Global politics

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Acadia University

Department of Politics

POLS 2683


FALL 2016


Lecturer: Can E. Mutlu, Ph.D.


Office: BAC 216

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10:00-12:00am

In order to create a lively class debate on global politics, students should keep themselves informed about world events. To do so, they can read online newspapers such as the Guardian, New York Times, Globe and Mail, among others, or websites of reputable media outlets such as the BBC, CBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, among others. I also highly recommend online resources/blogs like,,, and Each week will begin with a discussion of current world events, and demonstrate linkages between International Relations theories and the news. I will share some of the news items that I find, on Twitter under the hashtag: #AUpol2683.

Course Description

How can we understand the politics of international events? How do governments decide on their foreign policies? - what are their objectives and what factors guide them? Do material or ideational factors shape international politics? How do states find a balance between politics of security, and politics of economics? What is the authority or influence of non-state actors in international politics? What factors contribute to the divisions and gaps between the East, West, North and South? What is the role of ideas and culture in global politics? This course provides an introduction to the academic discipline of International Relations, in which scholars (and practitioners) attempt to understand and transform global politics. International Relations theories are necessarily central to this, and are the focus of this course.

Key Questions

  1. How does the academic (sub-)discipline of International Relations (IR) engage with and construct global politics?

  2. What constitutes an ‘event’ in global politics? How do we identify events? How do we make sense of these events?

  3. How do different IR Theories conceptualize key concepts in Political Science (colonialism, cooperation, conflict, crisis, democracy, environment, gender inequality, power relations, war e.g.)

Learning Outcomes

Following the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Gain an understanding of theoretical insights into global politics;

  2. Learn current academic debates in International Relations;

  3. Become familiar with major epistemological and ontological debates in International Relations

  4. Gain an advanced understanding of university-level academic research and writing;

Course Material

There are no textbooks for this course, the course will use readings that are available on ACORN as pdf. files.

Assignments, grade distributions, and evaluation criteria

Assignments allow me to assess your comprehension of key debates in contemporary International Relations and analytical thinking/researching/writing skills. My approach to evaluation is based on transparency and feedback. This course is built around 4 major grading components. These components are:

1) Briefing paper proposal/academic writing skills feedback assessment (10%) due on 6 October

Students are required to write a 500-word (2pages double spaced) proposal, that will identify: 1) a clear topic/event, 2) an International Relations theory that can reflect on the event, 3) provide brief contextualization/justification for pairing of event and theory, 4) a preliminary bibliography consisting of at least 5 academic sources. The proposal will have two equally weighed grading components: content and academic writing.

Content (5%): In order to write a successful briefing paper (proposal), students must identify a world politics event that is either on-going, or took place in the last 10 years, as well as a theory from one of the theories we have/will cover in the class, and answer: What makes this event a “global” event? What makes it a significant event? Who are/were the main actors? Who has/had agency? What kind of insights does the IR theory of your choice provide us about this event? What is/was a solution for the event, based on your theoretical framework? Try to be as direct, concise and clear in your writing as possible.
Academic writing (5%): Alongside the content component, I will be assessing – and providing feedback – on your academic research and writing skills: quality/diversity of your academic sources (i.e. your research skills), and accuracy and appropriateness of your citations (i.e. your academic writing skills). While this may seem elementary for some of you, basic citation mistakes in the actual briefing paper, can cost you valuable points, or even jeopardize the integrity of your work. To avoid unpleasant surprises, please make yourself familiar with a citation style of your choice, and learn how to cite properly when/where necessary. Similarly, please make yourself familiar with how to compile a proper bibliography/work cited based on your choice of citation style.

2) In-class midterm exam (30%) 27 October 2016

Students will write an in-class midterm exam on 27 October 2016. They will be responsible for the course material (assigned reading materials, lectures, and slides) from between weeks 1-8 (inclusive). The exam will consist of essay question(s), and short definition questions.

3) Briefing paper (40%) due on 24 November

Building on the feedback received on the proposals submitted earlier in the term, students are required to write a 2500-word (10-pages double spaced) briefing paper on the event/theory they have identified in the proposal. The briefing papers need to find a balance between descriptive/analytical tones and provide theoretical insights into the constitution, process, and consequences of the event they are addressing from the point of view of their theory of choice. Same as the proposal, the paper must answer – in more detail: What makes this a “global” event? What makes it a significant event? Who are/were the main actors? Who has/had agency? What kind of insights does the IR theory of your choice provide us about this event? What is/was a solution for the event, based on your theoretical framework? Papers are going to be assessed based on the quality of research, and theoretical insights, as well as the quality of writing/citations/bibliography.

4) Final exam (20%) – Date/time/location TBA

During the regular final exam period, students will be required to write a cumulative final exam. The exam will consist of two essay questions.

