SPRING 2018 SYLLABUS: Professional English for International Politics (Sophomore Reading)
Meeting Time & Location: Wednesdays from 10-11:30AM & Fridays from 8:00-9:30AM, Classroom 14.
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/IRReadingS18.html
Office: Rm. 301 & occasionally Newark Bldg. Rm. 245. Office hours by appointment.
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Jump to: Exams Class Schedule Midterm Review Games

OVERVIEW: This course aims to introduce students to a wide variety of articles, topics, and authors in international politics in English. Primary goals in terms of skill-building are to increase students' critical reading and critical thinking abilities. At first, only short excerpts of larger articles will be studied, along with one or two full, short articles. Texts will become gradually more difficult and academic as the course progresses. By the end of the course, we will attempt to read at least one academic article. For academic articles, emphasis will be placed on the importance of understanding the abstract (including the types of evidence and arguments), introduction, and conclusion. Students may have some input in what topics and perhaps even what texts will be assigned. To make class discussion more interesting, the instructor will try to assign at least two texts with opposing viewpoints and/or arguments. By the midterm, students can expect to read up to five short articles per week for maximum exposure to varying viewpoints on political topics, and it is expected that each student's reading ability will improve to a level where the increase in the amount of reading will hardly be noticed. In order to be relevant and current, readings will not be assigned (posted below) more than a few weeks in advance. As this will be students' first and perhaps only course with this instructor (and are assumed not to have previously had a class with a foreign teacher), content will be significantly easier than the course offered in spring 2016 and will also involve more work on listening and speaking skills for classroom interaction. More readings than previously will also focus on politics in general or a comparative/domestic context, rather than an international one. This course will share a similar structure, along with materials and activities, with a (domestic) political science version. 讲课的语言是英语。 听/看不懂英语的学生千万要提前安排助学办法。

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES: Depending on students' receptiveness, a variety of activities will be employed in this class. Most often, class time will be spent discussing (and/or explaining) assigned readings, but sometimes we will read new texts in class. On topics with readings presenting opposing viewpoints, students can expect to debate the merits and drawbacks of different positions in small groups and as a class. Occasionally we will play team and individual games. Above all, class sessions will be ACTIVE, with lots of student participation and a goal of minimizing lecture time by the instructor. If the instructor finds that student preparation (reading assigned texts) is lacking or insufficient, small comprehension quizzes will be given at the beginning of classes as "daily grades" (平时成绩).

TEXTUAL COMPREHENSION & INTERPRETATION: As a reading course, texts will be approached as documents to be understood and evaluated individually and as a class. For each text of significant length, in-class discussion will follow a structural approach which will be, at least for the first few weeks, very rigid. Discussion will be structured as follows, with volunteers or possibly assigned roles to be prepared before class if a few students dominate the early discussions. Texts will be introduced by their title, author, and media source and discussed first in terms of the credibility of the latter two categories. The instructor will ask what the topic of the text is. The instructor will ask what the "main idea" or main argument is and, if it contains a persuasive argument, whether students are convinced by the argument (and why/why not). At some point the instructor will also ask what assumptions the author makes and what biases, whether acknowledged or unacknowledged, s/he carries in the text. After these basic points are established, deeper discussion of the text will follow, based on the individual points the author makes, especially with regard to the evidence used to make the main argument. At various points, the instructor will also interject with comprehension questions. The question of who the intended audience is (Whom is the author trying to convince?) should also come up. While students are encouraged to have a copy of the texts to be discussed for a particular session, whether they are printed or on a digital screen, the instructor will generally try to have all texts projected onto the screen at the front of class for discussion.

EXAMS: Both the midterm and final exams will test students' comprehension of texts and topics we have read and discussed in class but also introduce at least one new text. Care will be taken to make sure that the new text will either be easy or on the same topic as texts studied in class. The purpose of introducing new texts on the exam is to be sure that the course is not only building knowledge but also reading skills while also presenting students with real-life scenarios of trying to understand a text without prior preparation or outside aid. If desired, we may take a practice exam with a new text before the midterm. It is possible that exams may include some questions to be answered orally, if students wish to practice listening & speaking more.

GRADING: The midterm and final exams will be the main determinants of the final grade, with attendance and daily grades influencing borderline cases.

RECOMMENDED AMERICAN NEWS WEBSITES IN ENGLISH: General & Easy to Read - Washington Post ...(Left-Wing/Liberal) - CommonDreams ...(Right-Wing/Conservative) - National Review (There are lots more of each, and you're encouraged to explore! Many are unfortunately not accessible from China.) Any time you read something interesting about the U.S. election in Chinese or English, please bring a copy of it or a link to the article so we can discuss it in class.

