PSC/IR 270 Mechanisms of International Relations

Political Science Field: International Relations
International Relations Track: Global Security (A)
Typically offered every year

Philip Arena
Fall 2014 — MWF 10:25-11:15

This course consists of two parts. First, we will explore the logic of several causal mechanisms that help us to better understand patterns of international cooperation (such as coordination and collaboration problems), discussing several empirical applications. Second, we will explore the logic of several causal mechanisms that help us to better understand patterns of international conflict (such as commitment and information problems), discussing several empirical applications. Game-theoretic and statistical models will appear throughout the course, but no prior background in either is assumed or required.

Hein Goemans
Fall 2013 — R 15:25-18:05

Course Syllabus

The last ten years or so have seen a major revolution in the social sciences. Instead of trying to discover and test grand "covering laws" that have universal validity and tremendous scope (think Newton's gravity or Einstein's relativity), the social sciences are in the process of switching to more narrow and middle-range theories and explanations, often referred to as causal mechanisms. Mechanisms play a crucial role in this new conception of theory in the social sciences. In this course we will examine one particular mechanism each week and see how it has been applied in international political economy and/or security studies. Students will be introduced to formal reasoning in an informal manner. We will explore several substantive themes, such as the "democratic peace," ethnic conflict and international trade to illustrate the mechanisms and cumulative potential of this research approach.

Hein Goemans
Fall 2012 — R 15:25-18:05

Course Syllabus

The last ten years or so have seen a major revolution in the social sciences. Instead of trying to discover and test grand "covering laws" that have universal validity and tremendous scope (think Newton's gravity or Einstein's relativity), the social sciences are in the process of switching to more narrow and middle-range theories and explanations, often referred to as causal mechanisms. Mechanisms play a crucial role in this new conception of theory in the social sciences. In this course we will examine one particular mechanism each week and see how it has been applied in international political economy and/or security studies. Students will be introduced to formal reasoning in an informal manner. We will explore several substantive themes, such as the "democratic peace," ethnic conflict and international trade to illustrate the mechanisms and cumulative potential of this research approach.

Hein Goemans
Fall 2011 ("W" Optional) — R 15:25-18:05

The last ten years or so have seen a major revolution in the social sciences. Instead of trying to discover and test grand "covering laws" that have universal validity and tremendous scope (think Newton's gravity or Einstein's relativity), the social sciences are in the process of switching to more narrow and middle-range theories and explanations, often referred to as causal mechanisms. Mechanisms play a crucial role in this new conception of theory in the social sciences. In this course we will examine one particular mechanism each week and see how it has been applied in international political economy and/or security studies. Students will be introduced to formal reasoning in an informal manner. We will explore several substantive themes, such as the "democratic peace," ethnic conflict and international trade to illustrate the mechanisms and cumulative potential of this research approach.

Hein Goemans
Fall 2009 ("W" Optional) — T 14:00-16:40

Course Syllabus

The last ten years or so have seen a major revolution in the social sciences. Instead of trying to discover and test grand "covering laws" that have universal validity and tremendous scope (think Newton's gravity or Einstein's relativity), the social sciences are in the process of switching to more narrow and middle-range theories and explanations, often referred to as causal mechanisms. Mechanisms play a crucial role in this new conception of theory in the social sciences. In this course we will examine one particular mechanism each week and see how it has been applied in international political economy and/or security studies. Students will be introduced to formal reasoning in an informal manner. We will explore several substantive themes, such as the "democratic peace," ethnic conflict and international trade to illustrate the mechanisms and cumulative potential of this research approach.