World Politics

In World Politics, I introduce majors to the serious study of political science and non-majors to important concepts in political science. Students should know how world politics affects them and how they fit into the world. I have accordingly designed a course emphasizing middle-range theories, including the bargaining model of war, endogenous protection theory, and constructivist arguments about how identities are formed and performed. Befitting the diversity of student interests in the course, I apply an eclectic approach. I introduce the benefits of abstraction with Jose Luis Borges’s short story “Funes, El Memorioso,” which also exposes students to world literature. Later, students compare scholarly findings about the effect of racial attitudes on preferences for international trade with the implicit arguments made by country music artist Toby Keith in his song “Made in America”, a paean to economic nationalism. Through these assignments, I seek to help students understand that social theorizing is not remote from their lives.

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