Elizabeth L. Kier
POL S 407
Examines different theoretical explanations for the causes of war, including the role of international, state, organizational, and individual factors; additional topics vary with instructor. May include the development of warfare, deterring weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, intelligence, and the ethics of warfare.
Description: War is a central feature of international politics. The course begins with an overview of the development of modern warfare, but it focuses on the causes of war. Is war inevitable given the structure of the international system, or can, for example, changes in beliefs or the spread of democracies temper aggressive appetites or eliminate the security dilemma? We will examine these questions by focusing on World War I, World War II , the Persian Gulf War, and the war in Iraq. The course concludes with a discussion of the ethics of war.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Michael Howard, War in European History, 1976; R. I. Rotberg and T. K. Rabb, eds, The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars, 1989.
Class assignments and grading
Two exams, a research paper, and active participation in section discussions.
Grades are based on two exams, a midterm (25%) and a final (30%); a short research paper (30%); and section participation (15%).