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Introduction to International Law

Course registration will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

We will explore international law and its political and economic issues, including war and conflict, human rights, trade and intellectual property, medicine and health, and the environment. We will inquire into how international law has influence without world government, conditions under which it is effective, and actors in its practice. Students will also become familiar with related careers.

International law is at the heart of one of the central questions in the study of international politics: How does international law have power in a world of competitive and sovereign states? Surprisingly, international law also covers a variety of political, economic and social issues that extend beyond problems that may arise with sovereignty and the territorial division of states, including war and conflict, human rights, trade and intellectual property, medicine and health, and the environment. We will become familiar with the power and range of international law. And, by learning about the variety of actors involved in international law students will become familiar with possible careers. This course will involve scholarly and popular reading, small assignments oriented around class discussion, a simulation in which students represent various actors of world politics, and a brief walking tour of Providence that investigates its historical relevance to international law and its development. This class will bring together interests in international politics and law, but will be broadly useful for a future in either field. Students will also learn how to read a scholarly article and learn skills of critical analysis as they prepare for college.

Students will become familiar with the study of international relations, the relevance of legal practice and norms, and the benefits and limits of the framework of law for addressing pressing issues of world politics. Students will learn how to identify a writer's argument, identify and engage strategies of persuasion, and evaluate evidence through counter-factual and "how so" questioning. Students will become familiar with navigating some basic features of a college library's research services, and we will discuss and practice basic college etiquette and successful study habits.

Prerequisites: Students should be familiar with and have an interest in politics and the world, should enjoy reading, and have a desire to participate in class discussion.