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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elizabeth L. Kier
POL S 527
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in International Relations Research

Examination of current topics in the theory and practice of world politics. Content varies according to recent developments in the field and research interests of the instructor.

Class description

This course introduces students to some of the major theoretical approaches to organizations and institutions and their application to issues of international security. We will examine some traditional approaches, such as bureaucratic politics, but the course will also draw on newer frameworks from organizational theory, economics, sociology, and political science. In particular, we will explore how different theoretical approaches, such as principal-agent models and sociological institutionalism, can explain a variety of outcomes and issues, such as military doctrine, privatized military forces (mercenaries), nuclear weapons safety, civilian control of the military, and military intervention abroad. The course has three goals: 1) to emphasize the value of interdisciplinary work; 2) to broaden understanding of the competing, and sometimes complementary, approaches to institutions and organizations; 3) to encourage creative applications of organizational and institutional theories to issues in international security. The course is designed for Ph.D. students in political science and assumes a background in IR theory.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 06/30/2004