WECHAT POLICY: It is the instructor's policy not to add current students to social media, though some past students which are again current will not be removed. Please contact the instructor via email rather than by WeChat, text message, or phone unless extremely urgent. After the course is over, the instructor welcomes social media inquiries.

Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing? Visit the NENU landing page for his reading, writing, public administration, and IR theory courses. All classes should have received a copy of EFL student guides to Western music and Western movies. Feel free to share and distribute them.

Every effort will be made to present class materials in a fair manner which does not unconciously or excessively privilege Western thought and theories over Chinese and other approaches. However, given the instructor's training in a U.S. university, the majority of the material will be presented as closely as possible to an "Intro to IR" class in the USA. Anyone wishing to object officially, of course, has the option of reporting the instructor to the hotline reported below:

http://jlrbszb.chinajilin.com.cn/html/2015-11/01/content_176708.htm

It is hoped that will not be necessary, and we can use this class to learn and discuss collegially how China and the U.S. view international politics!

 

WEEKLY SCHEDULE:

WEEK 1 (3-7, 3-9): Instructor will be returning from the Golden Triangle this week, so students should prepare the following assignment for the first session... READING/HOMEWORK: Pre-class Assignment on Textual Categorization FRI.- Course introduction. Texts & sources in IR/Political Science (& how U.S. universities treat your major). What makes something a text? Texts VS. images. What kinds of texts and sources will we focus on in this course?

WEEK 2 ( 3-14, 3-16): WED.- Finish discussion of Textual Categorization Pre-Class Assignment. Read & discuss handouts on basic political terms & structures. Distribute glossaries on Reading & Writing, Critical Thinking, Security & IPE, etc. READINGS: Goldstein & Pevehouse, Ch. 1, FRI.- Discuss concepts described in Goldstein & Pevehouse textbook chapter and whether we want to read more of it in this course. Presentation: What Is IR Theory? READINGS: McFarland on why she's "Proud to Be an American" , Chomsky on the U.S. as the world's #1 Terrorist State

WEEK 3 ( 3-21, 3-23): WED.- Diagram and discuss how politics is studied in a U.S. university. Discuss McFarland & Chomsky as two extremes viewing the role of the USA in the world. READINGS: Read the three articles about Trump's foreign policy, below, and on pdf here. FRI.- Trump's foreign policy: Eliot A. Cohen on "Trump's Lucky Year" (transcribed here), also negatively here by my former classmate at UCI, Sahar Khan, and in favor of here by Dan McLaughlin at National Review. READINGS: Read Pillar on the U.S. need for a villain, pg. 7-9 especially, from Pillar, 2016, Political Science Quarterly, 131:2: pg.365-385 "The Role of Villain: Iran and U.S. Foreign Policy" & about the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex on NPR and The National Review. Optional reading: In The Asia Times, a fellow TA at UCI, where the instructor studied, talks about working with the director of the Trump Administration's National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, whose ideas are likely an impetus behind the new tariffs.

WEEK 4 ( 3-28, 3-30): WED.- pdf of readings here. Watch Pres. Eisenhower warn of the peril of the Military-Industrial Complex in his 1961 farewell speech. Also watch a video explaining the U.S. federal budget in terms of "mandatory" versus "discretionary" spending. How does the Complex work, and how do "hawks" dispute it? See also Bill Plympton's 1984 short cartoon, "Boomtown" READINGS: None. FRI.- Review articles from the past week. Practice quiz on the Military-Industrial Complex articles. READINGS: In favor of and against Trump's appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor... A negative and a strainingly positive assessment in Foreign Policy. Optional: negatively by The New York Times Editorial Board and positively in Breitbart by Caroline Glick.

WEEK 5 ( 4-4, 4-8): WED.- Correct & discuss the practice quiz. If time remains, discuss the optional article from WEEK 3 about Peter Navarro 彼得 纳瓦罗. SUN. (HOLIDAY MAKE-UP SESSION)- Return practice quiz on the MIC and how similar it will be to the midterm & final exams, including whether there will be an oral section. pdf on pro & con articles on Bolton's appointment here. Discuss the opposing views of John Bolton's appointment. READINGS: North Korea in his own words... John Bolton's original provocative editorial (no VPN/subscription needed here) on military options and his more recent legal case for pre-emptive strikes versus the arguments for engagement from Perry & DiMaggio .

