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OSPBER 77: Understanding Intl' Politics Today: From the German Philosophers to Modern Social Science

International politics is beset by problems. States go to war. The global economy is volatile and unequal. The human community is divided into multiple nation-states. Some states dominate others. People commit acts of evil. Luckily, we are not the first people to have noticed that international politics is not characterized exclusively by peace and harmony. War, capitalism, racism, and totalitarianism have all been subjects about which German thinkers - many based in Berlin - have made profound contributions over the last two centuries. Do their ideas and arguments stand up in the cold light of modern social science? What can we learn from them - and what do we need to discard? This course will introduce students to perennial problems in international politics from two perspectives: those of key German political thinkers, and those of modern social science. It is structured around five core questions: Why do states go to war and what could be the basis for a lasting peace? If war is unavoidable, what is the role of morality in war? How can/should the world be governed in the absence of a world state? How has international politics been transformed by capitalism? What role has been and is played by race and racism in international politics?
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Stephen, M. (PI)
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