Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Denis Basic
JSIS B 311
Seattle Campus

Myth of War

Explores war as a concept in international political economy. Examines interpretations of war as put forth by proponents of the key theoretical constructs of mercantilism, liberalism, and Marxism. Explores contemporary challenges to the prevailing, dominant theories of war.

Class description

Within the scope of this course we shall try to discern the causes of war by exploring them from the point of view of ethology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, geography, philosophy, economics, and history, besides political sciences.

In the first part of the course, we shall study different theories of war and shall do so at five levels of analysis - the individual level, the small group level, the state level, at the level of interaction between two states, and finally at the international system level. In the second part of the course, we shall reexamine the strength of different theories of war through the exploration of the root causes of modern war on ten cases: WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the War in Bosnia and Kosovo, the Indo-Pakistani Wars, the Arab-Israeli Wars, the Iraq-Iran and Iraq-Kuwait Wars, the War in Afghanistan, and the War on Terror.

Student learning goals

Learn what makes a good theory a good theory

Get acquainted with different theories of war

Test your knowledge of war theories on the examples of ten war conflicts from the 20th and 21st centuries while learning historical facts about each one of them

Practice your analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as the culture of creative dialogue

General method of instruction

Students will be required to attend lectures and to participate in class discussions, as well as to present their papers in class. Lectures will include educational documentary movies related to the main themes of the course. There will be two to three student presentations per each session and students may be asked to advocate opposing views for the sake of practicing the culture of creative dialogue.

Recommended preparation

This course revolves around class discussions. Therefore, reading the assigned materials in advance is rather a requirement than a recommendation. Hence, regular class attendance and participation in discussions will ensure a complete success in the course.

Class assignments and grading

There will be two formal exams, the midterm and the final. Students will be required to write a paper in which they will examine as many theories of war as possible on one of the ten war conflicts discussed in the final part of the course. These ten wars are the topics for the final paper. Each student will be asked to present her/his paper, i.e. a war of interest, in class. The papers should be 15 double-spaced pages long in the Times New Roman font, 12 pts font size. For the presentation, student will also need to prepare a slideshow.

Mid term and final exams - 30% of the grade each. Term paper with classroom presentation - 20% of the grade. Classroom attendance - 10% of the grade. Classroom participation - 10% of the grade. The instructor reserves the right to give extra points to students for special effort. Students will be graded on the curve for the two exams. The exams are non-cumulative. Clarity of thoughts expressed in discussions and the paper, reliability of sources used, and creativity and effort will be rewarded with more points. Grades will be assigned following the standard grade scale.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Denis Basic
Date: 02/14/2014