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PSCI 223
International Law Fall 2020
Division II

Class Details

International law embodies the rules that govern the society of states. It spells out who can be a sovereign state and how to become one, what states can do, what they cannot do, and who can punish transgressions. It also creates status used by other actors, such as international organizations, soldiers, national liberation movements, refugees, transnational air and sea shipping companies, and multinational corporations. International law is similar to domestic law, with one very crucial difference: it is not in theory enforced by a centralized, sovereign state. In most other respects, it is the same: it protects the status quo, including the distribution of power among its members; it spells out legitimate and illegitimate ways of resolving conflicts of interest; it is biased toward the powerful and legitimates their interests; it tells its members how to act to coordinate their interests and minimize direct conflict; some of it is purely aspirational, some of it necessary for survival. And like domestic law, it is enforced only some of the time, and then against the weak more than the strong. Yet, law is still where we look for justice and, perhaps, the legitimation of order.
The Class: Format: lecture; The lectures will be on Powerpoint slides that students can review at any time before class, as they do the readings. Synchronous class time will be devoted to discussion: clarifying, extrapolating, interpreting.
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 2583
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: six quizzes, weekly Glow posts, two 4-page papers on assigned topics, one final project (video, audio, or paper), and one final exam
Prerequisites: None, although those who have not taken PSCI 202 at Williams will be required to do one additional small set of readings and a lecture, and pass a basic quiz based on them during the first week.
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: JLST Interdepartmental Electives
MAST Interdepartmental Electives
POEC International Political Economy Courses
PSCI International Relations Courses

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