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

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stephan Hamberg
POL S 333
Seattle Campus

Topics in International Relations

Class description

Anyone following the news today is likely to believe we that we live in particularly violent times. This century started with 9/11, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, genocide in Darfur, and more recently mass shootings in Norway, Arizona, Colorado and Connecticut. However, carefully collected data on homicides, wars, genocide, and other forms of violence, indicate that perhaps we live in an unusually peaceful time. In this class we will start by examining the trends of various forms of violence from past millennia to the present and we will see that violence has indeed declined. Rather than most classes examining violence, we will not ask “why is there war?” but “why is there peace?” After establishing that violence is declining we will examine and evaluate a number of theories and arguments that can help explain this trend. We will also look at specific case studies that will help us understand how it is possible to maintain peace over time.

Student learning goals

Evaluation of theories and arguments

Assessing various forms of empirical evidence

Developing testable arguments and hypotheses

General method of instruction

Lectures and discussion

Recommended preparation

Political Science 203 or other courses that cover basic theories of International Relations. A general interest in current events regarding political violence.

Class assignments and grading

Grades are based on participation (15%), two exams (25% and 30%) and a 5-7 page paper (30%).


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.
Last Update by Stephan Hamberg
Date: 02/05/2013