PS 426: World Politics
Professor Stephen Majeski  Fall Quarter 1999
Office: Gowen Hall 39; Phone: 543-2399  MW 12:30-2:20
Office hours: Monday 11-12, Thursday 11-12  DEN 216 and other locations  


About the course: In this course, we will examine how international politics appears to work. That is, how nation-states act and interact with each other in particular structural contexts and produce various characteristics of the global system (i.e., conflict, cooperation, economic growth, and changes in the distribution of wealth) and how various structural arrangements of international politics, such as the distribution of power or geography, help explain the behavior of nation-states. We will address these issues in two interrelated ways. First, we will read about and discuss an important theoretical approach to explaining international politics. Second, all students will participate in a simulation of international politics that highlights various aspects of the theoretical approach. We will do three of these book/simulation pairs. Some simulations are game-like in nature and involve role-playing. Other simulations are computer based and require students to work with a few computer programs that represent in various ways aspects of international politics. No initial computer skills are required. Students will learn all they need to know in a few short sessions. Access to computers will be provided via the Political Science Computer Classroom and the instructor will make sure that every student can successfully work with the computer simulations.

Course requirements: Students are expected to attend class and participate actively in class discussion. Students must participate in all three simulations run during the course of the quarter. Two of the three simulations will require students to work in teams. Each student will write (2) papers about any two of the three-paired books and simulations we will work through this quarter. Papers cannot be written without a grasp of the theoretical material in the readings and participation in the simulations. Each student will write her/his own individual set of papers. Each of these papers has a maximum length limit of six (6) double-spaced pages (excluding simulation runs and other types of empirical analysis) with 12-pt. font and standard margins. If you do not have an e-mail account, make sure you get one right away. It is crucial that you have your papers and supporting data, computer runs or analysis backed up electronically. I will not accept any excuses about "lost" computer files. Precise writing assignments can be found on this webpage. A class newsgroup will be set up for students to share thoughts and ideas about the course readings, how the simulations are progressing, and structured discussion about the writing assignments. The class will be divided into two groups to participate in the simulations. This will give people ample opportunity to do the class readings and work on their paper assignments.

Grading: Final grades will be based on the quality of student participation in class discussions and active involvement (you need to be present to participate but you also need to be involved and not let others do all the work) in the group simulations (20%) and on the two papers - each worth 40% of the final grade. Note that students failing to actively participate in the simulation that they do not plan to write a paper will automatically receive a 0.0 for the 20% of the final grade related to class discussion and involvement in the simulations. Please note that University policy on the grade of "incomplete" will be followed in this course. As stated on p. 33 of the UW General Catalogue: "An incomplete is given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work until within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student's control." Go here for important information about other issues regarding grading and academic conduct.
Required reading materials:
Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Relations
Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics
Robert Keohane, After Hegemony
Rules and Instructions for the three simulations can be found on the course web page.
Course Readings and Simulations
** Note the location for each class -- It varies so check before each class.
Denny 216 - (DEN)
Geography Collaboratory - Smith 415C (GEO)
Pol Science Computer Classroom - Smith 220 (POL)
9/27 DEN Course Introduction and "Field Trip" to Political Science Computer Classroom, and Geography Computer Collaboratory

Book/Simulation1: Systemic Approaches to International Politics; Neorealism

9/29 DEN K. Waltz Theory of International Relations, Chs. 5,6, and 8.
Before starting the simulation make sure you read the Instructions to the Diplomacy Game (on the course webpage) and understand them thoroughly
Diplomacy Simulation - Group A 10/4 GEO, 10/11 GEO, 10/18 GEO
Diplomacy Simulation - Group B 10/6 GEO, 10/13 GEO, 10/20 GEO
10/25 DEN Wrap up -Waltz and Diplomacy Simulation
Top of page
Reading AssignmentsDiplomacy RulesPaper AssignmentLecture Outlines

Book/Simulation2: Bringing Economics and Wealth into International Politics

10/27 DEN Robert Gilpin War and Change in World Politics Chs. 1-5.
Paper on Waltz and the Diplomacy Simulation due 11/1 by 5:00 P.M.
Make sure to read the Instructions for the Game of War and Trade (on course webpage) and understand them thoroughly
The War and Trade Simulation - Group B 11/1 GEO, 11/8 GEO, 11/15 GEO
The War and Trade Simulation - Group A 11/3 GEO, 11/10 GEO, 11/17 GEO
11/22 DEN Wrap up - Gilpin and The War and Trade Simulation
Top of page
Reading AssignmentsWar and TradePaper AssignmentLecture Outlines

Book/Simulation3: Cooperation and the Development of Institutions in International Politics

11/24 DEN Robert Keohane, AfterHegemony, Chs. 1, 4, 5, 8, 9.
Paper on Gilpin and the Game of War and Trade Simulation due 11/30 by 5:00 P.M.
SimSociety Simulation - Group A 11/29 POL, Both Groups 12/6 POL
SimSociety Simulation - Group B 12/1 POL, Both Groups 12/6 POL
12/8 DEN Wrap up Keohane and SimSociety Simulation and Course Conclusion
Paper on Keohane and SimSociety Simulation due 12/13 by 5:00 P.M
Top of page
Reading AssignmentsSim Society Research Info.Paper AssignmentLecture Outlines