PSCI 222
International Relations in the Cyber Age Fall 2023
Division II
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Class Details

This is a class about international politics in the age of cyberweapons. At a general level, it focuses on a set of core conceptual questions: How has the advent of cyberweapons changed how international politics works? Are cyberweapons that target critical infrastructure similar to nuclear weapons, or is that comparison fundamentally flawed? Do concerns about information security alter states’ most basic political calculations? How can we expect cyberweapons to shape the future of warfare, intelligence, and security competition? How effective are strategies like cross-domain deterrence? Should the world try to regulate the use of these technologies and, if so, how exactly? The course begins with several sessions that provide a technical overview of key information security concepts and an examination of some prominent hacks. In addition, the beginning of the course will include several classes on the theoretical implications of the advent of the cyber age, as well as a brief historical overview of information security in the post-World War II period. From there, the course will cover a number of important topics and case studies, such as Stuxnet, NotPetya, cyber espionage, intellectual property theft, threats to critical infrastructure, misinformation, propaganda, election interference, the potential implications of quantum computing, and the prospects for the establishment of an international cyber arms control regime. In general, the course will focus on competition between some the world’s premier cyber powers, such as China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia, and the United States.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 1701
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation; Two analytical essays, 6-7 pages in length; Final exam
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors, IR subfield
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: PSCI International Relations Courses

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