2017 Essence of Humanities and Social Sciences26:International Relations

Font size  SML

Register update notification mail Add to favorite lecture list
Academic unit or major
Humanities and social science courses
Kawana Shinji 
Course component(s)
Day/Period(Room No.)
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

This course is a graduate-level introduction to International Relations (IR) theory.                      This course focuses on the self-reinforcing mechanisms and path dependence in specific international political phenomena.Once people started down a certain path, they found it difficult to change to another path, so that where they ended up depended on the path on which they started out. Therefore an thinking of "time" is an attempt to link patterns and processes of political phenomena.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be conversant in new IR theory and have the intellectual equipment to understand, criticize, and apply these (and other) theories of international relations.                                                


international political theory, self-reinforcing process, path-dependence, Institutional theory

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The course will consist in a series of seminar sessions with pre‐assigned readings.  Students are expected to do all the readings prior to each session, as well as attend and participate in all sessions.  The weekly sessions will focus on laying out the main arguments of the assigned readings and critically discussing them.  I will open up the session with a short (30‐minute maximum) lecture on the topic,laying out the main arguments in the readings, to be followed by a discussion of the core ideas.  

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introductory Remarks Understand the current IR theory.
Class 2 Lecture: Placing International Politics in Time Understand the meaning of replacing international political phenomena in "time".
Class 3 Lecture & Discussion: Self-reinforcing Understand the dynamics of positive feedback of specific political phenomena.
Class 4 Lecture & Discussion: Contingency and Timing Consider how "time" affects rationality assumption in political science.
Class 5 Lecture & Discussion: Path Dependence Can a "snapshot" reflect political essence?
Class 6 Lecture & Discussion: Institutional Design What is rational design? Understand the dynamism of institutional change.
Class 7 Lecture & Discussion Application: "Why the U.S. Military Bases heavily concentrated on Okinawa" Understand the elements of "time" that influence the mechanism of base politics in Japan.
Class 8 Lecture & Discussion: Reconsidering International Political theories Understand the drawbacks of international relations theory.


Paul Pierson, Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Select as needed

Assessment criteria and methods

Commitment: 40%
Final report: 60%

Related courses

  • LAH.S104 : International Relations A
  • LAH.S204 : International Relations B
  • LAH.S305 : International Relations C

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

There are no pre‐requisites for the course.

Page Top