International Relations Theory (IR 201)

2022 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
International Relations(IR)
Oya Yeğen,
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SPS101 SPS102
Interactive lecture
Interactive,Discussion based learning,Simulation
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Surveys basic concepts and processes in international relations. The course presents competing theoretical perspectives; realism, liberalism, and radical approaches with a special emphasis on post-cold war debates. Partial theories such as foreign policy analysis, conflict analysis and resolution, and security studies are also examined.


The goal of this course is to equip students with the tools to understand and critically think about international politics. By the end of this course, students will be able to discuss and critique the mainstream IR theories, think analytically about the important puzzles of world politics, familiarize themselves with seminal works, and apply the IR toolbox to current developments and issues in international politics.


  • Identify the main actors of international relations and understand their interests.
  • Discuss and critique the mainstream IR theories.
  • Evaluate how different actors interact and under what conditions they cooperate.
  • Discuss the explanatory power different grand theories and mid-level theories.
  • Think analytically about the important puzzles of world politics among different issue areas.
  • Apply theories to explain real world events.


1. Understand the world, their country, their society, as well as themselves and have awareness of ethical problems, social rights, values and responsibility to the self and to others. 4

2. Understand different disciplines from natural and social sciences to mathematics and art, and develop interdisciplinary approaches in thinking and practice. 4

3. Think critically, follow innovations and developments in science and technology, demonstrate personal and organizational entrepreneurship and engage in life-long learning in various subjects; have the ability to continue to educate him/herself. 3

4. Communicate effectively in Turkish and English by oral, written, graphical and technological means. 5

5. Take individual and team responsibility, function effectively and respectively as an individual and a member or a leader of a team; and have the skills to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. 4

1. Develop knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in humanities and social sciences. 5

2. Assess how global, national and regional developments affect society. 5

3. Know how to access and evaluate data from various sources of information. 4

1. Analyze global affairs from international relations and economics perspectives. 4

2. Demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge of the international affairs. 5

3. Compete for increasing opportunities in careers within the newly emerging global institutions. 5

4. Evaluate the international political events and present their views and positions on international affairs with advanced oral and written skills. 5

1. To analyze national and global events from various social science perspectives. 5

2. To demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge on political science and international relations and to state views and positions with advanced oral and written skills. 5

3. To compete for increasing career opportunities in national and global institutions. 4

4. To (be able to) understand and follow the changes in political behaviours, opinions and structures. 4

5. To gain the ability to make logical inferences on social and political issues based on comparative and historical knowledge. 5

1. Understand and follow changes in patterns of political behavior, ideas and structures. 4

2. Develop the ability to make logical inferences about social and political issues on the basis of comparative and historical knowledge. 4


  Percentage (%)
Final 30
Midterm 20
Assignment 20
Participation 20
Written Report 10



Frieden, Jeffry A., David A. Lake, and Kenneth A. Schultz. 2018. World Politics: Interests, Interactions, Institutions (Fourth Edition). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.


