SPRING 2021 SYLLABUS: Academic English Reading for International Politics (Sophomore Reading Online, "English literature reading" for 2019班)
Meeting Time & Location: Wednesdays 8-9:30 AM & Fridays 10-11:30 AM, on DingTalk.
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/IRReadingOnlineS21.html
Office: None. The instructor will be located in Mae Sai, Thailand, as long as possible (until July, it is hoped).
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Jump to: "Chalkboard" file Exams Class Schedule Midterm Review Games

OVERVIEW: This course aims to introduce students to a wide variety of political articles, topics, and authors 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. 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 online 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 an international politics 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.

AMERICAN NEWS WEBSITES IN ENGLISH ACCESSIBLE IN CHINA: General & Easy to Read - USA Today ...(Left-Wing/Liberal) - CommonDreams ...(Right-Wing/Conservative) - Red State (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.

Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing? Visit the NENU landing page for his current and previous 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.

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:


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!



WEEK 1 (3-10, 3-12): WED.- 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? Explore different kinds of texts in an updated textual categorization exercise. FRI. - Correct and discuss text categorization exercise

WEEK 2 ( 3-17, 3-19): WED.- Correct and discuss text categorization exercise . FRI. - Correct and discuss text categorization exercise.

WEEK 3 ( 3-24, 3-26): WED. - Presentation: What Is IR Theory?. FRI.- Comparison of normative ideologies and IR theoretical paradigms which claim to be descriptive rather than normative.

WEEK 4 ( 3-31, 4-2): WED. - Power & non-state actors. READINGS: What is the post-hegemonic role and capacity of the USA? Lee interviews Cooley. The neoconservative Robert Kagan advocates "global responsibility" in Foreign Affairs magazine. FRI.- Global & regional hegemony and discussion of the interview w/ Prof. Cooley.

WEEK 5 ( 4-7, 4-9): WED.- Comprehension quiz on Cooley's interview. FRI.- Students write 1-2 sentences summarizing the argument in Kagan's article. READINGS: Two scholars from Iceland outline security for small states

WEEK 6 ( 4-14, 4-16): WED.- Finish Kagan's article, talk about critical thinking. FRI.- READINGS: The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, seeks to define national security narrowly and traditionally, to exclude pandemics and climate change. Stewart M. Patrick predicts a redefinition of national security to address these two factors. Optional: Robert E. Hamilton on U.S. National Security after Covid-19 at fpri.org.


WEEK 7 ( 4-21, 4-23): WED.- Begin presentation on state security under anarchy (traditional security in IR). FRI.- Continue & finish security presentation.

WEEK 8 ( 4-28, 4-30): WED.- Discuss traditional definition of nat'l security and whether it should be expanded to include pandemics and climate change (based on Holmes & Patrick's articles). HOMEWORK: Comprehension quiz on each text. FRI.- Correct comprehension quizzes and vote on whether traditional (int'l, nat'l) security definitions are still appropriate or too narrow for the 21st century.

WEEK 9 ( 5-5 NO CLASS, 5-7): FRI.- Small conversation groups.

WEEK 10 ( 5-12, 5-14): WED.- Vocabulary Game FRI.- Midterm Review Game

WEEK 11 ( 5-19, 5-21): WED. - Midterm exam? FRI.-

WEEK 12 ( 5-26, 5-28): WED.- FRI.- Finish presentation on Feminist IR & introduce texts on women in Afghanistan & product designs' masculine bias. Optional article on how European queens may have been more likely to go to war than kings.

WEEK 13 ( 6-2, 6-4): WED.- Conclude discussion of feminist IR with disussion of two more articles about about Muslim women, including one by Lila Abu-Lughod and one from the UN outlining the issue of FGM. Optional reading: a book review of "Do Muslim Women Need Saving?" by Lila Abu-Lughod.FRI.- Discuss remaining readings and survey on women's rights & "harmful cultural practices" READINGS: handout on just war and humanitarian intervention.

WEEK 14 ( 6-9, 6-11): WED.- Discuss concepts in Just War Tradition & Just War Theory. . READINGS: One article somewhat in favor of HI and one opposed to it. FRI.- Discuss articles on HI, with the long article on The Obama Doctrine for reference.

WEEK 15 ( 6-16, 6-18): WED.- FRI.-

WEEK 16 ( 6-23, 6-25): WED.- FRI.-

WEEK 17 ( 6-30, 7-2): WED. - FRI.-

Juniors' previous semester schedule for reference...