Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in POLI 15.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Critically analyze any of the contending theoretical formulations of International Relations - Liberalism/Neoliberalism institutionalism, Realism and Non-realism, the Radical Perspective, Constructivism, Hegemonic Stability Theory.
  • Critically analyze the role of the United States in the International Political Economy.
  • A successful student will understand the role of NATO, the UN and national state leaders in decision-making on intervention.


Analysis of the contending theoretical formulations of international relations, the international political economy, factors of sovereignty, nationalism, relations between the core, semi-periphery and peripheral countries, the role of the World Trade Organization in international trade relations, international terrorism and global warming. The impact of international terrorism and international security on world politics are systematically analyzed in the context of an increasingly unipolar world as the struggle for hegemony ensues. The honors course is a full seminar with advanced teaching methods, focusing on major writing, reading, and research assignments, student class presentations, group discussions and interactions.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Analyze range of theoretical formulations of international relations theory.
  2. Compare and contrast contending views of international political economy.
  3. Understand and utilize current research trends in international relations theory.
  4. Analyze semi-peripheral and peripheral nation states' relations with core nations in global economy.
  5. Evaluate the role of the United States in the international community.
  6. Analyze role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in global trade relations.
  7. Analyze the impact of terrorism on international relations.

Course Content

  1. Introduction to the intellectual foundations of international relations as an academic discipline
    1. Liberal institutionalism
    2. Hobbesian realism and its contemporary variant of neo-liberalism
    3. Marxist and neo-Marxist thinking
    4. Contribution of dependency theory to international relations theory
    5. Contribution of world systems theory to international relations theory
  2. Liberal theories of international relations
    1. Origins of liberalism in reaction to mercantilism
    2. Contributions of Adam Smith and David Ricardo
    3. Assumptions of liberalism as rational, utility-maximizing actors
    4. Limitations of economic role of government
  3. Marxist theory of international relations
    1. Origins of Marxist perspective as a reaction to liberalism
    2. Assumptions of Marxist perspective
    3. Classes as dominant actors in the political economy
    4. Classes acting in their material economic interests
    5. Exploitative nature of capitalism and the international division of labor
  4. The realist theory of international relations
    1. Intellectual contributions of Hobbes, Machiavelli, Colbert and List
    2. Emergence of realism in the 1930s
    3. Assumptions of realism
    4. Nation-states as dominant actors
    5. Nation-states as power-maximizers
    6. Nation-states as rational actors
    7. Theory of hegemonic stability
    8. Realism, political processes, and complex interdependence
    9. Roles of international organizations
  5. Contribution of dependency theory to international relations theory
    1. Dependency as a socio-economic and political concept
    2. Structural dependency as a socio-economic and political concept
    3. The gap between rich and poor countries
    4. Domestic inequality
    5. Convergence and divergence
    6. The state, growth, and inequality
    7. Role of multilateral agencies in dependent underdeveloped states
    8. The World Trade Organization in international trade
  6. World systems theory contribution to international relations theory
    1. Emergence of world capitalist system in 16th century Europe
    2. Role of agriculture in the development of world capitalist system in 16th century
    3. Incorporation of areas into world system
    4. Concept of core, semi-periphery, and periphery
    5. Contemporary function of world capitalist system
  7. Role of non-government organizations (NGO) in the international political economy
    1. The role of the United Nations in international relations
    2. The role of specialized agencies of of the UN in international relations
    3. The role of UNCHR in international conflict

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Consistent and systematic participation in seminar
Oral presentations (PowerPoint) of assigned topics
Development of research paper topic, thesis, outline and analytical model utilizing the scientific method of analysis
Development of 20 page research paper demonstrating critical, analytical, research and writing skills
Presentation of extract of research paper assignment to seminar

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Formal weekly lectures
Oral group presentations (PowerPoint) on assigned topics
In-class seminar-style discussions on assigned topics of critical importance to class material, with intensive and systematic participation from students
Small group discussions on current issues in international relations
Instructor meets in extra session with all seminar students in a series of individual and small group learning communities, out-of-class, to work together on students' research and presentation preparation

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Mingst, A. Karen, Heather Elko McKibben, and Ivan M. Arreguin-Toft. Essentials of International Relations, 8th ed.. 2019.

Goddard, C. Roe, Patrick Cronin, and Kishore C. Dash. International Political Economy: State Market Relations in the Changing Global Order, 3rd ed.. 2008.

Handleman, Howard. The Challenge of Third World Development, 4th ed.. 2006.

Kaufman, Joyce. Introduction to International Relations Theory & Practice. 2013.

Kaufman, Joyce. A Concise History of US Foreign Policy. 2013.

Seligson, Mitchell, and John T. Passe-Smith. The Political Economy of Global Inequality, 8th ed.. 2014.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. The Modern World System III: The Second Era of Great Expansion of the Capitalist World Economy, 1730-1840. 1980.

McWilliams, Wayne C., and Harry Piotrowski. The World Since 1945: A History of International Relations, 8th ed.. 2014.

Viotti, Paul R., and Mark V. Kauppi. International Relations & World Politics: Security, Economy, Identity, 5th ed.. 2013.

Although some texts are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal pieces of scholarship (texts) in this area of study.

World Policy Journal articles

Foreign Affairs journal
Foreign Policy Journal
Latin American Perspectives (print journal)
School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University (print journal)

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Weekly assigned readings from texts, of between 200-300 pages, on module for week
  2. Five to six pages of written outline of required weekly reading assignments
  3. Development of research paper topic, thesis, outline and analytic model
  4. 20 page critical analytical research paper assignment utilizing the scientific method
  5. Students work closely with instructor individually and in small groups on leading assigned seminar discussion topic, presentation, and research paper assignment


Political Science