Grade Catalogue

Letter Grade

Percentage range

GPA value


















































Awaiting grade from Special Exams

Course Structure and Policy (Please read carefully!)

  • Lectures will be delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8:30-10:00 in BAC 234.

  • Office hours will be held in BAC-216, on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10:00-12:00am.

  • Any questions sent by email will receive a response within two business days, or during the following class. Emails must be written in proper English, and must have the course and section code in the subject line.

  • Written assignments will be graded within five business days and grades will be entered to ACORN.

  • Please turn off your cellphones and other audio alerts during lectures.

  • Lecture slides, documents related to the assignments, and other notices will be posted online to ACORN after each lecture.

  • Students are expected to read the assigned readings prior to each lecture.

  • The classroom is a space reserved for learning and academic discussions. Please, keep the discourse civil during debates. You must respect your peers and their ideas even if you do not agree with them. Ad hominem attacks against peers will not be tolerated.

  • All assignments are due at the end of the class on the date they are due. Papers submitted outside of the lecture hours (through the departmental mailbox, or later in the day in my office) are to be considered late and thus are subject to penalty. Late submissions receive a penalty of 10% of the assignment grade for each day after the due-date, including the due date. No exceptions will be granted without an official note from Acadia Health or Counseling Services, or a verbal agreement with professor prior to the deadline.

  • Students are required to abide by the Acadia University’s academic integrity policy. It is your responsibility to inform yourself about what constitutes plagiarism. If you are unsure, ask the professor, or consult the writing centre.

  • Please notify me as soon as possible if a religious holiday or a cultural event forces your absence during an evaluation.

Week 1 (7-9 September 2016) Arrivals/Departures: What to expect from POLS 2683?

Syrian Kurdish refugees flooding into Turkey (

TEDxEastEnd - Bridget Anderson - Imagining a world without borders


Week 2 (12-16 September 2016) Knowing is half the battle: What constitutes a global event, how, and why?

How Not to Be Ignorant About the World | Hans and Ola Rosling | TED Talks


Ruggie, John Gerard. "Peace in our time? Causality, social facts and narrative knowing." Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (American Society of International Law). The American Society of International Law, 1995. (ACORN)

Tickner, J. Ann. "What is your research program? Some feminist answers to international relations methodological questions." International Studies Quarterly 49.1 (2005): 1-21. (ACORN)

***Lass day to add/change course sections***

Week 3 (19-23 September 2016) Borders/Orders/Identities: Why do we have inter/national relations?

Agnew, John. "The territorial trap: the geographical assumptions of international relations theory." Review of international political economy 1.1 (1994): 53-80. (ACORN)

Neumann, Iver B. "Self and other in international relations." European Journal of International Relations 2.2 (1996): 139-174. (ACORN)

Week 4 (26-30 September 2016) Anarchy/States/Systems: Are states ‘rational’ actors?

Grieco, Joseph M. "Anarchy and the limits of cooperation: a realist critique of the newest liberal institutionalism." International organization 42.03 (1988): 485-507. (ACORN)

Wendt, Alexander. "Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics." International organization 46.02 (1992): 391-425. (ACORN)

Week 5 (3-7 October 2016) Power! Power! Power!

Guzzini, Stefano. "The concept of power: a constructivist analysis." Millennium-Journal of International Studies 33.3 (2005): 495-521. (ACORN)

***Briefing Paper Proposals Due on 6 October 2016***

Week 6 – (10-15 October 2016) Liberalism: Why/how do states cooperate?

Keohane, Robert O., and Lisa L. Martin. "The promise of institutionalist theory." International security 20.1 (1995): 39-51. (ACORN)

Risse-Kappen, Thomas. "Democratic peace—warlike democracies? A social constructivist interpretation of the liberal argument." European Journal of International Relations 1.4 (1995): 491-517. (ACORN)

Week 7 – (17-21 October 2016) Realism: Why do we have intra-state conflict?

Waltz, Kenneth N. "Realist thought and neorealist theory." Journal of International Affairs (1990): 21-37. (ACORN)

Williams, Michael C. "Why ideas matter in international relations: Hans Morgenthau, classical realism, and the moral construction of power politics." International Organization 58.04 (2004): 633-665. (ACORN)

Week 8 – (24-28 October 2016) MIDTERM EXAM WEEK

Midterm prep session on Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Midterm Exam on Thursday, 27 October, 2016

Week 9 – (31 October-4 November 2016) Historical Materialism: How does Capitalism shape the world?

Germain, Randall D., and Michael Kenny. "Engaging Gramsci: international relations theory and the new Gramscians." Review of International Studies24.01 (1998): 3-21. (ACORN)

Gill, Stephen. "Globalisation, market civilisation, and disciplinary neoliberalism." Millennium-Journal of International Studies 24.3 (1995): 399-423. (ACORN)

Week 10 – (7-11 November 2016) STUDY WEEK, NO CLASS

No class on Tuesday, instead Dr. Mutlu will have extra office hours.

