Mike Rossi


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Courses » International Organization » Syllabus

Content: International Organization: Syllabus


The structure of this class will not simply entail lectures and note taking. Classtime will be punctuated by discussions meant to demonstrate the student’s ability to apply the concepts and knowledge learned. You are encouraged to challenge all conceptual formulations and develop your own approaches to problems discussed in the course. Do not simply take the arguments in the readings as be-all, end-all proclamations.

Grading Weights

Students’ overall course grade will be determined by the following criteria

Work Result Weight Due
Six reading evaluations 30% At the start of each next session
One 10-15 page research paper 25% Session XXX
Mid-semester exam 10% Session XXX
Take-home Final exam 20% Session XXX (session to be announced)
Class participation 15% All sessions / accumulated throughout the semester
Due Dates

All papers must be submitted in hard copy and uploaded to the university online plattform. Late reading evaluations will not be accepted. All other papers will result in a deduction of 1/3 of a grade each day they are late – including weekends. You may upload your late paper to halt any additional penalties, but it must be followed up with a hard copy. There are no extensions. Assignments are given well in advance for you to manage your time.

Reading Evaluations

The reading evaluations are designed to both reduce the overall amount of work that “piles up” in one grading criterion, and to keep you up to date with readings and discussions. You are required to write a 3 – 5 page (double spaced) paper each for any six out of the nine total sections. These assignments should identify the primary arguments and major questions raised by the authors of each piece. As the semester progresses, you are also encouraged to note, where appropriate, comparisons and contrasts with topics either from previous readings or class discussions.

While small, these papers are your strongest vehicle for understanding the material and preparing you for larger assignments. Each paper is worth 5% and is due at the start of class for the next section. Note the dates on the syllabus. You may choose to write a seventh paper if you need a few more points by the end of the semester.

Research Paper

Your research paper assignment will be given in mid-October. You may either choose to address a pre-set topic, or come up with an independent topic of your own. Either way, you are required to meet with me at least once in office hours to discuss your paper’s progress, sources consulted, and preliminary ideas. This is especially important if you choose an independent topic of your own.  However, you will be required to submit a 3 – 5 page policy position you wrote prior to the conference and follow up with a 7 – 10 page debriefing paper assessing your experience at the model.

Midterm and final exams

Both the midterm and final are take-home exams that will require at least one essay-length response of the student’s choice from a preset group of questions, which will be distributed at least one class session beforehand.


Participation is made up of speaking in class, successfully answering pop-quiz questions, and meeting me in office hours to discuss your papers, readings, or the class in general. This should be the easiest and most straightforward component of your overall grade to achieve. It does not however simply equate to attendance. If you are, by definition, not participating, you will not receive credit.

Provided Work Material

The following book is required for you to purchase at the campus bookstore:

All other readings will be uploaded to the university online plattform. If you are interested in further reading, or need bibliographical information, the full citations are listed below in the reading assignments. These are excellent sources for you to begin your research papers.

Session Content
Part I: Methodology and Concepts

Session 1

Course Introduction

  • Read the syllabus, familiarize yourself with class
Session 2 - 3

Mainstream Theories of International Organization: Realism Liberalism and Institutionalism

  • Karns and Mingst, chs 1 –2, pp. 3 – 60
  • Lisa L. Martin, “An Institutionalist View: International Institutions and State Strategies,” in T.V., Paul and John A, Hall: International Order and the Future of World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1999) ch. 4, pp. 78 – 98.
Part II: International Organizations and International Society
Session 3

Historical Interactions between the State and International Order

  • Karns and Mingst, ch. 3, pp.  63 – 93
  • E.H. Carr, 1966. The Twenty Years’ Crisis – 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1946), ch. 3, “The Utopian Background”, pp. 22 – 40
  • Carr, Twenty Years’ Crisis, chapter 5, “The Realist Critique”, pp. 63 - 88
Week 4

The United Nations: Global Governance?

  • Karns and Mingst, ch. 4, pp. 95 – 143
  • Barry O’Neill, “Power and Satisfaction in the Security Council”, in Paul Diehl, The Politics of Global Governance (Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Reinner Publishers Inc, 2001), ch. 5, pp. 117 – 137
Weeks 5 - 6

Regional International Organizations: NATO and the European Union

  • Karns and Mingst, ch. 5, pp. 145 – 178
  • Lynn H. Miller, “The Idea and the Reality of Collective Security”, in Diehl, The Politics of Global Governance, ch. 7, pp. 167 – 201
  • Celeste A. Wallander, “Institutional Assets and Adaptability: NATO After the Cold War”, International Organization, vol. 54, no. 4 (Autumn 2000), pp. 705 – 735
  • Roy Ginsberg, Demystifying the European Union (Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, 2010), ch. 5: “Inside EU Governmental Decisionmaking”, pp. 143 -195
Week 7

Midterm Review and Midterm

  • There are no assigned readings this week. October 11 will be devoted to wrapping up any remaining topics from the previous week and then preparing for the midterm.

***Midterm due (insert date)***

Part III: International Society in the Post-Cold War Era
Weeks 8 - 9

The Primacy of States in the International Arena

  • Karns and Mingst, ch. 7, pp. 255 – 285
  • Christopher Layne – “The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise” International Security, vol. 17, no. 4 (1993), pp. 5 – 51
  • G. John Ikenberry, “Liberal Hegemony and the Future of American Postwar Order”, in Paul and Hall, International Order and the Future of World Politics ch. 6, pp. 146 – 154
  • Keohane, Robert, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton University Press, 1984) ch. 6: “A Functional Theory of International Relations”, pp. 85 – 109
Weeks 9 - 11

Global Integration and Inequality: International Winners and Losers

  • Karns and Mingst, ch. 9, pp. 387 – 446
  • Robert Gilpin, The Challenge of Global Capitalism: The World Economy in the 21st Century (Princeton University Press, 2000) ch. 1: “The Second Great Age of Capitalism”, pp. 15 – 51,
  • Gilpin, Challenge of Global Capitalism, ch. 10, “Globalization and its Discontents”, pp. 293 – 324
  • Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003) ch. 1: “The Promise of Global Institutions”, pp. 3 –22
  • Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents, ch. 9: “The Way Ahead”, pp. 214 – 252

Week 11 - 12

International Organization and Global Security Studies

  • Karns and Mingst, ch. 8, pp. 336 – 354
  • 9/11 Commission Report, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002), ch 2: “The Foundation of the New Terrorism” pp. 47 – 70
  • 9/11 Commission Report, ch. 12: “What to Do? A Global Strategy”, pp. 361 – 383
Weeks 13 - 14

Human Rights, Humanitarian Intervention and Conflict Resolution

  • Karns and Mingst, ch. 10, pp. 447 – 495
  • Ramesh Thakur, “Human Rights: Amnesty International and the United Nations”, in Diehl, The Politics of Global Governance, ch. 14, pp. 361 – 387
  • William Taft IV and Todd Buchwald – “Preemption, Iraq, and International Law”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 97, no. 3 (2003), pp. 557 – 563
Week 15

Towards a New International Order?

  • Karns and Mingst, ch. 12, pp. 537 – 553
  • Michael Mann, “Has Globalization Ended the Nation State?” in Paul and Hall, International Order and the Future of World Politics ch. 12, pp. 237 – 261

***Research Paper due last day of class***

Final Exam Date TBA


©Michael Rossi – http://michael-rossi.demokratio.info