This graduate course examines the role of alliances in international politics, with a special emphasis on the role of US alliances in Asia since 1945. The primary lens through which the subject is approached is that of realist alliance theory, though other perspectives are also considered. Each session focuses on an alliance theory question or concept, which is examined against instances of alliance politics in Asia. The life cycle of alliances (formation, revision, abrogation) is examined, as are alliance dynamics like abandonment, entrapment, decoupling, wedging, binding, and buck-passing. In the last session, students will use their new skills and knowledge to critically analyse a contemporary policy issue pertaining to alliance politics.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Develop and demonstrate an understanding of a broad range of alliance theories and concepts
- Gain and demonstrate knowledge of major developments in Asian alliances since 1945
- Using the theoretical and empirical knowledge described above, critically analyse modern alliances, alignments and prospective alliance relationships.
- Develop capacity for original, independent analysis of the theory, history and practices of alliances
- Short assignment: 1500 word essay (purely theoretical) (20) [LO 1,4]
- Long Essay: 3000 word essay (both theoretical and empirical) (40) [LO 1,2,4]
- Exam: take-home exam (with theoretical, empirical, and policy aspects) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
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120 hours total over semester
Snyder, Glenn, Alliance Politics, Cornell University Press: Ithaca, 1997.
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