Thursday, October 8, 2015

Classroom Activity: Simplification

I'm teaching Intro to IR again, and while the course will be pretty similar to the last time I taught, I'm making a lot of minor adjustments, so I figured I'd blog about each of the activities again. (I'll be posting the updated lectures here.)

As I did last time, I designed the first activity to chip away a bit at students' aversion to simplification (at least, they seem to dislike when others simplify; shockingly, they're more forgiving of the practice when it comes time to offer explanations of their own).

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review of Morrow's Order Within Anarchy

Do international institutions promote cooperation? If so, how? These questions are of fundamental importance in the study of international relations. They are also the focus of Jim Morrow's Order within Anarchy: The Laws of War as an International Institution. Offering novel and persuasive answers to these core questions, Order within Anarchy belongs on every field seminar syllabus. It is no easy read—both due to its length and the dense nature of the material, even considering the fact that Morrow wisely relegates most of the technical material to separate chapters—but those who devote the time and effort to digesting it will be amply rewarded.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review of Caverley's Democratic Militarism

Democracies don't go to war unless they have to, and if they have to, they make dang sure that they win. Or so we've been told. In Democratic Militarism, Jon Caverley paints a very different picture. Best of all, he shows that the exceptions to this rule (if you can even call it that) cannot be attributed to corruptions of the process. When democracies fight unnecessary wars, poorly, they do not do so because of elite capture, popular propaganda, or a breakdown of civil-military relations. No, that's democracy at work.