POL 355: Global Security - Fall 2016

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General Information

An in-depth examination of theories that seek to explain wars, alliances, arms races, civil wars, and terrorism, with applications to contemporary international politics. Prerequisite: EN 102 and a grade of C or better in POL 102, POL 103, or POL 104, or permission of instructor. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: GP, SS-2, WI. (3)

Wednesdays, 10:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., 4040 (Ballston campus) room 314.


In Fall 2016 the course will include a study abroad component as part of Marymount's Global Classroom series. The class will travel as a group over 9 days in December and January to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a series of briefings and site visits. Registration for the course will be through the Center for Global Education. The course has an additional fee of $1350 which covers airfare to the UAE and all airport transfers, lodging in Dubai, breakfast each day, and a number of site visits. Class time in the UAE will mainly be in Dubai with visits to the Emirates of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.  

Some additional information from the Center for Global Education is here.

I am available to meet with students in my office in Ireton Hall G108 during my regular fall office hours (Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:00 to 10:55 a.m. and 1:00 to 1:55 p.m., on each of those days that classes are scheduled) and on many other rotating times as well; you should feel free to come by during regular office hours without an appointment if you wish, but at other times it is generally best to make an appointment. Times and appointment slots are listed on this calendar: cal.chadrector.net. You must be logged in to gmail or Marymount email. Scroll to the right to see future weeks.

Course Assignments and Grades

Course grades will be based on a weighted average of the following:
  • Exam #1. 10%. October 26. Covers basic concepts in global security. Identify and explain any 5 concepts, from a list of 10. List of terms. 45 minutes of class time.  
  • Exam #2. 10%. November 30. Covers basic material about the politics of the United Arab Emirates and the surrounding region. Identify and explain any 5 terms, from a list of 10. List of terms will be posted here. 45 minutes of class time.  
  • Term paper. 60%. Term papers are at least 4000 words long (about 16 pages), and explore in depth a political issue involving global security. Components of the assignment are due in several steps, emailed to me. Assignments are due at midnight at the end of the specified day. A lot more detail about the term paper assignment is posted here. The term paper will be completed in several steps: 
    • Topic paragraph. 5%. Due October 4. 
    • Summaries of three scholarly articles. 15%. Due October 14, 21, and 28.
    • Case study. 5%. Due November 14 - extended to November 16. 
    • Initial draft. 15%. Due November 28.
    • Class presentation. 5%. On December 7 or 14.
    • Final draft. 15%. Due January 8. 
  • Peer reviews. 10%. Two reviews (5% each) of other student drafts, following an assigned format. Due as assigned, in early December. You may write up to 2 additional high-quality reviews, for up to 3% in extra credit points each.
  • Travel journals. 10%. Five short writing assignments (2% each) before, during, and after the site visits, as assigned, in December and January.  
Extra credit:
  • Class participation. Students may earn up to 3% for sustained, constructive contributions to class discussions. 
  • DC event. 5% for a first event and 3% for a second. Attend an event in the DC area on the subject of global security and write a blog post summarizing your experience. Specific instructions about attending and reporting on events are here. Posts must be well-written to receive credit; I will send back poorly-written posts for revisions before they are accepted. You will receive 5 extra credit points for one event and post, and 3 points for a second. All blog posts submitted by the day of the final exam. (Blog posts are kept private by default, but we may make selected posts public by mutual agreement.)
  • Extra peer reviews. Students who turn in a complete draft on time may complete up to two additional peer reviews for up to 3% each. Email me within four days of turning in your draft to get an extra credit assignment. I will give specific due dates with each assignment.
  • Wikipedia edit. 5%. Properly edit a wikipedia article to include a sensible reference to a properly-cited scholarly article (one you used for one of your summaries) and email me a link to the log. See this tutorial or attend the class session of POL 250 in the library classroom on October 25 at 2:00 p.m. This must be completed by December 1.   
Any student who misses 4 or more class sessions will automatically fail the course. Any student who does not fully participate in the travel component of the course, or who significantly disrupts the site visits, will automatically fail the course. 

Any student who violates the code of Academic Integrity, by cheating on an in-class exam or plagiarizing a written assignment, will automatically fail the course. 

Students who fail the course automatically, due to poor attendance or an academic integrity violation, will not participate in the site visit to the UAE and will not have the travel fees refunded. 
Make an appointment with Professor Rector



Course Schedule and Readings

A detailed schedule of course topics, assigned readings, and a tentative itinerary for the site visits will be posted in summer 2016.  

Coursework on site in the United Arab Emirates will part of a trip that leaves from the Washington area the evening of December 26, 2016, returning January 6, 2017 and will include a number of site visits to a university and government offices, and other site visits.

Five books are required for the course:

Course Schedule

August 31 - Causes of war review
Read: Oil wars: Why nations aren’t battling over resources
Slides re: Israel
Recap of logic of conflict and war: 
(video)(video)(video)

No class September 7 (Mass of the Holy Spirit)

September 14 - Aggression: Theory
Read: Weeks, Chapters 1, 2, and 3

September 21 - Finding articles. Also Aggression: Case studies
Meet in the library classroom today
Read: Weeks, Chapters 4, 5, and 6

September 28 - Internal order: Theory
Meet on main campus today
 in Rowley Room G209 at the usual time
Read: Lake, Chapters 1, 2, and 3

October 4 - Topic paragraph due

October 5 - Internal order: Case studies
Read: Lake, Chapters 4 and 5 and Conclusion

October 12 - Terrorism
Meet on main campus today in Rowley Room G205 starting at 11 a.m.
Read:
Terrorism and Democracy

October 14 - Article summary #1 due

October 19 - Enforcement
Meet on main campus today in Rowley Room G209 at the usual time
Read: Early, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

October 21 - Article summary #2 due

October 26 - Exam #1 and writing workshop

October 28 - Article summary #3 due

November 2 - Regional security
Meet on main campus today in Rowley Room G209 at the usual time
Read: Lynch, Chapters 1, 2, and 3 and The Obama Doctrine

November 9 - Regional security
Meet on main campus today  in Rowley Room G209 at the usual time
Read: Lynch, Chapters 4, 5, and 6


November 14 - Case study due

November 16 - Regional security (slides)
Read: Lynch, Chapters 7, 8, and 9

No class 
November 23 (Thanksgiving holiday)

November 28 - Initial draft due

November 30 - Exam #2 and draft workshop (slides)

December 7 - presentations and discussion Other stuff (slides)
Meet on main campus today in Rowley Room G209 at the usual time

Wednesday, December 14, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - presentations and discussion Other stuff


January 8 - Final paper due