Current Issues in World Politics

Taught by Jeffrey Ayres, Professor of Political Science

This course provides students with an introduction to controversies and debates in world politics, focusing on “global problems”-- challenges emerging across the international environment, which individual countries are unable to address effectively on their own. Global problems increasingly challenge the existing structure of the international system, which is still anchored by the centuries-old concept of state sovereignty. We will explore a number of vexing global problems, including nationalism and secession, weak or failed states, human security including human trafficking, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and transnational crime, globalization and global climate change. This course does not presuppose any prior study of politics or political science, and does not intend to provide you with an exhaustive account of global political issues. Rather, it will introduce you to frameworks and concepts that may help us to appreciate the challenges posed by global issues.

Through a hybrid classroom/online format, this course will familiarize students with a level of regular intellectual engagement expected of an introductory course, while encouraging the development of faculty-student exchange and mentoring expected at Saint Michael’s College. Weekly assignments in the course will include: engaging in online threaded discussions, watching and writing film reviews, reading international news and writing press reports, and short thematic quizzes. Learning objectives include: familiarizing oneself with the complexity of world politics in a globalized era, understanding the characteristics of a variety of global problems, becoming conversant in current international events, understanding some of the major tools of political analysis for understanding international conflict and change.

Syllabus and Overview

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