Fall 2024: European, African, and Asian Adventure

POLS 131 Current World Problems [CRN 76732]

Overview of Course

By discussing current world problems, this course is an introduction to the study of global politics and economy. If “the world’s a stage,” we will develop a conceptual and theoretical scheme to help us make sense of some of the plots, settings, and interactions among the “cast.” We will pay special attention to (1) the nature of international system, (2) major types of actors in global politics, (3) transnational institutions, and (4) historical roots and contemporary manifestations of global problems and divisions, including economic, human rights, and environmental issues. We will also be discussing various responses to those issues, involving both conflict and cooperation. Current events are “the world to be explained” in this class and, as such, we need to follow them with some zeal. Against this backdrop, we will try to understand why countries and other global actors behave the way they do. As our voyage brings us to some of the most important waterways and strategically vital regions in the world, we will be placing our daily experiences within the context of broader trends of globalization, international rivalries, and shifts in the global balance of power. Students whose main interest is not politics should also benefit from the class by learning how to analyze and interpret current political developments around the world.