Introduction to International Politics

In the field of Political Science, there are no fewer than six subfields: American Politics, Law and Legalism, Normative Theory, Methodology (Qualitative and Quantitative), International Relations, and Comparative Politics. Oklahoma State University offers no general course that gives broad brush strokes over these topics, only introductory courses in several of them. This course offers those brush strokes for the entire International Relations (IR) subfield.
The underlying theme for this year’s course is “explanations of history.” That is what IR offers: explanations of what has happened and theories through which we can better understand the world around us and our place in that world. To that end, this course will introduce you to events transpiring around the world and across the globe, events that affect the lives of millions, events that are explicable if not predictable.


The required book for this course:
  • Nau, Henry R. 2011. Three Perspectives on International Relations: Power, Institutions, and Identities, third edition. Washington, DC: CQ Press. (ISBN: 978-1-604-26732-7)
The optional document is:
The required book is available from the bookstore and from It will be used extensively in the class, so it would behoove you to get it. The Nau text will serve as our primary textbook. The Style Manual is optional; the library may have copies of the current edition. In lieu of having you purchase the entire style manual, I have provided a link for you. This document provides examples of reference lists so that you format them correctly for this course. Additional readings will be assigned as necessary and will be available by link on the class web site, in the electronic reserve section of the library’s website, in the reserve section of the library, or through some other source (like JSTOR).

In addition to these sources, you are required to stay updated on events happening in the world. And, since this is an International Politics course, you will need to do so using non-US newspapers. The course website has a link (on the left) to a listing of some international newspapers (“News Sources”). No newspaper is unbiased. Because of this, examining an event through the lens of more than one source will help you more fully understand the event and its implications.