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This is a course about international politics in the nuclear age. In broad terms, it focuses on a very basic question: Does international politics still work essentially the same way as it did in the prenuclear era, or has it undergone a “revolution,” in the most fundamental sense of the word? The structure of the course combines political science concepts and historical case studies, with the goal of generating in-depth classroom debates over key conceptual, historical, and policy questions. Classes will be taught remotely. The basic format of the course will be to combine very brief lectures with detailed class discussions of each session’s topic. The course will begin–by focusing on the Manhattan Project–with a brief technical overview of nuclear physics, nuclear technologies, and the design and effects of nuclear weapons. The course will then examine the following subjects: the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan; theories of the nuclear revolution; the early Cold War period; the development and implications of thermonuclear weapons; the Berlin and Cuban missile crises; nuclear accidents; nuclear terrorism and illicit nuclear networks; the future of nuclear energy; regional nuclear programs; preventive strikes on nuclear facilities; nuclear proliferation; and contemporary policy debates.
Format: seminar; This course will be taught remotely. All class discussions will be synchronous.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
class participation, three 8- to 10-page papers
Political Science major seniors with an International Relations concentration
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: