffee Hall 331 Email: [email protected] Phone: 773-508-8647 Office Hours: T Th 1-2:30 pm and by appointment. If you cannot make my office hours, just let me know and we can set up a time that is more convenient. "The most persistent sound which reverberates through man's history is the beating of war drums." -Arthur Koestler Scope and Purpose This course provides an introduction to and overview of the concepts and approaches related to the causes of war, conflict, and peace in the international system. The main topics of the course are: (1) an introduction to understanding war as a social science topic, (2) the origins of the demands and disputes that can lead to war, (3) the escalation of these, (4) the expansion of war, (5) the consequences of war, and (6) the possibility of peace. The goal is to understand the typical path to war. Why do some states choose force while others do not? What do we know about conflict from both data based investigations and traditional case based studies? We will also be covering recent relevant security issues and debates. We will not be covering internal or civil wars since these are wars of a different “type” and require a different theoretical background. This course will treat war as a natural phenomenon that must be understood before it can be mitigated. Doing so requires scientific investigation. You should not be in this class if you are unwilling to accept the idea that war can be understood scientifically. Required Readings Cashman, Greg and Leonard C. Robinson. 2007. An Introduction to the Causes of War. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. (referred to as “C&R” below) D. Scott Bennett and Allan C. Stam. 2004. The Behavioral Origins of War. Ann Arbor: Michigan. (referred to B&S below) Any readings marked with an asterisk (**) are available electronically on the Blackboard page under the “Course Documents” section. Readings marked with a double asterisk (*) are available at . It will be your responsibility to go to this website and print yourself a copy. Any other electronic links to journals are noted directly on the class schedule below.
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2 Students must purchase the required text and are responsible for all readings on the day for which they are assigned and are expected to discuss those readings in class. In addition to the textbooks, students are expected to be knowledgeable about current events. Current events provide an important opportunity to apply the theories we discuss in class. In order to encourage this, each student is required to read The Economist magazine online. As a student, you are able to purchase a subscription at a highly discounted rate. To do so, just go to and enter my faculty id: 5523 . A 12 week subscription is $19.95. I am confident you will enjoy this reading! Class Policies
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syllabus - PLSC 300D The Scientific Study of War Fall 2010...

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