No class on Thursday, 10 November (Fall Study Week)

Week 11 – (14-18 November 2016) (Social) Constructivism: How do we imagine/construct the world?

Wendt, Alexander. "Constructing international politics." International Security 20.1 (1995): 71-81. (ACORN)

Weldes, Jutta. "Constructing national interests." European Journal of International Relations 2.3 (1996): 275-318. (ACORN)

Week 12 – (21-25 November 2016) Gender and World Politics

Weber, Cynthia. "Why is there no queer international theory?" European Journal of International Relations 21.1 (2015): 27-51. (ACORN)

Jabri, Vivienne. "Feminist ethics and hegemonic global politics." Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 29.3 (2004): 265-284. (ACORN)

***Briefing Papers are due on 24 November 2016***

Week 13 – (28 November – 2 December 2016) Environment and World Politics

Biermann, Frank, and Ingrid Boas. "Preparing for a warmer world: Towards a global governance system to protect climate refugees." Global environmental politics 10.1 (2010): 60-88. (ACORN)

Week 14 (5-9 December) Final Exam Preparation

Final exam preparation session on Tuesday 6 December 2016


Library Services

Books and journal articles from the library can improve your assignments, labs, and papers. Visit the library at View resources specifically selected for your course at and contact the Politics Librarian at for research help.

Writing Centre

The Writing Centre offers free help to all students wishing to improve their writing skills. You can sign up online today. To book a one-to-one appointment with a writing tutor: To see which helpful presentations and workshops you can attend this year:

Accessibility Services

If you are a student with a documented disability who anticipates needing supports or accommodations, please contact Dr. Abu Kamara, Coordinator, Accessible Learning Services at 902-585-1291, or Kathy O’Rourke, Disability Resource Facilitator at 902-585-1823, Accessible Learning Services is located in the Fountain Commons, Lower Level.

The Student Resource Center

The Student Resource Center offers counselling, academic, and accessibility supports that meet the diverse needs of the Acadia student population. We provide a client – centered, professional and confidential environment that values the whole student post- secondary experience. Within our counselling and psychotherapy services we work with students to develop and improve overall wellbeing as it relates to emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social health. Some of the issues that we work with include depression, anxiety, relationship, and stress. We also offer services related to career exploration and decision making. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please email: or call 902-585-1246.

Academic fraud, or plagiarism, is an act committed by a student to distort the marking of assignments, tests, examinations, and other forms of academic evaluation. Plagiarism refers to copying/pasting, translating, paraphrasing i.e. using other authors’ work in your assignments without proper attribution/citation and/or submitting your previously submitted/graded assignment for another course. Any form academic fraud – cheating in exams, assignments, plagiarism, attendance fraud, is both unethical and unacceptable. Academic fraud is neither accepted, nor tolerated by Dr. Mutlu and/or Acadia University. Anyone caught committing academic fraud is liable to severe academic sanctions as determined by the University administration. You can learn more about plagiarism by visiting:
Here are a few examples of academic fraud:

  • Engaging in any form of plagiarism (stealing other peoples ideas/words) or cheating;

  • Presenting falsified research data;

  • Handing in an assignment that was not authored, in whole or in part, by the student;

  • Submitting the same assignment in more than one course during the course of your studies, without the written consent of the professors concerned.

In recent years, the development of the Internet has made it much easier to identify academic plagiarism. The tools available to your professors allow them to trace the exact origin of a text on the Web, using just a few words. In cases where students are unsure whether they are committing academic fraud, it is their responsibility to consult the Acadia University Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found on pg. 53, of the 2016-2017 Academic Calendar. Same information is also available online at:
Persons who have committed or attempted to commit (or have been accomplices to) academic fraud will receive a failing grade of 0 for the assignment in which they have cheated or plagiarized. Breaches of academic integrity will be reported to the Head of Department will be subjected to disciplinary investigation.
To avoid plagiarism and/or academic fraud charges: Students must follow the correct, academic form of citation and cite accurately and consistently. There are no mandatory citation styles for this course. You are free to use any recognized style (MLA, APA, Chicago etc.), but you must be consistent throughout your assignment.
Academic sources are texts written by academics (who hold a position at a university) in academic journals (that you would not find on your local newsstand, i.e. Newsweek, Time, the Economist) or academic books (that you would not easily find at Chapters). Academic sources have:
- Clear author(s),

- Footnotes, bibliography or works cited,

- Peer-reviewed (often a toggle switch on article databases),

- Found in specialized or subject database, rather than the Internet or a general database.

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