Snyder, Jack. 2004. ?One World, Rival Theories? Foreign Policy, no. 145, pp. 52-62.
Ikenberry, John. 2020. ?The Next Liberal Order?, Foreign Affairs, July/August.
Discussion: Amelia Hoover Green, How to Read Political Science: A Guide in Four Steps?, 2013
Carvalho et al. 2011. The Big Bangs of IR: The Myths That Your Teachers Still Tell You about 1648 and 1919? Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 39 issue 3, pp. 735?758.
Buzan, Barry and Lawson, George. 2013 ?The Global Transformation: The Nineteenth Century and the Making of Modern International Relations? International Studies Quarterly Vol. 57, pp. 620?634
Discussion: Fazal, Tanisha and Paul Poast. 2019. ?War is Not Over, What the Optimists Get Wrong About Conflict?, Foreign Affairs,
Nye Jr., Joseph S. and David Welch. 2017. Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation, ?Key Concepts? and ?Levels of Analysis?, pp. 40-65.
Caporaso, James. 2000. ?Changes in the Westphalian order: Territory, Public authority and Sovereignty? International Studies Review, Vol.2, no. 2, pp. 1-28, focus on pp. 1-15.
Discussion: Stephen Walt "How to Get a B.A. in International Relations in 5 Minutes", Foreign Policy May 19, 2014 and Laura Sjoberg Mansplaining International Relations?: What Walt Misses? May 21, 2014.
Evaluating Arguments about International Politics, in Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. 2013. Principles of International Politics.
Drezner, Daniel W. 2015. Theories of International Politics and Zombies, Princeton University Press, pp. 23-50.
Mearsheimer, John. 2013. Structural Realism, in Dunne et. al. International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, pp. 77-93.
Discussion: Graham Allison. 2017. The Thucydides Trap, Foreign Policy, June 9. and Paul Poast. 2022. A World of Power and Fear: What Critics of Realism Get Wrong?. Foreign Affairs. June 15.
Sterling Folker, Jennifer. 2013. ?Neoliberalism?, in Dunne et. al. International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, pp. 114-131.
Hopf, Ted. 1998. The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory, International Security, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 171-181.
Sjoberg, Laura and J. Ann Tickner. 2013. Feminist Perspectives on International Relations, The Sage Handbook of International Relations.
Discussion: Beauchamp, Zack. 2018. What Black Panther can teach us about international relations, Vox, February 27, and Musgrave, Paul. 2021 ?The Founding Fathers of International Relations Theory Loved War but Overlooked Sex?, Foreign Policy, February 14.
Lake, David A. 2013 ?Theory is dead, long live theory: The end of the Great Debates and the rise of eclecticism in International Relations?. European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 19, pp. 567-587.
Discussion: Mitchell, Sara McLaughlin. 2018. ?Could the new fighting between Russia and Ukraine escalate into all-out war?? Washington Post, December 5.
Fearon, James D. Rationalist Explanations for War. International Organization 49 (Summer 1995): 379?414.
Discussion: Lake, David A. 2010. ?Two Cheers for Bargaining Theory: Assessing Rationalist Explanations of the Iraq War International Security, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 7?52.
Tomz, Michael. 2007. ?Domestic Audience Costs in International Relations: An Experimental Approach.? International Organization 61: 821?840
Gourevitch, Peter. 1978. ?The second image reversed: the international sources of domestic politics? International Organization , Volume 32 , Issue 4 , pp. 881 912. (Skim)
Putnam, Robert. 1988. Diplomacy and domestic politics: the logic of two-level games. International Organization, Volume 42 , Issue 3, pp. 427 - 460. (Skim)
Discussion: Boris Barkanov. 2014. ?How Putin?s domestic audience explains Russia?s behavior,? Washington Post March 13.
Bosco, David (2014). ?Assessing the UN Security Council: A Concert Perspective,? Global Governance, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 545-561
Discussion: Mearsheimer, John J. 2014. Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West's Fault: The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin Foreign Affairs, Vol. 93, No. 5 pp. 77-89
Rodrik, Dani. 2018. What Do Trade Agreements Really Do? Journal of Economic Perspectives. Vol.32, No. 2, pp. 73?90.
Discussion: Mulder, Nicholas. 2022. The Sanctions Weapon, IMF Finance and Development , pp. 20-23. and Rodrik, Dani. 2019. Globalization's Wrong Turn and How it Hurt America, Foreign Affairs, July/August.
Farrell, Henry and Abraham L. Newman. 2019. Weaponized Interdependence Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman How Global Economic Networks Shape State Coercion? International Security, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 42?79,
Discussion: Tooze, Adam. 2021. The Rise and Fall and Rise (and Fall)
of the U.S. Financial Empire The dollar is dead. Long live the dollar. Foreign Affairs.
Hathaway, Oona and Alasdair Phillips-Robins ?COVID-19 and International Law Series: WHO?s Pandemic Response and the International Health Regulations?.
Discussion: Wheeler, Tarah. 2018. ?In Cyberwar, There are No Rules Why the world desperately needs digital Geneva Conventions,?
Molu, Benan. 2020. The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime and Turkey. Heinrich Böll Stiftung
Discussion: NYT Debate ?Have Human Rights Treaties Failed?
Dani Rodrik and Stephen Walt. May 2021. ?How to Construct a New Global Order? Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Faculty Research Working Paper Series.
Tanisha Fazal. 2022. The Return of Conquest Why the Future of Global Order Hinges
on Ukraine. May/Jun2022, Vol. 101, Issue 1.

Optional Readings

Bhambdra et. al. 2020.Why Is Mainstream International Relations Blind to Racism?,? Foreign Policy, July 3.