This course offers an introduction to International Relations aiming at (a) familiarizing students with the main concepts, theories and debates in IR and (b) at providing them with the theoretical and methodological tools to better understand the complex nature of international politics nowadays. The course will cover the main theoretical approaches and how they bear upon IR issues and problems at different levels of analysis, from the international system and the nation state to the psychology of decision makers. The course will explore some of these concepts and theories in a role-playing simulation. Using scenario-building and role playing through online diplomacy, students will be called on to reflect upon the role of IR theories and methods on the study of international politics. The case study this year is a crisis in the Far East Asia and the role the countries in the region and the United States would play in it.
The course is organized in two modules. In the first module the main concepts and theories at different levels of analysis will be discussed: the international system, dyadic relationships, the domestic sources of foreign policies, decision-makers roles and psychology in IR. The second module will put some of the analytical tools and concepts discussed in the first part to work in a concrete, although, simulated, case, using the online Diplomacy simulation kit. The focus will be on the interplay between strategic and coercive instruments on the one hand and soft diplomacy tools on the other. This simulation will be an opportunity to discuss the present political situation in Far East Asia between China, Japan, US and the two Koreas exploring the analogy between the present conditions and those existing before the outbreak of the First World War.