WEEK 6 ( 4-11, 4-13): WED.- Discuss Bolton's editorials, pdf here. READINGS: Sagan & Weiner rebut Bolton's editorial in the NY Times. As previously, alternatives given by Perry & DiMaggio. FRI.- Discuss the options for U.S. engagement with North Korea in light of an upcoming Trump-Kim summit. Debate Bolton's appointment and suggestions with the aid of recent videos about him. READINGS: instructor's handout on bilateral, interstate relations.

WEEK 7 ( 4-18, 4-20): WED.- Discuss Sagan & Weiner's rebuttal of Bolton's editorial. Discuss bilateral, interstate relations in general and move on to Sino-American relations. READINGS: Tsuneo Watanabe on Sino-American relations since Nixon, pdf here. Suisheng Zhao on continuing engagement in light of Xi's "New Model of Major Power Relations."FRI.- Discuss Sino-American relations. HOMEWORK: Write one paragraph on whether you believe U.S. policy toward China in the 2010s has continued to be engagement or has changed to containment, with your reasons. This will be collected with your assessment of Sino-U.S. relations from friendly, competitive, to adversarial next week. READINGS: Read about Thucydides' Trap and Brzezinski's interview about Xi Jinping's reference to it. Be ready to answer these discussion questions: 1. Why is Thucydides' Trap a "trap"? 2. What evidence is there for the existence of such a trap? 3. What creates the trap? 4. Think of a future where the U.S. and China fall into the trap and another in which the trap is avoided. What is done differently? 5. Why is much of the world, especially Realist political scientists, skeptical of China's claims never to "seek hegemony"?

WEEK 8 ( 4-25, 4-27): WED.- Practice quiz on Watanabe's article. Discuss Zhao's article and Thucydides Trap. Presentation on Realism in IR theory. FRI.- Vocabulary Game

WEEK 9 ( 5-2, 5-4): WED.- Midterm Review Game, distribute midterm oral exam questions. FRI.- Small Conversation Groups

WEEK 10 ( 5-9, 5-11): WED.- Midterm Exam. Texts about Trump considering pulling U.S. troops back from NK and elsewhere from The New York Times including the "new" text on the midterm exam are here. FRI.- Return & discuss graded exams. Decide how to watch two documentaries on past U.S. Secretaries of Defense in "The Fog of War" & "The Unknown Known," directed by Errol Morris. READINGS: Handouts on rationality & accountability mentioning these films.

WEEK 11 ( 5-16, 5-18): WED.-Finish "The Unknown Known," as the other film wouldn't play with English subtitles in the classroom computer's app. FRI.- Watch "The Fog of War" in 4th FL "experimental lab."

WEEK 12 ( 5-23, 5-25): WED.- Discuss the two documentary films and the handouts in relationship to the role of Gen. Mattis in the Trump Administration. READINGS: Two articles on Trump's Sec. of Defense, Jim Mattis. FRI.- Reconsider/revisit the roles of structure and agency in IR. What were the roles of McNamara, Rumsfeld, and Mattis in their respective administrations? If McNamara & Rumsfeld would agree on anything, they both seemed to disagree that they are either "making history" or "being controlled by history." Practice comprehension quiz on Mattis articles. READINGS: Schweller & Pu's article, "After Unipolarity"

WEEK 13 ( 5-30, 6-1): WED.-Correct and discuss quiz on Mattis articles. Discuss Schweller & Pu's article & take a practice comprehension quiz on it in teams. Recommended Reading: an editorial/book review by Arthur Waldron arguing against the existence of the Thucydides Trap and Allison's book.FRI.- Continue Schweller & Pu's article discussion.

WEEK 14 ( 6-6, 6-8): WED.- Discuss Schweller & Pu practice quiz & Waldron's article. READINGS: Lloyd Gruber's IPE article in Politics & Policy. Recommended: yet another editorial on John Bolton's role in North Korea negotiations, this time in Britain's The Economist. FRI.- IPE & economic development READINGS: None (continue to read Gruber's article)

WEEK 15 ( 6-13, 6-15): WED.- Continue to discuss economic development and whether "Money Is the Root of All Evil" READINGS: Najam et al on global environmental governance. FRI.- Environmental Politics, Climate Change & Human Security

WEEK 16 ( 6-20, 6-22): WED.- Vocabulary game. FRI.- Final review game. Class photo?

WEEK 17 ( 6-27, 6-29): WED.- Small conversation groups. FRI.- Final review game part 2.

 

TBA = To Be Announced.

This syllabus is subject to change and will be updated throughout the semester. Check back regularly to be fully informed!

Potential Topics, Readings, Assignments, etc. (Including those suggested by students):; A handout on U.S. foreign policy generally here. Alarcon on USFP in his book chapter on "Exceptionalism & Providentialism"; Humanitarian Intervention... academic article on its legality by Hurd. ; ;

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